Lars von Trier’s Cannes award-winning film dives into depression, the breakdown of family relations, coping with the end-of-the world
Kirsten Dunst stars in “Melancholia.”
★★★★ (out of four)
2011, Dir. Lars von Trier, Denmark, R
“Melancholia” is rated R for sex, nudity and
- New films
‘Paranormal Activity 3’
Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman.
Starring: Katie Featherston.
The plot: In 1988, young sisters befriend an invisible entity
who resides in their home.
Genre: Horror, mystery.
‘The Three Musketeers’
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson.
Starring: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough.
The plot: The down on their luck Muskateers unite to defeat a
beautiful double agent.
Genre: Action, adventure.
- Film roundup
★★★ 1/2 (out of four)
Meet Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a laid-back 20-something radio
journalist whose life is finally starting to get on-track. He finds
fulfillment in his job, he has a loyal best friend, and his
relationship with his girlfriend appears to be moving forward. Adam
is content, but his world begins to crumble after a routine doctor
visit to address some unexplained aches and pains leads to the
revelation that he is suffering from a rare form of cancer. The
survival rate, he learns, is roughly 50 percent. But Adam is young
and otherwise hearty, and appears to have a strong support system
to help him through his time of need. However, as Adam’s body
degenerates from the chemotherapy treatments, he finds that some of
his relationships may not be as strong as he thought.
“Moneyball” tells the true story of how Oakland Athletics
general manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) revolutionized
the way major league baseball teams select lineups, leading his A’s
to a historic 20-game winning streak in the 2002 season and turning
the world of pro ball on it ear in the process. A former would-be
all-star who once discovered at some cost that scouts’ ability to
spot true talent is not infallible, Beane is determined to prove
that the team-selection process in place since the game’s inception
is antiquated and, in a modern context, almost completely
“Drive” is such a film, and in what surely must be a miracle, it
has not been abandoned on the arthouse circuit. On the contrary, it
is playing in multiplexes across the U.S., and as of press time was
the second-highest grossing film in general release (behind the
re-release of “The Lion King,” naturally). To see a film of this
caliber performing so well in wide release is inspiring, and goes
to show that there is in fact a demand for this kind of thing among
“mainstream” audiences. Studios should take note — and give
director Nicolas Winding Refn (winner of the best director award at
this year’s Cannes Film Festival) the money and creative control to
do absolutely whatever the hell he wants from this point
A fast-paced procedural documenting the likely effects of a new
worldwide epidemic, the film has all the hallmarks of a
sophisticated Soderbergh production: a gritty feel and urgent tone;
plenty of jump-cuts and carefully edited montages; a sprawling cast
of A-list actors in modest supporting roles, etc. But also present
is the odd and unsettling remoteness that Soderbergh typically
displays when he’s in studio mode. Everything is so precisely
staged, each camera angle and edit so obviously and meticulously
tweaked, that Soderbergh’s true filmmaking voice often seems in
danger of disappearing into an abyss of overly polished,
Posted: Friday, October 14, 2011 7:53 am
I must confess a growing discontent with the modern
theater-going experience. In another five to 10 years, when
affordable home entertainment set-ups and online streaming access
have progressed to the point that movie theaters serve primarily as
a social function for drunk teenagers, I don’t think I’ll miss the
experience too much.
There are a select few films released each year that, ideally,
are worth seeing on a big screen. But the trade-offs for that
big-screen viewing (which can include but are not limited to
inconvenient parking; excessively priced refreshments; often
substandard framing and lighting; ringing cell phones; crying
babies; talkative preteens in wildly inappropriate movies; and, my
personal favorite, loud-mouthed idiots who get offended when you
tell them to shut the hell up — all of which seem to be increasing
at an exponential rate these past few years), in my opinion, are
simply not worth it. If I didn’t have this column to attend to and
had no need to stay current on new releases, then I probably
wouldn’t go to the theater more than a half-dozen times each
Friday, October 14, 2011 7:53 am.