The annual airing of Oscar grievances
Jennifer Lawrence and Academy president Tom Sherak announce the
- New films
‘The Woman in Black”
Director: James Watkins.
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer.
The plot: A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he
discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman who is terrorizing
Genre: Drama, thriller.
Director: Josh Trank.
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly.
The plot: High school friends gain power after making an
Genre: Drama, horror.
Director: Ti West.
Starring: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy.
The plot: During the final days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, two
employees determined to reveal the hotel’s haunted past begin to
experience disturbing events as old guests check in for a stay.
Genre: Horror, thriller.
- Film roundup
“WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN”
★★★★ (out of four)
The film is essentially an examination of pain (focusing not on
the processes of healing or the pursuit of closure or true
catharsis, but rather the fruitless search for “meaning” in
senseless human tragedy), and as such could have easily fallen into
the usual trappings that often render such projects more
self-important than socially relevant. But Ramsay strikes the
perfect tone throughout the film, alternating between brief
flashback scenes depicting the nightmarish relationship between
mother and son (starting at birth), and “present day” sequences
that show us the mother’s vain attempts to reclaim some sense of
normalcy following the high school massacre for which her son was
“TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY”
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” is based on the classic novel of the
same name by John le Carre, which is widely considered to be the
greatest spy story ever told. It is the sophomore directorial
effort of Tomas Alfredson, who gave us the beautifully realized
“Let the Right One In” just a few years ago. It boasts one of the
most impressive casts of any movie last year, including Gary
Oldman, Colin Firth, Ciaran Hinds, John Hurt, Toby Jones and Tom
Hardy. And it’s a gorgeous film visually, perfectly capturing the
look, feel and all-encompassing paranoia of the Cold War at its
The film’s premise is intriguing, and rife with potential to
explore moral complexities. George Clooney stars as Matt King, a
workaholic attorney and father of two girls, whose wife is injured
in a boat race and rendered comatose. As Mike, a self-professed
“backup parent,” is faced with the prospect of caring for his
daughters alone, he is further disturbed by the revelation that his
wife had been carrying on an affair in the months before her
accident. Burdened by this knowledge, he sets out along with his
oldest daughter (Shailene Woodley) and her stoner boyfriend (Nick
Krause) to find and confront the man who was sleeping with his
wife. In the midst of all this drama is a subplot involving Matt’s
control over a pending land sale (he’s a direct descendant of King
Kamehameha, and holds sway over the family trust that includes
25,000 acres of pristine Hawaiian land), and its troubling
connections to the central conflict.
Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 8:05 am
Technical complications at the “Haywire” screening I attempted
to attend have left me without a film to review this week (we’ll
catch up with that one next time, along with the Liam Neeson
survival thriller “The Grey”). But this is just as well, I suppose,
considering that the recent Oscar nominations have inspired more
controversy than I’ve ever seen associated with the Academy Awards,
and of course I have some choice thoughts about that.
Predictions will be reserved for my Lodi Living cover article
set to run the weekend of the Oscars (Sunday, Feb. 26), so this
column will be primarily comprised of weeping and gnashing of teeth
as I, with the aid of bullet points, lament those films and
performances that were overlooked amidst the sick political
gamesmanship of Academy voting. Do enjoy.
Friday, January 27, 2012 8:05 am.