Catching up with some likely Oscar nominees
Tilda Swinton stars in “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”
Catching up with some likely Oscar nominees
Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton star in “Warrior.”
- “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
★★★★ (out of four)
2011, Dir. Lynne Ramsay, U.S., R
“We Need to Talk About Kevin” is rated R for profanity and
generally disturbing content.
2011, Dir. Gavin O’Connor,
“Warrior” is rated PG-13 for profanity, violence and mature
- New films
‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’
Director: Lynne Ramsay.
Starring: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly.
The plot: The mother of a teenage boy who went on a high school
killing spree tries to deal with her grief.
Genre: Drama, thriller.
‘One for the Money’
Director: Julie Anne Robinson.
Starring: Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara.
The plot: Unemployed and newly-divorced Stephanie Plum lands a
job at her cousin’s bail bond business.
Genre: Comedy, action.
Director: Joe Carnahan.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney.
The plot: In Alaska, an oil drilling team struggles to survive
after a plane crash strands them in the wild.
Genre: Action, adventure.
- Film roundup
“TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY”
★★ (out of four)
“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.
This is about as old-fashioned as old-fashioned family films
get, telling the relatively simple story of a young boy in 1930s
Paris struggling to find his natural place in the world around him
— not quite what you would expect from the man who gave us the pen
scene in “Casino.” But armed with a mastery of filmmaking technique
and a keen sense of character development, Scorsese proves once and
for all that he truly is capable of anything. “Hugo” shows us a
different side of the filmmaker — a charming, whimsical, thoroughly
magically side that permeates through the entire picture and makes
“Hugo” the one film from his repertoire that is guaranteed to leave
you with the warm fuzzies.
Posted: Friday, January 20, 2012 7:37 am
Typically, I spend the first six weeks or so of each new year
playing catch-up with all the Oscar bait that was released around
Christmas. But as it turns out this awards season didn’t produce as
many true prestige pictures as expected, so starting next week
we’ll be returning to new releases with a look at Steven
Soderbergh’s acclaimed action flick “Haywire,” followed by a review
of the Liam Neeson vs. wolves survival thriller “The Grey” (I’ll
also briefly return to the 2011 awards contenders with a piece on
“The Artist,” if it ever opens in the Lodi-Stockton area).
This week, though, we’re still squarely in Oscar mode with quick
looks at two of 2011’s stronger efforts — one that is toiling in
limited release but deserves to be seen by a wider audience, and
one that has been on DVD/Blu-ray for a while but has been
over-shadowed by other recent, more high-profile releases. Both are
contenders for Academy Award nods in major categories, so keep an
eye out for them when the nominations are announced Tuesday.
Friday, January 20, 2012 7:37 am.