- Tentative schedule of upcoming reviews:
Feb. 19: “The Eagle”
Feb. 26: “Unknown”
March 5: “Drive Angry” or “Hall Pass”
March 12: “Rango”
March 19: “Battle: Los Angeles”
March 26: “Paul”
April 2: “Sucker Punch!”
April 9: “Insidious”
April 16: “Arthur” and “Your Highness”
April 23: “Scream 4”
- New Films
“I am Number Four”
Director: D.J. Caruso.
Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant.
The plot: Nine alien teens come to Earth after their planet is
Genre: Action, sci-fi.
Director: James Collet-Serra.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger.
The plot: Dr. Harris awakens from a coma, only to discover that
someone has taken his identity.
Genre: Drama, mystery.
- Film Roundup
★★★★ (out of four)
The film, assembled in nonlinear fashion, tells the “boy meets
girl, boy loses girl, boy doesn’t get girl back” story of Dean and
Cindy (Gosling and Williams, respectively). As the movie opens, the
couple is roughly five years into their tumultuous marriage. He’s a
balding, chain-smoking alcoholic with a dead-end job, but seems
content with a simple existence. She’s a stressed, frigid,
overworked nurse who is not as content. They have a daughter
together (it is soon established that she is not Dean’s biological
child), and seeking a much-needed escape from domestic pressures,
Dean suggests that Cindy accompany him to a “theme motel” for the
night. From here the film delves heavily into flashback as we
witness the couple’s charming, sexually charged courtship intercut
with their significantly less friendly encounters in the
oppressively blue-lit “future room.” It is a night of pain and
humiliation, and it’s the last that they will spend together.
“THE KING’S SPEECH”
I must admit some trepidation when approaching films that rely
on what could be perceived as “gimmick” performances — those
“challenging” roles that Oscar voters love but, in actuality, offer
very little to viewers looking for more than mere exaggerated
caricatures (e.g. Tom Hanks in “Forrest Gump,” Sean Penn in “Milk,”
Despite the sustained critical raves for Colin Firth’s
performance as the verbally impaired King George VI of England in
“The King’s Speech,” up until seeing it I remained skeptical that
even an actor as talented as Firth could transcend the limitations
of such a role — could craft a fully formed character and
performance that is defined by more than a stammer.
I responded so strongly to David O. Russell’s “The Fighter,” an
old-fashioned underdog narrative that wears sentimentality on its
The difference between Russell’s film and the dozens of other
similar, less successful sports dramas is that here, the filmmaker
lets emotion develop organically from the characters and their
histories. Instead of attempting to manipulate viewer responses via
swelling music and tearful exchanges and all manner of riffraff,
Russell (most noted for “Three Kings” and “I Heart Huckabees”) has
gone back to basics.
The filmmakers behind such adult-oriented movies as “Blood
Simple,” “Fargo” and “No Country for Old Men” might not seem like
the most logical choices to adapt Charles Portis’ classic western
“True Grit,” about a 14-year-old girl who forges an unlikely bond
with an ornery pseudo-lawman during their hunt for her father’s
killer. But the Coens are always full of surprises. They’ve dealt
with lighter material before (“Raising Arizona,” “The Big
Lebowski”), and with “No Country for Old Men” they displayed a
clear knack for working with a Western motif. Still, I wasn’t
prepared for the delicacy with which the Coens handle “True Grit,”
which is essentially a heartfelt family film set against a violent
Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 9:15 am
I decided it would be prudent to steer clear of the multiplex
for one more week, and my reasons are twofold: For starters, I’ve
gotta level with you and admit that I really, really didn’t want to
see the week’s major release, “Sanctum,” the poorly reviewed caving
flick from producer James Cameron.
I’m still wrapped up in awards season and basking in the warm
glow of the handful of great films we’ve seen in the past several
weeks, and frankly the prospect of devoting two hours to a horrible
3D caving movie started to harsh my buzz. Also, the lack of review
will give me an opportunity to discuss a couple developments
regarding the Battle Royale blog and first annual Oscar prediction
contest. So, win-win. (Also also, check out the break-out box for a
tentative list of upcoming reviews, starting next week.)
Arts and Entertainment
Friday, February 11, 2011 9:15 am.