November 15, 2012 |
Director Steven Spielberg, screenwriter Tony Kusher and the incomparable Daniel Day-Lewis may have done the impossible in "Lincoln": They've given us a politician to love - without reservations. Drawing on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's expansive "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln," the filmmaking collective conjures up a portrait of a far more nuanced leader than the stoic country lawyer in a stove-pipe hat. Indeed, the strength of the film rests in the strength of the character - a whimsical raconteur, a brilliant strategist and a troubled humanist.
February 16, 2013 |
Argo Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99 Available on VOD beginning Tuesday Ben Affleck completes his evolution from movie star to action director with the hit, multi-award-winning and remarkably entertaining thriller based on actual events. Affleck plays Tony Mendez, the CIA agent who came up with a daring plan to extract a group of American Embassy staffers hiding in Iran during the 1979-81 hostage crisis: He pretended to be a location scout for a Canadian science-fiction epic.
January 17, 2013 |
In the week since Oscar nominations were announced, we've sat through two award shows - the Critics' Choice Awards, thrown by a group of junketeers who, according to Anne Hathaway at least, can't even spell the names of their winners right, and the Golden Globes, hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., a wacky bunch of journalists whose news conferences require actors to pose for pictures with each and every member. Both these groups gave "Argo" awards for best motion picture drama over "Lincoln.
June 12, 2013 |
The Brit-in-Italy scenario gets an emphatically grungy makeover in "Berberian Sound Studio," a twisted tribute to analog moviemaking and 1970s Italian Giallo horror flicks. Toby Jones plays the innocent abroad - not a traveler headed for a romantic thaw in the Mediterranean sun but a sound engineer who never sees the light of day and who's headed for - or perhaps already in the midst of - a mental unraveling. Jones' reserved Englishman, Gilderoy, has been hired to oversee the soundtrack mix on "The Equestrian Vortex," a piece of psycho-erotic exploitation chock-full of evil priests, tortured witches, secret libraries and the requisite poultry tunnel.
September 29, 2012 |
Sound of My Voice 20th Century Fox, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99 Available on VOD beginning Oct. 2 With "Another Earth," "Beyond the Black Rainbow" and now this one, indie filmmakers have been proving that they don't need big budgets or special effects to produce effective science fiction. "Another Earth's" Brit Marling co-wrote "Sound of My Voice" with director Zal Batmanglij and stars as a woman who claims to be a visitor from 2054. Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicius play documentary filmmakers who go undercover to expose her, but the more time they spend in the company of this would-be guru, the more they begin to question their own motives.
July 3, 2013
"A Hijacking" is as lean, focused and to the point as its title. A cargo ship is hijacked in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and this expertly done, ultra-tense Danish thriller places you in the middle of the action in the most intense way. Gripping from first frame to last, the film unfolds on two fronts: the vessel, of course, but also in the Copenhagen offices of the company that owns it, where the firm's chief executive, Peter Ludvigsen (Soren Malling),...