Thumbnails Apr 14
Director Drake Doremus gets the sparkling, sexy performance out of
Felicity Jones that Ralph Fiennes failed to achieve in “The Invisible
Woman.” The result is a sensitive examination of the intimacies of a
marriage, the differing feelings and ambitions of a husband and wife,
the insecurities of a teenaged daughter, and a May-September romance
without being the least bit hackneyed. Jones’ subdued, seething sexiness
and the slow way she attracts the affection of Guy Pearce, her married
elder by some two decades at least, are what make this movie so
fascinating. Opens April 4.
Writer/director Emmanuelle Bercot presents two delights, Catherine
Deneuve impulsively jumping in her car to strike out on her own to
change her life, and a terrific road picture shot on location in
Brittany. Using mostly non actors in key roles, there’s a lot more to
this film than merely seeing a ‘60s-era beauty as a still beautiful
older woman. In French.
a huge plot hole at the end that it’s best not to think about, and a
first killing that doesn’t correspond to the story, this is Liam
Neeson’s almost annual beginning-of-the-year thriller and it lives up to
his past efforts epitomized by the “Taken” series.
science fiction films about teenagers set in a bleak future are not my
cup of tea, this was not a film I was eagerly anticipating. So I was
pleasantly surprised to find this to be as advertised, an interesting
action-adventure film that held my interest to the end with exceptional
creation of war-ravaged Chicago 150 years from now and fine performances
by the entire cast.
Owen is my choice to play James Bond. However, in his first English
language film, writer/director Guillaume Canet remaking 2008’s “Les
Liens Du San” (in which Canet played one of the male leads),
casts him as a cold-blooded bad guy pimp to Billy Crudup’s good brother
cop. Canet fills the screen with wonderful performances by an
outstanding cast, but the film is dark, unhappy, depressing, and
extraordinarily violent, physically and psychologically. It closes with
a short car chase that is the most realistic since 1967’s “Bullitt,” but
not nearly as exciting.
Days to Kill (5/10):
Directed by McG, this is a schizophrenic movie that can’t decide whether
it’s a thriller or a comedy or a family drama. Whichever, all are below
par. Kevin Costner plays Kevin Costner again and he’s good at that. The
best performance is by Connie Nielsen who plays a wife who feels she has
been wronged by her husband, but is still in love with him. Hailee
Steinfeld also gives a good, if range-restricted, performance as a
headstrong teenager in Paris. Worse though are the now apparently
obligatory car chases that are little short of idiotic.
Rise of an Empire (1/10):
always hear about how brilliant the Athenians were, the cradle of
democracy, Socrates and Plato and Aristotle and all that. But if this
picture is to be believed, the rest of the Athenians were dumber than a
rock. While their opponents in this film, the Persians, are bedecked in
armor from head to foot, the Athenians go into every battle bare chested
and bare legged. Worse is the desecration of history. Ignoring
Herodotus’ description of Artemisia (Eva Green, in a fine performance
despite the ghastly script and directing) as a heroic woman, this film
shows her as a despicable villain. The graphic depiction of
blood-spilling violence should condemn this to an NC-17 rating.