This is all the more dispiriting because Immortals was directed by Tarsem (aka Tarsem Singh), who built his reputation as a visualist based on innovative music videos, commercials (remember the “We Will Rock You” spot for Pepsi?) and the almost insanely ambitious feature The Fall. Because of a second-rate script,
A traditional spy drama, taut with suspense, Page Eight almost feels sophisticated in its darkness, with undercurrents of danger lurking in the shadows and veiled threats being made from unexpected quarters, wholly reminiscent of—
On the plus side, Tower Heist has a well-cast ensemble and makes great use of its mid-Manhattan location, including an incursion into the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (I was more absorbed in those scenes—and trying to figure out how they were filmed—than I was in the “thrill” footage set many stories up in the sky. Now that computer imagery has made the impossible possible, it’s hard to be invested in those kind of stunts because we know—
I’m delighted to see that the Weinstein Company is re-releasing one of the year’s most overlooked films, Sarah’s Key, the moving adaptation of Tatiana De Rosnay’s international best-seller. It’s one of the year’s best films. Kristin Scott Thomas plays an American-born journalist who lives in France with her husband and daughter. While researching an article about the fate of French Jews during World War Two, she stumbles onto an incredible story involving a little girl named Sarah (played by newcomer Mélusine Mayance) who is separated from her family. An unexpected connection with Sarah turns Scott Thomas’ journalistic enterprise into a personal odyssey.
I was not a fan of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, to put it mildly. While I have a mild degree of interest in gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, I have little patience for his drug-addled experiences—even with Johnny Depp as the writer’s fictionalized alter ego. Perhaps that’s why I responded better to The Rum Diary: based on another autobiographical Thompson novel, about his younger days, it’s Fear and Loathing-Lite, fueled more by alcohol than narcotics.
The setting is San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1960, where Depp shows up for a job on a local newspaper a day late, getting off on the wrong foot with ill-tempered editor Richard Jenkins. He agrees to room with fellow reporter Michael Rispoli and falls into a drink-sodden mist, occasionally fired up by the actions and musings of crazed—
Writer and sometimes-director Andrew Niccol fixates on the future and doesn’t offer a sunny outlook, whether it’s in Gattaca, The Truman Show, or S1m0ne. It should come as no surprise, then, that In Time is yet another trip into the dystopian world of tomorrow, where lifespan has replaced money as the commodity of choice, and people stop aging when they reach 25. If they’re lucky—or well-off—they can earn or exchange days, weeks, months, and even years, thereby extending their time on earth.
Yes, this is a story of haves and have-nots. Justin Timberlake plays one of the latter, who ekes out an existence from day to day until he chances to meet—
There are great moments in Anonymous, from its arresting opening scene (with Derek Jacobi rushing into a Broadway theater and striding directly onstage) to recreations of the first performances ever given of Henry V and Hamlet before a spellbound throng of groundlings. I, too, was captivated during those thrilling scenes, which is why it’s so frustrating that Anonymous nearly drowns itself in a sea of confusion.
Because no one wants to tell a story in chronological order any more, this saga hopscotches back and forth through three separate time periods (not counting the modern-day framing device with Jacobi). I know this because we see David Thewlis as Queen Elizabeth’s advisor William Cecil in three different makeups: as a middle-aged man, then older, then elderly. It’s easy to keep track of the Queen because she’s played in the two later stages of life by the magnificent—
The archeologists who extracted artifacts from King Tut’s Tomb couldn’t have been any more excited than the movie lovers who witnessed the rebirth of Ernst Lubitsch’s The Loves of Pharaoh Tuesday night at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, on the exact date of the movie palace’s 89th anniversary. Piecing this 1922 silent film epic back together has been a formidable project for German film preservationist Thomas Bakels of Alpha-Omega, who told me it was even more difficult than restoring Metropolis! It took five years to complete the digital reconstruction and clean-up, even after the Munich Filmmuseum had gone through the laborious process of combining elements of prints from around the globe.
All I can say is, it was worth the wait. Incomplete prints have existed for years, with key differences depending on where it was first released: the American version had a happy ending, the Italian interpretation focused on the love story while the Russian release all but eliminated it. I think it’s fair to say that it wasn’t possible to fully appreciate the movie’s imposing beauty, scope or dramatic impact until now. Not only is it an impressive production, with crowd scenes and desert battles to rival C.B. DeMille; it also excels at—
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