Zach Galifianakis is a funny guy. Robert Downey Jr. is a superb actor who can play comedy or drama equally well. They deserve a better vehicle than this broad, shameless (and uncredited) rehash of Planes, Trains and Automobiles in which the actors inherit the roles originated by John Candy and Steve Martin, respectively. I’m not sure where homage ends and rip-off begins, exactly, but this movie has the same story beats and, more important,—
For a film that is alternately emotional and cerebral, Hereafter grabs your attention with a scene worthy of a high-end disaster movie: an incredible depiction of a Tsunami. Knowing that it’s coming, as many people will from the previews and advertisements, won’t lessen the impact of this tour de force, which is frighteningly believable in every detail.
I saw this film in the best possible way: I didn’t know what it was about before I attended an early screening. I found it to be a moving look at a teenage boy’s struggles with his splintered family in England during the 1960s. When I realized the protagonist was John Lennon, it made even more sense, as I remembered, in sketchy form, the story of his adolescence.
One could easily call this Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, for that’s what it offers us: a look at Lennon’s youthful ways, including his first forays into music, his cultural influences and ambitions, and most of all his relationship with his loving uncle and stern aunt, who raised him, and his absentee mother, who re-entered his life at a crucial moment in his young life.
Aaron Johnson, who played the American hero in Kick-Ass, does a fine job here as—
I’ve been impressed with the filmmaking team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck since I saw their bold, original debut feature Half-Nelson, with Ryan Gosling, which was adapted from a short subject they made two years earlier. Their followup film, Sugar, about a baseball player from the Dominican Republic, revealed that they weren’t one-hit wonders, and didn’t intend to fall prey to formulaic storytelling. Their new film seemed equally promising; while I usually try to avoid trailers I happened to see this one, and it—
Let Me In offers an unusual twist on the usual vampire tale. It’s gripping and unusual—unless you happen to have seen the Swedish film that inspired it, Let the Right One In, based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist. If you did catch that striking Swedish import two years ago, there isn’t much point to seeing the remake. Writer-director Matt Reeves, who made his reputation with Cloverfield, has wisely followed the original and made only a handful of (mostly inventive) deviations. I admire both his fidelity and his restraint.
If you haven’t seen Let the Right One In, or don’t tend to watch foreign-language films with subtitles, then I wholeheartedly recommend the remake. I usually shy away from—
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