Red Cliff: For action fans and cinephiles of every persuasion, don't miss this one. Bravura, epic, period war movie, brilliantly executed. Woo's career best. Tomatometer: 86%. Metascore: 74.
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans: Werner Herzog and Nic Cage are never boring. Put them together and the combustion is exhilarating. On a Telluride panel, Cage bristled at my description of his performance of a drug-addled cop as "over-the-top." "Look around. You can go to New York City, you can go to New Orleans," he retorted. "You can look at somebody in a market, and they're doing something that is so impossibly - as you call it - 'over the top' that it would never survive any movie and never make it into any movie. I see things in life that are completely 'over the top.' So it just doesn't work for me." But isn't that his defining signature? As far as he was concerned, he was in complete control. OK. Check out this movie, and you will be mightily entertained. Here's Manohla Dargis's feature on Cage. Tomatometer: 85%. Metascore: 69.
The Road: This tough movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's dystopian novel is elegantly filmed by John Hillcoat, and movingly acted by Viggo Mortensen. It's a father-son love story that pushes into uncomfortable places. It's not escapist destructive fun like 2012. This movie really is about the end. Tomatometer: 70%. Metascore: 64.
Me and Orson Welles boasts a tour-de-force impersonation of Orson Welles by Chris McKay, and Zac Efron and Claire Danes as two budding theatre talents are fine. But the movie, shot by Richard Linklater on the Isle of Man, is one of those period evocations that never comes to life. It's all fake costumes and sets: it's not real. Tomatometer: 79%. Metascore: 69.
Old Dogs. A follow-up to Walt Becker's Disney sleeper hit Wild Hogs, this slapstick comedy was so painfully depressing that I walked out, something I rarely do. But the sight of two gifted actors like John Travolta and Robin Williams making fun of their age and mugging hopelessly just made me sad. Why demean themselves? Do they really need the money? Tomatometer: 7%. Metascore: 21.