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ENTERTAINMENT
June 25, 2010
Green Zone . 1/2 (Universal Pictures, '10) $29.98. 115 mins. A U.S. Army officer questions his country's mission when his hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq reveals covert intelligence. With Matt Damon, Jason Isaacs, Brendan Gleeson, Khalid Abdalla. R (violence and profanity) The Last Station . 1/2 (Sony Pictures Classics, '09) $27.96. 112 mins. The declining health of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, who denounces material wealth, leads to a battle between his wife and a chief follower over his fortune.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 16, 2007 | By Steven Rea INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
If The History Boys were mashed up in a John Hughes retrospective, and the music were wall-to-wall '80s Brit rock (the Cure, Tears for Fears, Buzzcocks), and the dashing young costar of The Last King of Scotland - James McAvoy - were onboard, well, there you have Starter for 10. Taking its title from an oft-used phrase on a U.K. game show called University Challenge, this coming-of-age lark centers on Brian Jackson (McAvoy), a working-class kid from a working-class town who grew up watching the aforementioned brainiac quiz program.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 25, 2005 | By Steven Rea INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
An Irish buddy picture about two blokes with severe disabilities, Rory O'Shea Was Here could be called - if one were the cold-hearted, cynical type - Their Left Feet. Brenda Fricker, the mum in My Left Foot, is even on board, in the role of the stern supervisor of Carrigmore, an institution for the disabled. But for all its formulaic uplift and button-pushing emotional moments, the filmmakers behind Rory O'Shea have clearly thrown their hearts into the project. You'd have to be as cold and cruel as the lout in the pub where Rory (James McAvoy)
ENTERTAINMENT
June 27, 2008 | By Steven Rea, Inquirer Movie Critic
As hyperactive action pics go, Wanted goes at zooming speed, whooshing this way and that, tracking bullet trajectories with you-are-there POV shots, defying space, time and gravity as a tattooed Angelina Jolie and her mean-faced minions wreak havoc from the Chicago El to the railways of Eastern Europe. Train travel, in fact, is a big part of the movie, although Jolie and James McAvoy - Wanted's office-drone-turned-hero - prefer to ride the trains from on top. The view's better up there, even if you have to duck for tunnels.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 29, 2008 | By Steven Rea, Inquirer Movie Critic
Set in a color-saturated, quasi-present-day London - but a London where most everyone (even the Brits) speaks like Yanks - Penelope stars Christina Ricci in the title role. Her Penelope is a wealthy girl from the venerable Wilhern clan, but she was born with a terrible curse: a pig's snout where her nose should be. And it won't go away until someone tumbles for her with all his heart and soul. Penelope grew up in cloistered luxury, sheltered from the outside world. Her parents (Richard E. Grant and Catherine O'Hara)
ENTERTAINMENT
December 7, 2007 | By Carrie Rickey, Inquirer Movie Critic
It would be the last night of Briony Tallis' childhood, that sultry summer evening in 1935 when the imaginative 13-year-old bolted from her family's baronial estate to hunt for her runaway twin cousins. As the precocious novelist inhaled the animal smells of grazing cattle and rutting humans, she fancied she saw something not just naughty but criminal. Point of view is everything, is it not? Like L.P. Hartley's The Go-Between , Atonement is a genteel horror story contemplating how an innocent, Briony (played by the startlingly fine Saoirse Ronan)
NEWS
April 12, 2013 | BY GARY THOMPSON, Daily News Staff Writer thompsg@phillynews.com, 215-854-5992
THE TEST for Danny Boyle in "Trance," a movie built around amnesia and hypnosis, is to mesmerimize you into forgetting how much you hate the amnesia premise. Amnesia? I remember when Franka Potente put that question to Matt Damon in "The Bourne Identity," and made a face, so the movie could signal that it was on our side. The unabashed "Trance" dives in with Boyle's typical enthusiasm, even doubles down with hypnosis - James McAvoy is a high-class auctioneer who gets hit on the head during an art heist, then is put under hypnosis to remember what happened during the robbery.
NEWS
September 19, 2014 | BY GARY THOMPSON, Daily News Staff Writer thompsg@phillynews.com, 215-854-5992
"THE Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" is billed as a look at divorce, knitted together from separate he-said, she-said movies about a busted marriage. That turns out not to be true - the movie is indeed combined from two separate POV movies, but it's not about divorce. It's about the events that precipitated the break-up - not revealed until the movie is at least an hour old, and the less said about those events the better. Trouble is, saying less, or saying nothing, about those events means you must steer clear of the movie's actual subject, which the movie handles well when all is finally revealed, and the actors get to do their best scenes.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 16, 2007 | By GARY THOMPSON, thompsg@phillynews.com 215-854-5992
I'm sure somebody in Hollywood is buying stock in James McAvoy, the Scottish actor who's quietly proving he can do just about anything. Here in the States, we seem to be getting his movies in some kind of random order - he was memorably bitter as a rebellious paraplegic in "Rory O'Shea Was Here" a few years ago, and last year was the in-over-his-head physician to Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland," holding his own against Forest Whitaker's Oscar-winning...
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NEWS
September 19, 2014 | BY GARY THOMPSON, Daily News Staff Writer thompsg@phillynews.com, 215-854-5992
"THE Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" is billed as a look at divorce, knitted together from separate he-said, she-said movies about a busted marriage. That turns out not to be true - the movie is indeed combined from two separate POV movies, but it's not about divorce. It's about the events that precipitated the break-up - not revealed until the movie is at least an hour old, and the less said about those events the better. Trouble is, saying less, or saying nothing, about those events means you must steer clear of the movie's actual subject, which the movie handles well when all is finally revealed, and the actors get to do their best scenes.
NEWS
April 15, 2013 | By Steven Rea, Inquirer Columnist
Here's what you won't see in Trance , Danny Boyle's flashy, frantic thriller about a missing Francisco Goya masterpiece and the thugs and mugs trying to find it: a flurry of scenes from great art-heist movies like The Thomas Crown Affair (the 1999 remake, that is) and some classics of the genre. "We actually had a montage of a lot of movies - you know, all the ones you'd expect - culminating with that scene in Dr. No where Sean Connery sees the stolen painting in Dr. No's lair - and of course it's a Goya painting of the Duke of Wellington!"
NEWS
April 12, 2013 | BY GARY THOMPSON, Daily News Staff Writer thompsg@phillynews.com, 215-854-5992
THE TEST for Danny Boyle in "Trance," a movie built around amnesia and hypnosis, is to mesmerimize you into forgetting how much you hate the amnesia premise. Amnesia? I remember when Franka Potente put that question to Matt Damon in "The Bourne Identity," and made a face, so the movie could signal that it was on our side. The unabashed "Trance" dives in with Boyle's typical enthusiasm, even doubles down with hypnosis - James McAvoy is a high-class auctioneer who gets hit on the head during an art heist, then is put under hypnosis to remember what happened during the robbery.
NEWS
April 17, 2011 | By Steven Rea, Inquirer Columnist
When Robert Redford first heard of The Conspirator , a project being pitched by a new indie distributor intent on making films steeped in American history, he thought, ho hum, another script about Abraham Lincoln , the Civil War, the assassination. "My feeling was, well, Lincoln - that's territory well-traveled by book and film and documentary, so why go there?" recalls the actor and filmmaker whose latest work opened Friday. "But then when I read it, I realized this is fascinating, this is a story that nobody knows - tied to an event that everybody knows.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 25, 2010
Green Zone . 1/2 (Universal Pictures, '10) $29.98. 115 mins. A U.S. Army officer questions his country's mission when his hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq reveals covert intelligence. With Matt Damon, Jason Isaacs, Brendan Gleeson, Khalid Abdalla. R (violence and profanity) The Last Station . 1/2 (Sony Pictures Classics, '09) $27.96. 112 mins. The declining health of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, who denounces material wealth, leads to a battle between his wife and a chief follower over his fortune.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 27, 2008 | By Steven Rea INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
As hyperactive action pics go, Wanted goes at zooming speed, whooshing this way and that, tracking bullet trajectories with you-are-there POV shots, defying space, time and gravity as a tattooed Angelina Jolie and her mean-faced minions wreak havoc from the Chicago El to the railways of Eastern Europe. Train travel, in fact, is a big part of the movie, although Jolie and James McAvoy - Wanted's office-drone-turned-hero - prefer to ride the trains from on top. The view's better up there, even if you have to duck for tunnels.
NEWS
June 26, 2008 | By GARY THOMPSON, thompsg@phillynews.com
There's a growing inventory of movies about mousy guys who get major mojo makeovers when they discover hidden gifts. Titles include "Jumper," about a guy who can teleport around the globe, and "21," about a math whiz who realizes his MIT brain can beat the house in Vegas. To date, most of these movies have displayed the complexity of a beer commercial, and followed a kind of anti-Spider-Man theme - with great power comes money, cars, girls. They seem to be aimed (surprise)
ENTERTAINMENT
February 29, 2008 | By Steven Rea, Inquirer Movie Critic
Set in a color-saturated, quasi-present-day London - but a London where most everyone (even the Brits) speaks like Yanks - Penelope stars Christina Ricci in the title role. Her Penelope is a wealthy girl from the venerable Wilhern clan, but she was born with a terrible curse: a pig's snout where her nose should be. And it won't go away until someone tumbles for her with all his heart and soul. Penelope grew up in cloistered luxury, sheltered from the outside world. Her parents (Richard E. Grant and Catherine O'Hara)
ENTERTAINMENT
December 7, 2007 | By Carrie Rickey, Inquirer Movie Critic
It would be the last night of Briony Tallis' childhood, that sultry summer evening in 1935 when the imaginative 13-year-old bolted from her family's baronial estate to hunt for her runaway twin cousins. As the precocious novelist inhaled the animal smells of grazing cattle and rutting humans, she fancied she saw something not just naughty but criminal. Point of view is everything, is it not? Like L.P. Hartley's The Go-Between , Atonement is a genteel horror story contemplating how an innocent, Briony (played by the startlingly fine Saoirse Ronan)
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