March 16, 2013
Directed by Chan-wook Park. With Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Matthew Goode. Distributed by Fox Searchlight. Running time: 1 hour, 52 mins. Parent's guide: R (violence, sexual violence, sex, profanity, adult themes). Playing at: Ritz East and Rave Motion Pictures/NJ.
March 15, 2013 |
"STOKER" isn't a stinker, but it falls well short of the neo-Hitchcock extravaganza it aims to be. There is certainly no shortage of Hitch references - uncles named Charlie, portentously posed stuffed animals, sexual train metaphors, corpses in the basement. Atop the basement is the home of the bizarro Stoker family. Inside, a morbid teen (Mia Wasikowska) grieves floridly for her deceased father, clashes with her mother (Nicole Kidman) and keeps a suspicious eye on her creepy visiting uncle (Matthew Goode)
March 11, 2013 |
'It's definitely an uncomfortable film," says Mia Wasikowska , who stars in the creepy psychological reverie Stoker - and whose character is both the source and the object of much of that discomfort. India Stoker has just turned 18 - on the day her father dies in a mysterious accident. She lives with her mother, a frosty and distant Nicole Kidman , in a beautiful house in the country. And then, at the funeral for her father, an uncle she never knew - Uncle Charlie, an effortlessly sinister Matthew Goode - appears.
September 1, 2012 |
Perhaps in 80 years they will be making beautifully crafted, beautifully acted movies - or iScreen optical implant apps - about hillbilly meth labs. I know, cooking methamphetamine isn't the same thing as distilling whiskey in woodsheds - it's unlikely the government is ever going to legalize the stuff. And there has been a great film set in that world, although it hardly romanticizes the people living in it: Winter's Bone , which turned Jennifer Lawrence into a star.
August 29, 2012 |
THE VERDICT is in: Tom Hardy is officially Hollywood's go-to guy for hulking brutes who talk with their fists. He was the mixed martial arts goon in "Warrior" and the muzzled Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises," and now - in "Lawless" - he plays the Spartan-tongued leader of a Virginia clan of mountain moonshiner men who repel an invasion of crooked gummint flatlanders. Hardy plays broad-shouldered Forrest Bondurant, a man who's survived so many threats to his life it's rumored he cannot be killed.
August 27, 2012 |
The first time Matt Bondurant saw Lawless , the Prohibition-era bootlegging film based on his book The Wettest County in the World , he found it difficult to watch. A scene would start, an actor would walk and talk - Tom Hardy , Shia LaBeouf , Jessica Chastain , Gary Oldman , Guy Pearce , Mia Wasikowska , it's quite a cast - and Bondurant would rack his brain to recall what he'd originally written. He'd be distracted by a line, or a moment, that was all new to him. "It was strange and surreal," Bondurant confesses.
January 27, 2012 |
YOU'D THINK a movie about a male impersonator who calls himself "Nobbs" would have more of a sense of humor. Alas, "Albert Nobbs," featuring Oscar-nominated Glenn Close as a 19th-century Irish woman pretending to be a male butler, is determined to be an earnest tragedy, pleading for tears that never come. So why the Oscar nomination? I suspect that part of the reason is that Close (also producer) worked doggedly and heroically for 30 years to bring this project to the screen - it's based on a stage play that she performed three decades ago and has been nurturing ever since.
January 3, 2012 |
Following a tradition established long ago, here is a list of year-end awards you won't see anywhere else: The Dubious Achievements - in movies, that is - of 2011. Best performance in a lost cause: Helen Mirren ( Arthur ), Patricia Clarkson ( One Day ), Jay Chou ( The Green Hornet ), Michelle Pfeiffer ( New Year's Eve ), John Krasinski ( Something Borrowed ), Isiah Whitlock Jr. ( Cedar Rapids ). Best performance by an animal: This year brought two genuine canine star turns, both by Jack Russell terriers, which could give any human actor a run for the money: Cosmo in Beginners, and Uggie in The Artist.
December 28, 2011
THE DECEMBER release of "The Artist" is a fitting cap to 2011, a year to remind us that movies, like children, should be seen and not heard. Case in point: A couple of readers called to ask me, earlier in the year, if Takeshi Miike's samurai smackdown "13 Assassins" was dubbed in English. The technical answer is no - it was subtitled - but the essential answer is: What difference does it make? The movie is so visually succinct and powerful that words were beside the point; the subtitles were redundant.
December 25, 2011 |
It wasn't bad at all, 2011. I'm not talking about the battering Great Recession, not talking about the Occupiers, the terrorism, the wars, the crumbling infrastructures, the sense of dread moving like a storm above our heads. And I'm definitely not talking about the politicians. But a lot of movies this year did address these very issues, with artistry and intelligence, provocation and insight. Take a look at Take Shelter , Contagion , Melancholia, The Ides of March , Martha Marcy May Marlene , Everything Must Go (Will Ferrell does Ray Carver!