Llewyn Davis scrounges for gigs and a new couch to sleep on each night… MoreLlewyn Davis scrounges for gigs and a new couch to sleep on each night as he tries to make a living as a folksinger in New York City in 1961. Oscar Isaac is believable (and believably unlikable) as the choleric singer with a golden throat and no prospects in this minor entry in the Coen brothers canon.
Somali pirates seize a Danish freighter and demand millions of dollars… MoreSomali pirates seize a Danish freighter and demand millions of dollars in ransom for safe return of the crew. This worthy companion to CAPTAIN PHILLIPS focuses equally on the experience of a hostage cook and the tense negotiations between the captors and the CEO of the freight company.
Government experiments turn a punk biker into a raging telekinetic… MoreGovernment experiments turn a punk biker into a raging telekinetic maniac who trashes the depraved future city of Neo Tokyo. Never mind the plot, this groundbreaking anime is a neon feast of ultraviolence, hallucination and destruction; the Japanese have been trying to remake this gory cyberpunk classic for over two decades now, but nothing really matches the original.
A cynical journalist, recently sacked after a spin-doctoring scandal,… MoreA cynical journalist, recently sacked after a spin-doctoring scandal, agrees to do a human interest story to get back in the game: the tale of Philomena, a simple Irish matron searching for the son who was adopted from her when she was a teenage girl living at a home for unwed mothers. Tear-jerking drama, some comedy from Judi Dench as the guileless Philomena, and even a touch of mystery turn this based-a-on-a-true-story weepie into a superior diversion.
Fussy author P.L. Travers fights Walt Disney every step of the way as… MoreFussy author P.L. Travers fights Walt Disney every step of the way as he tries to adapt her story "Mary Poppins ," while flashbacks to her poor Australian childhood reveal why the character holds special meaning to her. Sure, this is Disney Studios patting themselves on the back about how their classic whimsy banishes cynicism and heals hearts, but it's also pretty damn fine entertainment. Pair it with ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW if you need a contrasting bitter Disney flavor to cut the sweetness.
An old man recalls his childhood, when he used to carry on… MoreAn old man recalls his childhood, when he used to carry on conversations with Long John Silver and Ludwig van Beethoven, as he waits in his boarding home for the man who will kill him to arrive. This defiantly absurd meditation on death gains contextual poignancy due to the fact that writer/director Raul Ruiz was gravely ill while making it and died before it could be released.
Worried that her rising popularity will make her a symbol of… MoreWorried that her rising popularity will make her a symbol of revolution, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) arranges a "tournament of champions" style Hunger Games with survivors of previous contests competing against each other to the death. Against all odds, this teen-oriented series warning about the dangers of governance by reality TV continues to be more charming than hokey.
A never-seen ghostlike figure wanders through the Hermitage Museum… MoreA never-seen ghostlike figure wanders through the Hermitage Museum (previously home to the Czars) in St. Petersburg, watching re-enactments of Russian history and debating art and culture with a French aristocrat companion. With thousands of extras, it's pulled off in one amazing 95-minute take. It's more than a bit stuffy and tailored to the delicate sensibilities of the fine arts crowd, but it's impossible not to be impressed by the pageantry and technical achievement.
Five kids go to a cabin in the woods, read incantations from an evil… MoreFive kids go to a cabin in the woods, read incantations from an evil tome lying around in the basement, get possessed, and start killing each other. The best thing that can be said for this technically adept but utterly unnecessary remake is that is achieves the minimum level of quality necessary to avoid embarrassing the EVIL DEAD franchise.
Son of a successful Irish tenor, Morton Downey, Jr. fails at music but… MoreSon of a successful Irish tenor, Morton Downey, Jr. fails at music but briefly finds notoriety as the "father of trash television" when he reinvents himself an angry, chain-smoking talk show bully. 15 unpleasant minutes of fame are stretched to 90 minutes; the takeaway message is, Downey was a jerk.