"I thought you would be taller."
New York Times reporter Michael… More"I thought you would be taller."
New York Times reporter Michael Finkel(James Franco) romances a German tourist in Cancun. He is arrested when it turns out that he is in fact Christian Longo, an accused murderer from Oregon.
Meanwhile, the real Michael Finkel(Jonah Hill) has just written a front page expose of human trafficking in Africa for the New York Times. But instead of the praise he is expecting, he is fired for making up some of the facts. He returns to his wife Jill(Felicity Jones) in Montana with his tail between his legs. While fruitlessly sending out his resume, he finds out about Christian Longo.
Based on well, you know a..."True Story" is a dark and intelligent movie, filled with twists and excellent performances to match. A lot of the movie's success comes from what it leaves unsaid. First, there is what leads Longo to look up Finkel in the first place. That might have something to do with him starting his articles with a conclusion and then working the facts to fit it.(We can see there is something wrong with him when we first see him in Africa flashing a $20 bill.) At the same time, Finkel sees himself as a hero and enjoys the applause his articles receive which is probably a result of massive insecurities resulting from a childhood full of being bullied. At least he still rides the subway which is something.
While Northumberland(Alun Armstrong) has deep issues with the outcome… MoreWhile Northumberland(Alun Armstrong) has deep issues with the outcome of a recent battle, it does not mean others have not profited. Take Falstaff(Simon Russell Beale) for instance, who gained through underhanded means. It's not that other people may not have noticed, but that they have bigger concerns like the Lord Chief Justice(Geoffrey Palmer) warning him about being a bad influence on Prince Hal(Tom Hiddleston). Which is especially important considering the bad state of King Henry's(Jeremy Irons) health.
Even more than its previous installments, "Henry IV, Part 2" feels like a prologue.(Although the addition of Iain Glen to the cast is a nice touch.) And a lot of that has to do with the emphasis being on neither king nor prince but on Falstaff which is not helped in the least by Simon Russell Beale's abrasive performance. Admittedly, the point of which eventually becomes clear, outlining all of the play's themes in one moment of abundant clarity but still.
Adele Blanc-Sec(Louise Bourgoin) has just bested intransigent camels… MoreAdele Blanc-Sec(Louise Bourgoin) has just bested intransigent camels and Professor Dieuleveult(Mathieu Amalric) to obtain a priceless mummy in Egypt. On her return to Paris, she learns a pterodactyl is on the loose that has already been blamed for killing three people, including a former precept and a showgirl. Professor Menard(Philippe Nahon) whose help Adele needs has been arrested for the crime.
"The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec" has all the makings of a good movie, namely a spirited heroine for the ages who has a thing for creative inscriptions, a mad scientist, Mathieu Amalric and a flying dinosaur. But the reason this is not anything more than a slightly fun diversion is its overreliance on juvenile comic relief, causing it to actually forget it has a plot at times. That's not to mention it ending on a rather strange note. All of which proves, with the possible exception of last year's "Lucy," that it is probably wise not to trust Luc Besson to do anything right.
Well, it didn't start that way...although Tracy(Julia Stiles), a… MoreWell, it didn't start that way...although Tracy(Julia Stiles), a doctor, and Glen(David Cross), a teacher, arrive at couples brunch arguing over when to shut the car radio off. Admittedly, he is a little nervous to meet her friends for the first time. But soon enough the men go into the living room to watch the game while Shane(Jeff Grace) is trying to get a copy of Uncanny X-Men #120 online for $5. Then, a neighbor shows up wearing a hazmat suit...
With its neat use of classical music and an important lesson of never, ever being late for brunch, "It's A Disaster" is a witty dark comedy about relationships. What starts the conversation and interaction going is not the guacamole hitting the fan; rather it is when the modern technology goes out that the characters have to talk to each other for a change. That leaves it up to a good cast, especially America Ferrera and a surprisingly tolerable David Cross, to carry the day. Plus, the movie ends on a perfect note.
Ten years later...
Prince Hal(Tom Hiddleston) spends most of his time… MoreTen years later...
Prince Hal(Tom Hiddleston) spends most of his time drinking and whoring with various members of the lower classes. He even assists his friend Falstaff(Simon Russell Beale) in a bit of brigrandry. By comparison, King Henry IV(Jeremy Irons) is in the process of celebrating another victory. Now all they have to do is sort out all of the hostages...
With its lavish attention to the detail of court intrigue and 15th century drinking customs, after watching this adaptation of "Henry IV - Part 1," I think I understand why any straight-up adaptations are few and far in between, being outnumbered by more roundabout approaches to the material.(For example, My Own Private Idaho, Chimes of Midnight and oh what hell Tv's Empire.) While this installment does end on an upswing with an epic battle scene, it does not help that Jeremy Irons feels off in the lead. At least Michelle Dockery steals every brief scene she is in while there is the excellent Tom Hiddleston to look forward to taking the reins.
In "Black Rock," everything goes well at first for Sarah(Kate… MoreIn "Black Rock," everything goes well at first for Sarah(Kate Bosworth) and Louise(Lake Bell) when they travel to a favorite island from their childhood. At least until Louise finds herself ambushed when it turns out that her former friend Abby(Katie Aselton, who also directed) has also been invited. Which makes all three sharing a tent kind of awkward. But blunting the pain of various and sundry betrayals is them unexpectedly encountering Henry(Will Bouvier), another childhood friend.
With her second feature "Black Rock," Katie Aselton with determined assurance turns what could have just as easily been another exploitation flick with its suspense and brutal violence into something much more meaningful, capped by a truly memorable final shot. Not only does the movie have a neatly anti-nostalgic mood, but also has quite a lot to say about the bonds of female friendship. And that's not to mention, considering the war references, some thoughtful allegory on that subject, too.
In "About Elly," a group of friends travel to the seaside during a… MoreIn "About Elly," a group of friends travel to the seaside during a holiday weekend. They are all married couples and their children with the exceptions of Ahmad(Shahab Hosseini) who has just returned to Iran from Germany and a divorce and Elly(Taraneh Alidoosti) who is one of the children's teachers. So, there is hope that they will become better acquainted. But sadly there is no hope for them to stay at the house they had wanted to since it had been reserved by a wedding party, so they will have to rough it out in an unfurbished house closer to the sea.
"About Elly" teases out a tantalizing mystery. But after that, director Asghar Farhadi does something rather interesting by almost tying the movie into a knot exploring a single procedural point. But considering he has shown a great deal of interest in the Iranian legal system in his other films, I think he is trying to make a point here however subtly through exaggeration about how such minutiae can weigh down everyday life in Iran.
"Closer to the Moon" starts with Virgil(Harry Lloyd, of TV's… More"Closer to the Moon" starts with Virgil(Harry Lloyd, of TV's "Manhattan") watching a film shoot of a bank heist in Bucharest in 1959. This inspires him to pursue a career in filmmaking, first as an assistant, then as a cameraman. He learns what he witnessed was in fact a bank robbery when he films the five bank robbers being sentenced to death who then congratulate each other. And then he is assigned to help make a propaganda film of their crime, starring the criminals themselves.
That sequence of events begins with Max Rosenthal(Mark Strong), the local police commander, having his well-connected wife Sonia(Monica Barladeanu) being arrested on trumped up charges so he can party with his less connected friends on New Year's Eve 1958.
Enter Alice(Vera Farmiga).
Itself based on a true story, "Closer to the Moon" is in general concerned with the separation of truth from propaganda in a repressive system.(According the end note, the propaganda film of these events still exists. So maybe as a DVD extra?) Overall, this is a bittersweet movie that while it has the lighter touches of a caper story, also does not ignore the darker realities of these characters who once partisans for their country, now find themselves sidelined, with their careers in ruins. So for the first time in a long time they feel alive, and like before, ironically in the face of death.
No, Hubert Minel(Xavier Dolan, who also wrote and directed) did not… MoreNo, Hubert Minel(Xavier Dolan, who also wrote and directed) did not kill his mother, Chantale Lemming(Anne Dorval). That was something he wrote for a high school writing assignment. That does not make her any happier when she finds out, though. However, after things calm down, which is a relative state for this normally bickering pair, she offers to let him get his own apartment at the age of 16. But once he does find an apartment very much to his liking, she reneges on the deal.
"I Killed My Mother" is a movie about communication between two people who have trouble expressing themselves to each other. As far as Hubert goes, he is at an age when he is just starting to define who he is and who he wants to be and does not feel supported by his mother. As far as Xavier Dolan goes, he shows promise as a director, especially in his use of two-shots. But ironically enough he has trouble communicating with the audience about his specific point of view. To quote Hubert's teacher(Suzanne Clement), who talks to their mother like this? Which is a question the movie never satisfactorily answers.
Instead of being assimilated into an alien intelligence that has… MoreInstead of being assimilated into an alien intelligence that has conquered the earth, Melanie(Saoirse Ronan) jumps out of a window from a tall building. Somehow she survives, even after literally putting a dent into the pavement. So, Wanderer is installed into her. But somehow Melanie still resides in the back of her brain. For the Seeker(Diane Kruger), that is not out of the ordinary, as she hopes to get Wanderer to provide intelligence on other humans like Melanie's younger brother Jamie(Chandler Canterbury) and friend Jared(Max Irons). Melanie has other ideas, however.
Even at the best of times, it can be hard to visualize certain concepts of science fiction for the big screen. At the worst of times, you have the anticlimactic "The Host" which states in its own less than credible way that what makes us all human is inane soap opera, as expressed by author Stephenie Meyer's awkward sexual politics.(If Saoirse Ronan ends up looking lost, you know there is something seriously wrong with the story.) Even after a bad start, the movie does get somewhat better when William Hurt shows up on the scene. And Diane Kruger shows an adeptness for playing an alien that she had not shown for playing human beings over the past decade.