MOVIES

GONE GIRL, from left: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, 2014. ph: Merrick Morton/TM & copyright ©20th

GONE GIRL beset by technical goofs

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike
Directed by David Fincher

It would be ungracious to deny that David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” lengthy as it is, whizzes past, keeping us highly entertained throughout. I haven’t read the book on which it is based so I don’t know if the structural change that has apparently caused an uproar is for the better or not. Anyway, both book and screenplay are by the same author so she’s entitled to doing what she wants with ... more >

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THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY

Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Stewart
Directed by Hossein Amini

It’s always a nice surprise when a film panned by critics turns out to be quite enjoyable. Such is Hossein Amini’s “The Two Faces of January,” both a crisp thriller based on a Patricia Highsmith novel and a period piece set in Athens and Crete in the sixties. The story is that of a wealthy American couple taking in the sights, people dull enough until we realize that Chester MacFarland (Viggo ... more >

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Men, Women & Children

Kaitlyn Dever, Ansel Elgort and Jennifer Garner
Directed by Jason Reitman

A history lesson from a history teacher in Jason Reitman’s “Men, Women & Children:” the Sept. 11 attacks and Pearl Harbor are the only times that America has been attacked on home soil. This must come as very good news to James Madison, who didn’t need to flee the White House before the British burned it two-hundred years ago, because apparently that didn’t happen. With movies about ... more >

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FRIGHT AND HORROR IN DOWN UNDER. It’s The Babadook!

Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall and Tiffany Lyndall-Knight
Directed by Jennifer Kent

Jennifer Kent’s Australian horror film “The Babadook” is bound to enthrall those who see it for, unlike in most contemporary horror films, that which terrorizes us is suggested rather than being blatantly represented on screen. “The Babadook” follows Samuel, a young boy with a grand imagination who becomes obsessed with a monster from one of his pop-up books The Babadook which he forces his ... more >

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REVIEW | THE DROP

James Gandolfini, Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace
Directed by Martin R. Roskam

Italian filmmakers created the genre of the Spaghetti Western. That makes “The Drop” an Amstel Eastern. The cast and crew of this New Jersey mob movie hail from the mean streets of Belgium, the land of waffles, chocolate and blonde beer (director Martin R. Roskam, cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis and co-star Matthias Schoenaerts). To fill other roles, they reached out to North Sea ... more >

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The November Man

Pierce Brosnan and Olga Kurylenko
Directed by Roger Donaldson

Who got the band back together? Spy thriller "The November Man" stars Pierce Brosnan, the former James Bond, as a lethal CIA agent. The Damsel in Distress is Olga Kurylenko, the Bond Girl from Daniel Craig’s "Quantum of Solace." We are about one step away from having a villain with a third nipple. The "November Man" answers one evergreen debate among Bond fans: could Brosnan have played a ... more >

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BIRDPEOPLE

Anaïs Demoustier and Josh Charles
Directed by Pascale Ferran

IMDB's one-sentence description of Pascale Ferran's new film is a nearly-apt one: "an American arrives in Paris, checks into a hotel, turns off his cell phone and starts his life anew." French filmmaker Ferran, known for her "Lady Chatterley" and "Petits arrangements entre les morts" (2010) for which she won the Caméra D'Or in Cannes, took "Birdpeople" to Cannes again this year but earned some ... more >