Archives for January 2010

ARCHIVES

Terribly Happy

Eerie and bleak -- must be Danish country
Jakob Cedergren, Lene Maria Christensen and Kim Bodnia
Directed by Henrik Ruben Genz

Like the Coen Brothers' 1984 film noir debut “Blood Simple,” Henrik Ruben Genz's “Terribly Happy” begins with lingering shots of sparse roads, amid ominous narration about the sterile, unfriendly nature of the locale in question. And while the setting may not be humid, oily Texas wasteland, it's just as alienating—a muddy, snowy, one-street town in rural South Jutland, Denmark. It's the type of ... more >

Edge of Darkness

a well-worn conceit on display
Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone and Danny Huston
Directed by Martin Campbell

“Edge of Darkness” is a crowd-pleaser much like “Taken,” in that your definition of pleasing has to involve a long list of bad-guys that need to be shot by the end. This is the kind of movie Mel Gibson used to make every other time before he went all seriously religious, verbally-attacked a (jewish?) cop and became known in certain circles as “Da Fuhrer.” He returns here after eight years (his ... more >

Jean Simmons Leaves Us

Goodbye, Ophelia

Lawrence Olivier cast her as Ophelia, Powell and Pressburger had to have her in “Black Narcissus.” Stewart Granger wanted her as his wife, Howard Hughes wanted her as his mistress. Starting out as a British actress, she went on to a Hollywood career with directors such as Preminger, Mankiewicz, or Cukor. Although she had a rich career that won her two Oscars, neither the public nor Hollywood ... more >

Creation

Charles Darwin struggles to get the balance right
Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly and Ian Kelly
Directed by Jon Amiel

He brought us the theory of evolution but director Jon Amiel’s take on Charles Darwin doesn’t evolve into much. “Creation” stars Paul Bettany, complete with receding hairline, as the author of “Origin of a Species,” a reclusive man struggling to write the book that so defines us all. He grapples with the idea of “ridding the world of God” as one colleague puts it, as well as with the balance ... more >

Extraordinary Measures

We made the list for you
Brendan Fraser, Keri Russell and Harrison Ford
Directed by Tom Vaughan

Things to like about Extraordinary Measures, with clinical researcher Harrison Ford and father/businessman Brendan Fraser joining forces to save Fraser’s children from a deadly form of muscular distrophy: 1 ) It’s relatively adult. 2 ) It treats its subject seriously. 3 ) It treats its subject carefully. 4 ) Based on a true story, it doesn’t much Hollywood-up its ending. 5 ) For a ... more >

Nick Nolte

A conversation with Nick Nolte

In shooting the documentary ‘Nick Nolte: No Exit’(available On Demand via Sundance Selects since December 30), director Tom Thurman concocted a rather existential ploy to bring out the burly, intimidating sixty-eight year-old actor's vulnerable side: he assigned Nolte to literally interview himself. Hopefully, this oddball tactic would uncover the true Nolte, who in the past notoriously relished ... more >

The Lovely Bones

It's the story of a life and everything that came after
Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg and Saoirse Ronan
Directed by Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson’s ‘The Lovely Bones’ accomplishes one thing that’s hard to do. I’ve never seen a film in which the foreboding sounds of inanimate objects cause such an emotional stir while the allegedly animate actors cause almost none. In his adaptation of the Alice Sebold novel about a child murder, Jackson’s film does pretty well in re-creating the sights and sounds of 1973, capturing that ... more >