The biopic that could've been (but isn't)
Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren
Directed by Sacha Gervasi

The principal pleasure of “Hitchcock”—which, in the end, is a film of decidedly few pleasures—comes from watching Anthony Hopkins’s transformation into the Master of Suspense. Hopkins may have worn a fat suit and prosthetics for the role, and he may not possess the disproportionately gaunt cheekbones and bulbous nose of the real Hitchcock (the star’s nose is so pointy here it almost upstages his ... more >

The debt

New drama from Focus Features brings back dark era
Jessica Chastain, Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington and Tom Wilkinson
Directed by John Madden

Split between two settings, two time periods, and two casts, it’s no wonder that John Madden’s The Debt divides so easily into two levels of quality. There’s one part that I like to call a classy, sexy Cold War spy thriller. There’s another part that I like to call “the ending.” Three Mossad agents share an apartment in East Berlin in 1966; two men and a young woman. The cramped quarters in a ... more >


Eighties favorite finally gets a reboot
Russell Brand, Helen Mirren and Jennifer Garner
Directed by Jason Winer

Everyone knows that 1981’s "Arthur" had three performances that could not be beat, that of Dudley Moore, Liza Minelli, and John Gielgud. So why try? This new Russell Brand version falls short in comparison to its predecessor, but even if it wasn’t a remake, it would still be a pretty tame film. Unfortunately by romantic comedy standards, that still means it's better than most that have come out ... more >


Doesn't get out much
Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman
Directed by Robert Schwentke

They were trying to sneak that one past me. The first Bowen Rule of Cinema: There has never been a good movie that contains the phrase “Copy that.” But what if they say, “roger that,” instead? What then? Does the rule apply? Let’s face it: from the first spunkless assault-team cliché amid Bruce Willis’ suburban Christmas decorations “Red” had ‘copy that’ written all over it. But it took awhile ... more >

The last station

A near-perfect role for Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer, James MacAvoy, and Helen Mirren
Directed by Michael Hoffman

In most period films nowadays, the director appears so enraptured with getting right every detail of daily life, scenery, costume, that the actual story tends to get lost. It certainly is the case with “The Last Station,” a stilted, ponderous film by Michael Hoffman, based on the Jay Parini novel of the same name, which relates the fight over Leo Tolstoy’s legacy in the last year of his life. ... more >