“True History of the Kelly Gang,” a defiantly vicious, one-man rogue’s gallery of style and substance

Wild tales of Australian bushranger Ned Kelly and his crew in the 1870s
George MacKay, Essie Davis and Nicholas Hoult
Directed by Justin Kurzel

Being historically accurate in film is tough. Dramatic license is all but impossible to sidestep. When your film begins with the phrase, “Nothing you are about to see is true,” you are assured a filmmaking carte blanche to wild creativity. So begins Justin Kurzel’s film “True History of the Kelly Gang,” a wild and vicious punk-tinged, outback-set, anti-Western that brings a unique take to the ... more >

Mark Wahlberg and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Broken City

Broken City

Move over, gangster squad
Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe
Directed by Allen Hughes

Every January Hollywood releases mostly third-rate action vehicles that have been sitting on the shelf awhile. "Broken City" appears to be an excuse to get Mark Wahlberg fans flocking to the cinema during a time when the Oscar-nominated indie pics are the main attraction. Surprisingly, though, it is a watchable thriller packed with endless twists that eventually work themselves out--the story as a ... more >

Broken City

Big-city cop brawn and mayoral intrigues
Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe
Directed by Allen Hughes

Allen Hughes, one half of the directing brothers who did the stylized Jack The Ripper feature “From Hell” and street-life drama “Menace 2 Society," flies solo for “Broken City.” And yet, if his name was not included in the credits you would've never known it. Lacking suspense, style, and the surprise effect "Broken City" falls on its face almost out of the gate. Mark Wahlberg is Billy Taggert, ... more >

State of Play

In case you missed it
Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams and Ben Affleck
Directed by Kevin Macdonald

Let’s be honest, no film experience is quite as satisfying as a good thriller—and “State of Play” is an excellent thriller, in the corridors-of-power genre. Set in Washington’s political world, it gives us the shenanigans and the dark doings that confirm everything we suspect from that particular area of human endeavor. Great, great acting by Russell Crowe. Ben Affleck’s congressman is ... more >

Body of lies

Russell Crowe shines bright in this new thriller
Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe
Directed by Ridley Scott

Say this for Ridley Scott – he makes my job easy. His garishly inefficient directing style (Why do in two shots what you can do in five?) works as a cinematic canary in a coal mine. When a scene is successfully building tension (à la Blade Runner), it’s whistle while you work all the livelong day. Yet you’ll know the instant Tweety starts sucking gas a la American Gangster). Watching his new ... more >