One of my all-time favorite moments in a movie - a sublime instant when story, image, performance, the whole shebang, come together in a shudder of transcendence - is from Terrence Malick's 1973 lovers-on-the-run saga, Badlands. Sissy Spacek's freckled 15
'10 Cloverfield Lane': Temple alum Dan Trachtenberg directs wickedly clever sequel in J.J. Abrams franchise
It's practically palatial, the underground bunker in 10 Cloverfield Lane, compared to Brie Larson and little Jacob Tremblay's claustrophobic shed in Room. The cozy warren where Mary Elizabeth Winstead awakens, her leg shackled and an IV poking into her arm, looks like a luxury Airbnb. There's a kitchen, a living room, a jukebox, a TV, and a library of DVDs and VHS tapes - and she has her own private place to sleep. Sure, the door is locked from the outside. But things could be worse.
Ciro Guerra's profoundly beautiful Embrace of the Serpent, one of the nominees for best foreign language film at this year's Academy Awards, touches on many of the same themes that Terrence Malick (see the review of his Knight of Cups, Page 4) explored in his 2005 feature The New World.
10 Cloverfield Lane Producer J.J. Abrams calls this sci-fi thriller about a survivalist (John Goodman) and the woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) he's keeping in his cellar a "blood relative," or "spiritual successor," to the 2008 pic Cloverfield. Temple film school alum Dan Trachtenberg directs. PG-13
It's not unlikely that Tina Fey would have eventually found her way to Kim Barker's book - a book, called The Taliban Shuffle, about a journalist embedded in war-torn Afghanistan, a book that is now a movie called Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
It's too bad the target audience for Disney's Zootopia isn't of voting age - not even close - because there are issues here, about exclusion, prejudice, xenophobia, and women's rights, that would fire up an electorate and make voters look twice at the candidates vying for the presidency.
In London Has Fallen, the rip-roaring sequel to 2013's White House-under-siege hit Olympus Has Fallen, Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) looks around at the terrorists disguised as police, the terrorists disguised as Buckingham Palace guards, the terrorists aiming shoulder-launched rockets at the president of the United States, and decides there has been a security lapse.
A gritty noir full of crooked cops, Russian Israeli mobsters, and careering car chases through the streets of Atlanta, Triple 9 gets bonus points for some offbeat but successful casting - notably Kate Winslet, in a towering coif, jangling with bling, as a crimeland czarina who orders up a heist and orders her goons to throw bloodied, bound bodies into a refrigerated truck. The truck reads Kosher Meats on its side.
Only Yesterday hails from Japan's Studio Ghibli, the house founded by Hayao Miyazaki. But while the Oscar-winning animator is listed only as a "general producer" on this melancholy and beautiful feature, his influence resonates all through it: like many of Miyazaki's films, the central character here is a young woman; the lure of nature, of fields and forest, is powerful, and memory plays a pivotal role.
"Oddballs and misfits" are Eddie Mannix's stock and trade. He babysits them on a movie studio backlot. Officially, Mannix is the head of physical production at Capitol Pictures, the fabled - and fictitious - dream factory of Joel and Ethan Coen's early-'50s Hollywood lark, Hail, Caesar!
The Lady in the Van Maggie Smith stars as a homeless woman who pulls into writer Alan Bennett's driveway - and stays there for 15 years - in the film adaptation of Bennett's memoir and play. Alex Jennings is Bennett, in bifurcated mode: the timid, reluctant host and the ready-at-the-typewriter artist, eager to get what he can from the unkempt, unpleasant "eccentric" he's let into his life. PG-13
Old school and new school, color pencils and touchscreen styli, a wide range of formats and techniques are represented in the Oscar Nominated Short Films 2016: Animation program, and that's a good thing. The five nominated shorts, and the four additional "highly commended" titles that make up the theatrical package, use computer animation, hand-drawn animation, stop-motion animation, and in several cases, a mix of all three.
War and conflict (ethnic, religious, domestic) dominate the field in the live-action short-films competition for the 2016 Academy Awards. Although Ave Maria, from Arab Israeli filmmaker Basil Khalil, is comedic in tone, its depiction of the wariness in the dealings between Israelis and Palestinians speaks to a more serious, troubling reality. A family of Jewish settlers crash their car outs
In The Lady in the Van, the remarkable Maggie Smith can be found swathed in layers of ratty clothes, pushing a pram filled with protuberant plastic bags, snapping at neighbors (and the neighbors' children), and generally making a nuisance of herself. It's a far cry from the Dowager Countess of Grantham that Smith has played with all those haughty tsks and tuts in Downton Abbey - the opposite end of the spectrum, really, in social standing and the environs in which her character resides.
Son of Saul Ritz Five A Holocaust film like no other, about a Jewish prisoner in a Nazi death camp whose job is to usher fellow Jews into the crematoriums, and then to clear the corpses for the next wave. When he discovers a dead boy whom he believes to be his son, Saul (Géza Röhrig) goes on a mission to find a rabbi and arrange a proper burial. The power of László Nemes' close-in, intense film cannot be denied.
The pairing of Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years, Andrew Haigh's pitch-perfect portrait of a long and seemingly solid marriage, is a first. The English actor, who rode the British New Wave to acclaim way back in the '60s, and Rampling, the icy beauty whose early iconic roles include The Damned and The Night Porter, had never worked together. Ever.