Friday, November 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Life, Life, Love

New and Noteworthy: Movies

Also Opening

Calvary Dark forces gather around a priest (Brendan Gleeson) after he is threatened during confession.

The Hundred-Foot Journey An Indian family moves to France and opens a restaurant, making the proprietor of a neighboring French restaurant (Helen Mirren) none too happy.

Into the Storm A series of deadly tornadoes that wreak havoc in a town leads some to flee, but others to channel their inner storm-chaser.

Mood Indigo The seemingly perfect life of a French couple (Audrey Tautou, Romain Duris) begins to unravel when one develops an unusual medical condition. English and French with subtitles.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles In this reboot of the '90s series, four outcast brothers rise from the sewers to save New York City from a nasty villain.

What If Daniel Radcliffe stars as a medical school dropout and animator; two friends begin to realize that their feelings for each other run deeper than friendship.

Excellent (****)

Reviewed by critics Steven Rea (S.R.), Tirdad Derakhshani (T.D.), and David Hiltbrand (D.H.). W.S. denotes a wire-service review.

Read complete reviews at

Boyhood Richard Linklater's unassuming masterpiece follows a Texas kid (newcomer Ellar Coltrane) from grade school to college dorm, reconvening cast and crew (including Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as the parents) a few weeks every year for 12 years, and its carefully observed series of small moments take on quiet, metaphoric power. The faces and features of the actors - children and adults - change, and good stuff, bad stuff, the funny, the sad, the transformative, the banal, all happen in real time. Because, for once in the movies, time is real. 2 hrs. 46 R (profanity, sex, adult themes) - S.R.

Venus in Fur Wickedly smart and wickedly playful, Roman Polanski's adaptation of David Ives' Tony-nominated play works on so many levels it's dizzying. A two-character piece about power, perversion, subjugation, seduction, the battle of the sexes, and the relationship between an actress and her director, it stars Polanski's wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, and Mathieu Amalric, who bears a striking resemblance to Polanski. 1 hr. 36 No MPAA rating (sex, nudity, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Very Good (***1/2)

Alive Inside An extraordinary documentary captures the startling impact music can have on people with Alzheimer's and dementia. This is an all-too-rare light in the nursing-home tunnel. 1 hr. 18 No MPAA rating - D.H.

Code Black A riveting, you-are-there documentary about life - and death - in the underfunded, understaffed and overwhelmed ER of Los Angeles County/USC Hospital, from the point of view of a group of passionate resident physicians. A must-see for anyone concerned about the state of health care in this country now. Which should be all of us. 1 hr. 22 No MPAA rating (graphic surgical scenes, adult themes) - S.R.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 One of the most delightful surprises of the year, this DreamWorks Animation sequel is an intelligent, sensitive, and beautifully realized morality play that will fascinate children and parents alike. Five years after he ended the war between dragons and Vikings, young hero Hiccup and his fellow dragon-riders face off against a dreaded enemy named Draco, who subjugates dragons, using fear and torture to make them do his bidding. 1 hr. 42 PG (adventure action and some mild rude humor) - T.D.

The Immigrant Marion Cotillard is nothing less than amazing as a destitute Pole who arrives at Ellis Island in 1921 and falls in with a smooth-talking pimp (Joaquin Phoenix). James Gray (Two Lovers, The Yards) directs this half-crazy, fascinating yarn. R (nudity, violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Life Itself A touching, inspiring documentary portrait of Roger Ebert, the famously prolific thumb-slinging movie critic whose life story is the stuff of movies itself - and whose resilience in the face of an 11-year struggle with cancer is nothing short of extraordinary. R (adult themes) - S.R.

A Most Wanted Man One of Philip Seymour Hoffman's last performances is also one his greatest - as the rumpled, chain-smoking chief of a covert antiterrorist unit in modern-day Hamburg. The actor lives and breathes the role. A taut thriller, adapted from John le Carré's 2008 novel, full of tradecraft and moments of quiet terror, with a stellar supporting cast. 2 hrs. R (profanity, violence, adult themes) - S.R.

Obvious Child Jenny Slate stars as a Brooklyn comedienne who finds herself pregnant after a messy, drink-fueled one-nighter in this low-key indie set in a world of stand-up, breakups, and visits to Planned Parenthood. Philadelphia native Gabe Liedman costars. R (profanity, sexual content, adult themes) - T.D.

Snowpiercer A global-warming experiment goes awry and Earth freezes, leaving survivors to circle the globe on a train driven by perpetual motion. Class war breaks out between those in back and those in front. All aboard for Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Chris Evans. R (violence, language, smoking, drug use) - T.D.

Violette This impressive film brings to life the long relationship between French writers Violette Leduc and Simone de Beauvoir. 2 hrs. 12 No MPAA rating (adult subjects, profanity, sexuality, smoking) - T.D.

Also on Screens

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes **1/2 Unnecessarily slow and somber sequel to the 2011 reboot of the classic sci-fi franchise from another century. The apes are dominant, living a life of peace in the misty woods north of San Francisco, but then the humans come asking favors, armed with guns. With Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, and Andy Serkis' performance-capture turn as Caesar, leader of the highly evolved primates. PG-13 (violence, action, adult themes) - S.R.

Get On Up 1/2 Chadwick Boseman, having played baseball legend Jackie Robinson in 42, tries on a different kind of legend: the Godfather of Soul. With that unmistakable rasp, unmistakable pompadour, and unmistakable dance moves, a biopic of James Brown. From Tate Taylor, director of The Help. 2 hrs. 18 PG-13 (sexual content, drug use, profanity, violent situations) - D.D.

Guardians of the Galaxy Chris Pratt rounds up a team of outer-space misfits. Their mission: Does it matter? This breezy comic-book adaptation is the first sci-fi movie to spoof itself. 2 hrs. 2. PG-13 (violence, profanity) - D.H.

Hercules 1/2 Dwayne Johnson supplies the muscle in this large-scale, entertaining adventure. The plot is pedestrian but that's why Herc rides a chariot. With Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell and John Hurt. 1 hr. 38 PG-13 (Violence, profanity, partial nudity) - D.H.

Lucy *** French action director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Nikita) outdoes himself in this English-language comic-

book fantasy starring Scarlett Johansson as a student whose brain becomes supercharged after a drug overdose. Clever, drenched in irony, the flick is at turns a violent, noirish mob thriller, a speculative sci-fi yarn about the mysteries of the brain, and an existential inquiry about the meaning of life. 1 hr. 30 R (Strong bloody violence, sexuality, smoking, drug use, profanity) - T.D.

Magic in the Moonlight For all its visual delights - Roaring 20s roadsters, dazzling dresses, Cote d'Azur landscapes to die for - Woody Allen's 44th feature has to be one of his bigger duds. The mostly mirthless comedy, a sparkless romance, stars Colin Firth as an ace magician out to debunk a beautiful young American psychic, played by Emma Stone. 1 hr. 37 PG-13 (adult themes) - S.R.

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