Monday, January 26, 2015

Life, Life, Love

New and Noteworthy: Movies

Pierce Brosnan and Olga Kurylenko star in "November Man," which opens Wednesday. (Aleksandar Letic/Relativity Media)
Pierce Brosnan and Olga Kurylenko star in "November Man," which opens Wednesday. (Aleksandar Letic/Relativity Media)


By Steven Rea

The November Man (Opens Wednesday) Pierce Brosnan is an ex-CIA operative back in the game, protecting a valuable witness - the valuable model-turned-actress Olga Kurylenko - from Russian baddies, and from the young agent he once mentored. Based on There Are No Spies, the seventh installment in Bill Granger's "November Man" book series. R

As Above/So Below Horror and thrills in the catacombs of Paris. From the director of Quarantine and Devil. R

The Trip to Italy British funnymen Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon take to the road once more, this time to tool around Tuscany, taste fine food, sip good wine, and trade side-splitting impersonations of famous folk. Fans of The Trip know what to expect. Brydon: "Where do you stand on Michael Buble?" Coogan: "His windpipe?" No MPAA rating

More coverage
  • Masked 'Frank' a delightful, oddball surprise
  • 'Boyhood': An unassuming masterpiece
  • 'If I Stay': An earnest melodrama

  • Also Opening

     Innocence A teen discovers that the women who run her school are hiding a dark and bloody secret.

    Jessabelle A young woman returns to her childhood home, where an evil spirit awaits her.

    Life of Crime Two hoodlums get more than they bargained for when the wealthy husband of their kidnap victim (Jennifer Aniston) refuses to pay them ransom.

    The Loft A dead body turns up at a loft apartment shared by five friends for their extramarital affairs.

      One Chance A shy shopkeeper and amateur opera singer becomes a sensation after appearing on a British talent show.

      Two Night Stand A young couple's intended one-night stand is extended by a blizzard that strands them together.

    Underdogs Animated family feature about a young man who teams up with football figurines that come to life to save his village. Opens Wednesday


    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.

    Calvary Brendan Gleeson stars as a good priest in a bad world - in the beautiful west country of Ireland - in John Michael McDonagh's stormy whodunit. A furious, darkly funny look at the nature of faith, and the nature of man. 1 hr. 40 R (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.


    Very Good (***1/2)

    A Most Wanted Man One of Philip Seymour Hoffman's last performances is also one of 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.

    Rich Hill This impressive documentary chronicles the lives of three boys growing up in an impoverished Midwestern town. 1 hr. 31 No MPAA rating (adult subjects, language, smoking) - T.D.


    Also on Screens

    Are You Here *1/2 Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis are childhood best buds grown up to be confused, conflicted, and thoroughly unlikable characters in this tonally askew character study from Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner. 1 hr. 52 R (sex, nudity, profanity, drugs, adult themes) - S.R.

    The Expendables 3 *1/2 Sylvester Stallone enlists faces both old and new (but mostly old) for this raucous, redundant sequel - a mercenary film about mercenaries. With Jason Statham, Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas, and Ronda Rousey. 2 hrs. 6 PG-13 (violence, profanity, adult themes) - D.H.

    The Giver *** A seemingly utopian society, its citizens devoid of memories or feelings, gets shaken up when a young charge (Brenton Thwaites) is assigned to be the Receiver of Memories from the time before "Sameness." Jeff Bridges is the gravel-voiced old-timer who imparts a bygone civilization's flashbacks of war and tumult, but also of happiness and beauty. And so a veritable can of worms is opened in this solid adaptation of Lois Lowry's much-read children's novel. 1 hr. 34 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) - S.R.

    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.

    Sin City: A Dame to Kill For *1/2 The sequel to comic-book artiste and auteur Frank Miller's 2005 black-and-white, digital backlot noir is full of cartoon violence, goonish misogyny, junior-high hardboiled gab, and deaths by (count 'em) decapitation, crossbow, noose, throwing star, serrated knife, blade, bomb, bullets. With the CG likenesses of Mickey Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jessica Alba, Eva Green, and Bruce Willis. 1 hr. 42 R (violence, sex, nudity, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ** Uninspired reboot of the jokey '90s franchise, with Megan Fox as intrepid news reporter April O'Neil, friend to those adolescent, anthropomorphic reptiles schooled in the martial arts. Will Arnett and William Fichtner also show up. 1 hr. 41 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) - S.R.

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