The timeless narrative of people who do bad things getting what they deserve has become so entrenched in the way we look at books, movies, television and more. For that reason, many who finish “Arbitrage” will find themselves rather bewildered.
William Friedkin is a name you know, but not one you hear much about these days. The “French Connection” and “The Exorcist” director hasn’t delivered anything of that quality since those days in the ’70s, but he shows he’s still a skilled and relevant filmmaker with his film version of the Tracy Letts play “Killer [...]
Liam Neeson the gritty action hero. How unbelievable that at nearly 60 years old, an actor can redefine his career and become more bankable. Neeson has somehow re-channeled the seriousness he brought to dramatic roles into creating utterly convincing heroes in decent (at best) thrillers.
Global pandemics make for captivating science-fiction fodder — especially when the infected turn into raging zombies — but let’s say it was a tad more realistic. Let’s say that H1N1 had been as bad as we were prepared for and people were dying left and right. “Contagion” imagines that scenario through the extensive research [...]
Historical fiction espionage thrillers have a devoted fan base, as do the novels of John le Carré. These folks are an intellectual lot, stimulated by the secret dealings of the world’s intelligence agencies, which during the Cold War were at an all-time high. And they can keep “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” a film that despite [...]
Be prepared to have your annual “movies are never as good as the books” conversation with family and friends, because Stieg Larsson’s worldwide best-seller “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” has come to theaters (this time without subtitles). Wanting to honor the beloved source material, Sony placed this American version in the hands of serial [...]
It might not be an election year, but politics never take a break from being cutthroat. “The Ides of March” peels back the curtain on election campaigns, in this case those of two Democrats vying for their party’s nomination. Based on the play “Farragut North” by Beau Willimon, who had a hand in the screenplay, “Ides” [...]
Welcome to “Drive,” Nicolas Winding Refn’s exercise in the tried and true lesson that less is more, and more when it follows less is pulse-pounding mayhem. Maybe somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of “Drive” could be considered “action” or “violence,” but Refn makes every second of it count. When each slowly mounting scene finally [...]
The best spies usually work alone. There’s a reason James Bond and Jason Bourne fly solo, which is generally assumed to be that it lessens the margin for error and prevents emotional attachments. Perhaps it’s really because the we like to uncover the dark secrets that make a ruthless assassins tick, which isn’t too much [...]
If humans can only access 20 percent of their brains normally and 100 percent while on NZT, the “Limitless” drug of choice, then I would say screenwriter Leslie Dixon and director Neil Burger probably access somewhere around 70 percent of their creative power with regards to bringing Alan Glynn’s novel to the big screen. All [...]
There are the grand emotional courtroom dramas that immerse you in the ethical dilemmas that stem from from the case itself, filled with quotable speeches from venerable actors; then there’s “The Lincoln Lawyer” starring Matthew McConaughey. Based on the Michael Connelly novel, the film plays more like a crime thriller set in the legal realm, [...]
If Chloe Moretz’s Hit Girl from “Kick-Ass” were a slightly more real person, I suppose she’d be Hanna. Saoirse Ronan might not utter the C-word, but her character provides the same level of entertainment plus a bit more, well, depth. Either way, the trend of ass-kicking children continues in Joe Wright’s latest film, which succeeds [...]
Trains, brains and alternate realities comprise “Source Code,” the sophomore feature from Duncan Jones, director of 2009′s intellectual sci-fi dish “Moon” starring Sam Rockwell. Jones coaches a similarly terrific actor in Jake Gyllenhaal to another commanding yet heart-filled leading performance. The difference is that “Moon” was contemplative and brooding; “Source Code” moves at thrill-a-minute pace. [...]
Give Rodrigo Cortés credit: movie aside, few people could stand the thought of 90 minutes in a box with Ryan Reynolds. Not to jab at Reynolds’ talent, but most of his roles wear thin during the course of a movie and you can actually empathize with Paul Conroy. A Michigan- based truck driver, he’s on [...]
What a seemingly insurmountable task to adapt and execute the multiple story lines and brimming detail of Stieg Larsson’s novel “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Despite all the slicing and dicing (yet still a two-and-half-hour run time), credit belongs to this Swedish filmmaking team for still managing to replicate the novel’s extraordinary pacing.