For a totally preposterous magician caper, “Now You See Me” has a surprising meta edge to it. The film talks a big talk about deception with its Morgan Freeman voice-over narration (“the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see”), but in spite of its high levels of ludicrousness, it delivers exactly […]
A man who doesn’t play by the law when it comes to delivering justice isn’t an original idea for a main character, and Tom Cruise is far from an original action star, but somehow “Jack Reacher” doesn’t suffer too much from being stale.
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.
As Americans, we had never been so fixated on killing a single individual as we were Osama bin Laden, the brain behind Al Qaeda and dubbed architect of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “Zero Dark Thirty,” the story of this 10-year manhunt, leaves out that social and political narrative, opting instead to capture the CIA’s operation […]
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 […]
Exfiltration specialist Tony Mendez received the highest honor that can possibly be awarded in Intelligence for his work during the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979, and the man who played him and directed his story in “Argo,” Ben Affleck, will find himself quite decorated as well if he continues to make films at this quality […]
After “The Bourne Ultimatum” became the most successful and critically praised film of a trilogy considered the consummate modern spy series, it was only a matter of time before the saga continued. With that film’s director, Paul Greengrass, interested in pursuing other projects, and star Matt Damon uninterested in returning without Greengrass, Universal has been […]
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 […]