Amour

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Amour is one of those movies that will leave a lasting impression on its audience, in the same way that love never fades from those who have truly felt it. Amour is directed by acclaimed Austrian director Michael Haneke, most well known for directing disturbing material (like Funny Games or The White Ribbon) that borders on horrific and possibly psychologically damaging. In Amour, Heineke goes a completely, more subtle route. Continue reading

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Les Misérables

les_miserables_ver3Les Misérables is, among other things, the story of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) and his road to redemption in nineteenth-century France. The film opens with Valjean a prisoner, because nineteen years ago he stole bread to try and save the life of his sister’s son. In prison, he is known as Prisoner 24601 to the menancing Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe). Eventually, Valjean is released from bondage and decides to reinvent himself as a businessman, establishing a factory that employs indigent women. One of these women, Fantine, is thrown out on the street for concealing an illegitimate child. She turns to prostitution to support her daughter, and eventually dies of consumption, leaving the little girl behind. Valjean, learning of Fantine’s destitution, promises to find and support the child, all the while pursued by the dogged Javert, who believes Valjean is “once a criminal, always a criminal.” Continue reading

The Sessions


sessions_ver5_xlgThe Sessions
 is one of those movies that just stays in your head for weeks. John Hawkes portrays Mark O’Brien, a man who lives inside an iron lung. Mark caught polio as a child and cannot function properly outside the iron lung for long periods of time. A poet and working journalist, Mark’s goal at the start of the film is to explore the topic of sex and the disabled. Upon realizing that the subjects he has been interviewing aren’t giving him the information he’s looking for, Mark decides to get in touch with a sex surrogate to experience sex himself — at age 38 — for the first time. Continue reading

Wreck-It Ralph


wreckit_ralph_ver6_xlgWreck-It Ralph,
 the latest CGI film from Disney, shares a name with its protagonist, who happens to be the antagonist of a retro arcade game called Fix-It Felix Jr. In the game, a twist on Donkey Kong, Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) climbs to the top of an apartment building, smashing windows and walls, until Fix-It Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer) arrives and makes repairs, ultimately defeating Ralph. After 30 years of playing out this same scenario, Ralph is tired of being the bad guy and yearns for the acceptance and glory of being a hero. The townspeople in the Fix-It Felix Jr. video game do not respect Ralph’s ambitions, so he breaks a cardinal rule of the gaming universe and begins “game jumping” in hopes of finding of a game that will allow him to become the hero he wants to be. Continue reading

The Man with the Iron Fists

man_with_the_iron_fists_xlgThe Man with the Iron Fists is a film written and directed by Wu Tang Clan musician RZA. This film, now playing locally, essentially pays homage to the old martial arts films of the early 1970s. In it, RZA plays an African-American blacksmith who was freed from slavery decades earlier by his mother and slave master. The blacksmith runs afoul of the Red Lion gang because he fails to produce the weapons they need in time for them to steal a large chest of gold that belongs to the Emperor. As punishment, they kill his prostitute girlfriend and also cut off his arms. These heinous acts set the blacksmith on a path of revenge, aided in his quest by warriors named Jack Knife (Russell Crowe) and Zen Yi (Rick Yune). Continue reading

Skyfall

skyfall_ver8_xlgSkyfall, the 23rd outing in the fifty-year-old James Bond franchise, is directed by Sam Mendes and stars Daniel Craig as the venerable Agent 007. Bond’s mission in this particular film is to discover who is behind a cyber terrorism attack on MI-6. The attack is directed at Bond’s boss, M (Dame Judi Dench), because she lost a hard drive containing the names of MI-6 agents who are undercover in terrorist cells around the world. Naturally, because the loss of the hard drive is an issue of national security, M’s position in MI-6 is threatened. Continue reading

Silent Hill: Revelation

silent_hill_revelation_3d_ver3_xlgSilent Hill: Revelation is a horror film sequel that really shouldn’t have been made. In it, a woman named Heather (Adelaide Clemens) visits a place called Silent Hill to save her father (Sean Bean) from an evil child named Alessa who wants Heather’s soul. I’m not pulling your leg, people; that’s the entire plot of the film. Horrific creatures and jump scares abound throughout its somehow too-long hour and thirty–five minute running time. Continue reading