Source: The Independent

Reel Deal

by Miles X. Logan

October 24, 2012

Visit for up to the minute theater listings and show times. An asterisk after the title denotes Milesí top picks.

Coming Soon

Cloud Atlas (R) This is a big-ticket movie that surely has major Oscar expectations. A tremendous cast led by Oscar magnet Tom Hanks, recruited by Larry (now Lana) and Andy Wachowski of Matrix fame. This project is another sojourn into a surreal world that jumps between past, present, and a future. But the intensity works against it, as does its length, nearly three hours. There is an emotional payoff at the end, but getting there isnít as much fun as it should be. Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, and Halle Berry co-star.

New To Theaters

Holy Motors (R) Itís fantastical. Itís science fiction. Itís a comedy. Itís a drama. Leos Carax has given us one of the most ambitious films ever made, yet it tries to be so many things the scenes ultimately rush by in a disjointed way. The plot centers around a time traveler who in the course of a single day, journeys from one life to another, assuming the role of a different character in each. Though confusing, it is visually stunning and critics are raving about it. Go see for yourself.

New On DVD

Prometheus. Hey look, itís Alien! Well not exactly. Ridley Scott directs, and if he couldnít help make his scary creatures like the ones in his 1979 masterpiece thatís OK. This is kind of a prequel, and its fun and scary and stuff just like . . . well, Alien, and the follow-up, cleverly entitled Aliens. Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) gets the plum role, and heís as usual good Ė almost convincing. Noomi Rapace, who played Lisbeth in the first The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, has filled out for this part. Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce head a strong supporting cast.

Now Playing

Seven Psychopaths (R) Irish playwright turned filmmaker Martin McDonagh has put together a big name cast and a funny, quirky movie that critics like and audiences, judging by the advance screenings, love. It centers around a struggling writer (Colin Farrell) who Ė and this is where it gets a little off-kilter ó decides to steal a dog (donít ask). Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, and Woody Harrelson are along for the ride. Olga Kurylenko (Quantum Of Solace) lights up the screen (again). Somehow, itís funny.

Atlas Shrugged Part II The first part didnít play very well in the United States but the relatively low-budget effort was surprisingly good. Samantha Mathis is back as Dagney Taggart, and she is a serious actress who shines in this role. D.B. Sweeney plays the mysterious John Galt. It should get a little more attention during the election season Ė somehow the author of the book that spawned this movie, Ayn Rand, has become lightning rod, 20 years after her death.

Argo (R) Fresh from its run at the Hamptons International Film Festival Ė and most of the other film festivals in the civilized world Ė Argo is finally released for the few people who havenít seen it yet. Ben Affleckís political thriller has Oscar aspirations, and yes, it is a good one indeed. Based in Iran circa 1979, itís about six Americans hiding out there during the hostage seige. Affleck directs and stars; funny man John Goodman (ďRoseanneĒ) is a revelation. Alan Arkin, Tate Donavan, and Taylor Schilling co-star. A must see film.

The Paperboy (R) The director, Lee Daniels (Precious), takes on Pete Drexlerís bestselling novel about the murder of a corrupt local sheriff in a small South Florida town circa 1960. Itís a lurid, depressing, violent, sexually charged tale that doesnít quite hold up. Matthew McConaughey stars, but Nicole Kidman, as a death row groupie, steals the show. John Cusack, Scott Glenn, and Zac Efron lead an excellent supporting cast.

Frakenweenie (PG-13) Itís not often the words ďTim BurtonĒ and ďheartwarmingĒ are used in the same sentence, but producers claim this tale about a boy and a dog is just that.

The truth is Burton canít resist turning things into a horror story; despite the clever animation, this is not suitable for youngsters.

Wonít Back Down (PG-13) What was supposed to be a heroic tale of two determined women trying to transform an inner city school into a productive learning center is turned into a cloying, predictable film by Daniel Barnz. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis do their best but ultimately go down with the ship.

Solomon Kane (R) Itís an action film. Itís science fiction. Itís fantasy. But itís boring. By the way, lots of people get killed. James Purefoy has the title role, and Brit vets Pete Postlethwaite and Max van Sydow get to ham it up big time.

Looper (R) Writer/Director Rian Johnson has himself a winner. This offbeat tale of time travel and hit men captivated critics and preview audiences. Bruce Willis is terrific, as is Joseph Gordon-Levitt Ė both men play the same character (donít ask). Emily Blunt co-stars.

End Of Watch (R) Itís basically a cop/buddy movie, familiar territory for writer-director David Ayer (Training Day), but itís exciting and intense. Michael Pena and Jake Gyllenhaal do the honors. Anna Kendrick and America Ferrera play the requisite babes.

The Master (R ) *Joaquin Phoenix is sensational as a sailor who returns home after World War II and falls under the spell of a cult leader, brilliantly played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. The director Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia, There Will be Blood) brilliantly weaves this off-kilter tale and it leaves viewers struggling for answers by the filmís end. Co-starring Amy Adams and Laura Dern. The cast may earn several Oscar nominations among them.

Lawless (R) Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, and Tom Hardy star as the real-life Bondurant Brothers, the legendary bootleggers who made it big during Prohibition. Itís basically a very violent gangster movie, so beware before you let the little ones sneak in to see it.

The Inbetweeners (R) This British TV series, about four nerds who go on vacation and bond, has been done many, many times starting with American Pie. This one, like most of the others, is crude and silly, but funny. Add a star if you are a nerdy 15 year-old with nerdy friends who like to bond.

For A Good Time Call... (R) You knew they were coming after the success of Bridesmaids Ė female buddy movies. This one works, thanks to a sassy script by newcomers Lauren Anne Miller and Katie Anne Naylon. Seth Rogen, Nia Vardalos, Mimi Rogers and Justin Long lead a solid cast.

Premium Rush (PG-13) * September begins the golden season for film lovers, when the big summer action blockbusters fade and the serious awards contenders are released. David Koepp, one of Hollywoodís go-to film writers (Spider Man, Mission Impossible) wrote and directed this sleeper about an aggressive New York City bicycle messenger who finds himself targeted for death. Itís a good one, and New Yorkers will especially love it Ė whether it plays well in Hollywood remains to be seen, but we may have our first Oscar contender. Donít miss it.

Sleepwalk With Me (NR) Comedian Mike Birbiglia employs a documentary technique to tell his first person tale of a struggling comedian trying to make it to the big time. He made most of the stuff up but no matter, itís a hilarious tale indeed. Donít miss it.

The Expendables 2 (R) Itís hard to believe they made another one, but they did. This time around, as in their first effort, Sly Stallone and his Over The Hill Gang of mercenaries ham it up while the bodies stack up. Stallone penned the suitably unbelievable script, and Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis et al pick up an easy paycheck while perpetuating the myth that they are still tough guys.

Cosmopolis (R) The director David Cronenberg (The Fly, The Dead Zone) brings us this complex, troubling sci-fi flick starring the white-hot Robert Pattinson, who is brilliant as financial wizard whose world suddenly crumbles. Juliette Binoche and Paul Giamatti lead a sterling cast. This is a well-thought out fantasy/thriller and worth seeing.

Hope Springs (PG-13) Two old pros, Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, are at the top of their games in this dramedy from the director David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada). Kay (Streep) convinces her skeptical husband Arnold (Jones) to visit a couples specialist (Steve Carrell) in the hope of invigorating their marriage. Itís a fun romp Ė and touching Ė and Oscar likely beckons for both stars.

The Bourne Legacy (PG-13) The hugely popular franchise Ė the films have grossed a billion dollars worldwide Ė carries on with a new Bourne, Jeremy (The Hurt Locker) Renner. Itís even slicker than the others, and features a cast to die for Ė Rachel Weisz, Albert Finney, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach, and the wonderful Joan Allen. Bourne lives on.

Celeste And Jesse Forever (R ) Celeste and Jesse are high school sweethearts who get married. But by age 30 Celeste is an upcoming executive and Jesse an unemployed underachiever. Celeste decides a divorce is the only way to save their long-term friendship. In lesser hands this movie might have flopped, but Rashida Jones (I Love You Man, The Social Network) has penned a sassy, multilayered script and Andy Samberg (ďSaturday Night LifeĒ) is perfectly cast as Jesse. Jones, the Harvard-educated daughter of music producer Quincy Jones and the actress Peggy Lipton, has herself a hit.

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (PG-13) Greg Heffley, the hero of the book series, comes to the big screen as played by Zachary Gordon (National Treasure: Book Of Secrets). David Bowers (Star Wars Episode III) directs. If you are 13, this is a must see movie.

Klown (NR) This insane film follows three crazy people Ė two men and a 12 year-old, through a series of escapades too outlandish to even mention here. There is a slapstick element to the film we couldnít quite get into, but it is undeniably funny and strangely sentimental. Itís worth the price of admission and then some.

Killer Joe (NC-17) Itís been a while since William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection) had a commercial smash and this film probably wonít be Ė itís too brutal, for one reason. Itís the story of a 22-year drug dealer (Emile Hirsch) who approaches his father (Thomas Haden Church) for help after his mother steals his stash. The pair decides to hire a hit man to kill the despised mother and collect her insurance. Enter Matthew McConaughey, who (Gasp!) gives a deeply textured yet disturbing performance as Joe Cooper. Itís a mystery, suspenseful and even funny at times. Ultimately, though, itís too disturbing for the mainstream moviegoer.

Ted (R) Seth MacFarlane, the creator of ďFamily Guy,Ē tries his hand on the big screen with this offbeat effort, about a grown man (Mark Wahlberg) whose cherished Teddy Bear suddenly comes to life. Really. There may be films that have been produced on flimsier plot lines, but we canít think of any offhand. Nevertheless, MacFarlane, has a sick sense of humor, and some of his stuff is truly funny.

The Dark Knight Rises (PG-13) Christian Bale returns as Batman/Bruce Wayne four years after the last megahit. As was the case the last time, the film is too long at 165 minutes, and all the action sequences begin to wear. Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, and Anne Hathaway co-star. Tom Hardy, though, as the ruthless criminal Bane, gets the plum job as the villain that brings Batman out of retirement.

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (NR) * Takashi Miike has created a remarkable film earmarked by his stunning camera work and gripping performances. On the surface it is the tale of a samurai who wants an honorable death by ritual suicide, but the plot runs far deeper, and branches out in many unforeseen directions. This film may not be screened on the East End, but New Yorkers should take note to look for it in the city.

The Collaborator (NR) Martin Donovan wrote, directed, and stars in this film, billed as a comedy about a screenwriter on the skids. Itís not really funny, but critics seem to like it. On the other hand, audiences havenít. Be forewarned. Co-starring David Morse, Olivia Williams, and Katherine Helmond.

The Imposter * Critics are raving about this documentary about the 1994 disappearance of a 13 year-old in Texas. Director Bart Layton, in his first effort, deftly lays out a series of occurrences even Hollywoodís greatest scriptwriters would have trouble coming up with. And itís all true. This film may not make it to the East End, but it is worth a trip to Manhattan if it doesnít.

The Amazing Spider Man (PG-13) Again? Yep. This time with a new director (Marc Webb) and a new cast. But Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) as Peter brings some chops to the role. Unlike Tobey Maquire, a somewhat nerdy Spiderman whose overly innocent look seldom left his face, Garfield has a chip on his shoulder -- heís something of a rebel, and Emma Stone (The Help) is perfect as Gwen. Itís slick summer fare to be sure, but itís edgy enough to distinguish itself from the original. Martin Sheen, Dennis Leary and Sally Field anchor an excellent supporting cast.

The Pact (NR) Nicholas McCarthyís first film has a tired premise: Two sisters (played by Agnes Bruckner and Caity Lotz) return home after their mother dies and stay overnight in the house. When the lights go out . . . yes, you guessed it Ė creepy things happen. Yes, folks, ghosts. The twist is the sisters unveil some dark secrets about mumsy. It is what it is Ė summer product for the young crowd.

People Like Us (PG-13) Alex Kurtzman, who worked with Chris Pine in Star Trek, casts his young star in a family dramedy this time around, and Pine once again delivers a fine performance. Cast as Sam, a high-powered salesman whose life crashes when a big deal collapses on the same day his father dies, Pine discovers he has a sister heís never met (Elizabeth Banks). It doesnít sound like much of a plot, but an absorbing screenplay and good actors make it surprisingly effective. Michelle Pfeiffer and the ever-present Mark Duplass co-star.

Beasts Of The Southern Wild * (PG-13) Fox Searchlight has high hopes for this fantastical debut film by Ben Zeitlin, and it is a magical ride indeed. In fact, it is the first film of the year likely to garner an Oscar nomination. Donít miss it.

Snow White And The Huntsmen (Pg-13) Credit Kristen Stewart, who can look dull and bored around werewolves and vampires and equally nonplussed with the evildoers and would-be assassins in this wacky film. The trouble is director Rupert Sanders isnít sure if itís a drama, an adventure, or a romance movie. In the end, itís all over the map. Charlize Theron is luscious as the evil queen; Chris Hemsworth and Sam Claflin also star.

Your Sisterís Sister (R) Director Lynn Shelton hasnít had much commercial success Ė or artistic either, for that matter Ė with bombs like Humpday Ė but she has fashioned a complex and rewarding dramedy with this one. Shelton has attracted an excellent cast, and Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass, and Rosemarie DeWitt play off of each other like seasoned pros. Part family drama, part sex farce, the film is convoluted but undeniably original.

Safety Not Guaranteed (R) Speaking of R rated dramedies starring Mark Duplass, hereís another one, opening almost simultaneously. Newcomer Colin Trevorrow, working off a script from Derek Connolly, directs Duplass as an eccentric supermarket clerk who believes in time travel. Itís quirky and funny, and it comes from the folks who brought us Little Miss Sunshine. Like that movie, itís a little film with a big heart. Jeff Garlin and Kristin Bell co-star.

Prometheus (R) * Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) is back in the Sci-Fi genre, and he delivers a terrifying epic sure to be one of the summerís most popular movies. Noomi Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) leads a stellar cast that includes Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, and Guy Pearce. Donít miss it.

The Loved Ones (NR) New director Dean Burns mines the Carrie vein with delightful results. When Lola asks Brent to take her to the prom and he says no Lola exacts her revenge Ė and bad things happen. Itís a good date flick.

High School (R) Itís the summer season, and the teens love going to the movies. This comedy about an honor student who takes a toke and then finds out he has to take a mandatory drug test, should itch the scratch. Adrien Brody is delightfully over-the-top as the local drug dealer. All the Cheech and Chong stoner moves are on display, and every pot clichť used. In other words, the youth of America will relate.

Moonrise Kingdom * (PG-13) Wes Anderson (Bottle Rocket, Royal Tennenbaums) has assembled an incredible cast for this tale of two 12 year olds who run away into the wilderness as a violent storm approaches a New England island circa 1965. Bruce Willis plays the local sheriff, Ed Norton a scout leader, and Frances McDormand the mother of the girl as the frantic search intensifies with each passing hour. Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, co-star. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward play the kids.

Men In Black III (PG-13) East Hamptonís Barry Sonnenfeld brings his franchise back for Number 3 and like two old friends itís great to see them again. They literally go back Ė in time, to save the world from creatures both grotesque and humorous. Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) have the usual snappy banter going, and Josh Brolin signs on as the wet-behind-the-ear newbie agent. Emma Thompson costars.

The Dictator (NR) Sacha Baron Cohenís latest is more of the same silliness, but this one has a few more laughs than his usual efforts. An all-star cast led by John C. Reilly, Ben Kingsley, and Megan Fox helps.

Yellow Submarine * (G) Yes, the one with the Beatles. Amazingly, though, itís held up remarkably well. And is still a visual treat. The music is a blast, but that goes without saying. The story line meanders, the plot is predictably far-fetched, but itís still a must see, and little kids will love it as much as their stoned parents did.

Think Like A Man (PG-13) Steve Harveyís best selling book is a surprise hit in theaters, though it suffers from director Tim Storyís excesses Ė pat dialogue and one-dimensional script. Story (Barbershop, Fantastic Four) knows how to mine for laughs, and the cast, which includes Harvey and Kevin Hart, make the most of the opportunities. It has its moments.

Marvelís The Avengers (PG-13) Summer must be near because Hollywood is unleashing its blockbusters, beginning with this all-star collection of Marvel superheroes -- Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. Robert Downey Jr. reprises his Iron Man role, and heís joined by Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), and Chris Evans (Captain America). The perceived risk would be too much star power on one screen, but the cast meshes perfectly and the film is lots of fun. Credit writer/director Joss Whedon. Samuel L. Jackson co-stars. Itís typical blockbuster fare Ė loud, incredible special effects, epic battles Ė but itís a blast.

Piranha 3D (R) Do we really need to tell you?

The Raven (R) We usually love John Cusack, and we figured heíd be wonderful playing Edgar Allen Poe. Actually, heís not that bad, but this bloody tale, courtesy of director James McTeigue, has the makings of a serious bomb.

Darling Companion (PG-13) Usually a movie by the director Lawrence Kasdan promises to be enjoyable and sometimes (The Big Chill, Accidental Tourist) downright brilliant. And Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline are always good, right? Wrong. This is one of those dog movies where-in the bedraggled animal gets all the good scenes and the human actors come off like plastic people. Elisabeth Moss, Dianne Weist, and Mark Duplass are among the co-stars who go down with the script.

Marley (PG-13) No, not the one with Jen and the dog. This is Kevin Macdonaldís documentary about the real Marley, the reggae music icon. It was made with the approval of his family so it is a loving portrait indeed. Add a star if you are into the spleef, mon.

The Three Stooges (PG-13) We hated these moronic idiots when we watched them as children, and we hate them anew after watching this loser courtesy of Bobby and Peter Farrelly. Sean Hayes does his best as Larry, Chris Diamantopoulos dies in the Mo role and Will Sasso gets the most obnoxious Stooge, Curley, and makes him ever dumber than he used to be. What was Jane Lynch thinking when she agreed to take the Mother Superior role? And Jennifer Hudson Ė you can sing girl; you donít need this kind of flop on your resume.

A Little Bit Of Heaven (PG-13) Ouch . . . this one hurts. Kate Hudson stars in this bomb, a romantic comedy about colon cancer. Really. Even God himself Ė as played by Whoopi Goldberg in a cameo appearance - canít save it.

The Cabin In The Woods (R ) * You think you know the plot Ė five (attractive, of course) young people go to a remote cabin in the woods for some down time and horrible things happen. But the writers, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, who also directs, have created a delicious plate of surprises for those whose tastes run bloody. Whedon, by the way, is a third generation screenwriter who created Buffy The Vampire Slayer and worked on the Toy Story script. This movie is more than a horror film Ė it takes the genre, shakes it upside down and recreates it. Donít miss this film.

Damsels In Distress (PG-13) The writer director Whit Stillman (The Last Days Of Disco, Metropolitan) has his fans, but weíre not among them. His latest finds a trio of femme fatales reinventing college life.

Greta Gerwig, Megalyn Echikunwoke and Carrie MacLemore all try their best not to over-act. They meet boys and blah blah blah. It is, frankly, a waste of time. Add a star of youíre a college freshman at a school that doesnít require particularly intelligent students.

Mirror Mirror (PG-13) A new take on Snow White, with Lily Collins in the title role and Julia Roberts as the evil queen. We prefer the traditional take on the fairy tale. Nathan Lane co-stars.

Titanic (In 3-D) James Cameronís epic classic gets a 3-D re-release for its 15th birthday, and Cameron reportedly employed state-of-the-art digital special effects this time around. If you loved it, youíll love it more.

Bully (R ) The darling of the Sundance Film Festival is destined to forever more be shown in schools all over the world. Lee Hirschís stunning documentary follows five families through the school year, including two that have lost children to suicide. Each of the kids was the target of bullies. The camera goes inside their homes, classrooms, and lives, and flushes out the physical and psychological repercussions of living life in fear.

The Deep Blue Sea (R ) A tour-de-force for Rachel Weisz, a romantic caught in a loveless marriage. Terence Davies directs this adaptation of Terence Rattiganís 1952 play by giving Weisz the ball and getting out of her way. She is indeed brilliant, but some might find the film lags a bit.

The Hunger Games (PG-13) Suzanne Collinsí wildly successful novel comes to the big screen courtesy of director Gary Ross (Big, Dave) and it is easily the most wildly anticipated movie of the year Ė tickets were selling out in advance in Manhattan. Jennifer Lawrence (Winterís Bone) gets the coveted role of Katniss Everdeen and sheís sensational. Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, and Woody Harrelson co-star. Yes, thatís rocker turned actor Lenny Kravitz you see on the screen. Itís a muted version of the novel, but nevertheless a must-see.

Jeff Who Lives At Home (R) Jay and Mark Duplass give us another quirky comedy, this one about a dork looking for the meaning of life Ė oh wait, that was what their other films were about. They have found a niche following, but weíre not among the faithful. Itís a stupid film.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (NR) A documentary about Jiro Ono, 85, the worldís greatest sushi chef. His tiny 10-seat restaurant in Tokyo is considered among the best in the world. Needless to say, meatloaf isnít on the menu. If you think itís hard to get a seat at Nick & Toniís on July Fourth, consider folks come from all over the world, booking a table months and even years in advance. Watch the film and youíll know why.

Friends With Kids (R ) Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, fresh off their Bridesmaids triumph, team up again in this vehicle courtesy of writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt, and it looks like another smash. Audiences who attended advance screening raved about the touching comedy, which explores how having children affects friendships. Critics have been effusive in their praise as well.

Let The Bullets Fly * Wen Jiangís action/comedy starring Chow Yun-Fat wowed audiences all over the world and will doubtless do so here as well. The plot, set in 1920, revolves around two mobsters in Sichuan who engage in a fierce rivalry that is not only funny but over-the-top violent. It is easily the best film released in this young year and will doubtless be one of the best youíll see in 2012.

Act Of Valor (R ) Itís been a good year for the Navy SEALs what with bin Laden and all, and Hollywood, as always, is there to hop on the gravy train and bleed it dry. Thereís been a rash of these SEAL movies, and one common thread is they all purport to be based on a true story. They arenít. They are a great vehicle for blowing the hell out of third world militants, though.

Thin Ice (R) Greg Kinnear and Lea Thompson star in this little suspense thriller from Jill Sprecher, who wrote and produced. Kinnear is a con man in frigid Wisconsin who thinks heís found the perfect sucker Ė a retired farmer played perfectly by Alan Arkin. Billy Crudup co-stars. The film has a few Fargo-like moments, but it tends to plod.

The Vow (PG-13) Oh boy Ė how many times have you seen this one: a couple falls in love, one gets in an accident and suffers amnesia, and the other has to rebuild their love from scratch. Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams are the star-crossed couple; Jessica Lange and Sam Neill co-star. Itís a snorer. Add a star if youíre brain dead.

The Secret World of Arrietty *(G) The latest from Disney Animation is a marvelous little story about a tiny 14-year-old girl, who lives in the recesses of a suburban home unbeknownst to the owners. The little girl makes rare excursions above the floorboards to gather supplies, and on one such foray, a 12 year-old boy discovers her. Her existence, and the existence of all like her, depends on him. Directors Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Gary Rydstrom have made a tender and touching film that will resonate with young and old alike.

In Darkness * (R) You may have to go to the city to catch the latest from the director Agnieszka Holland, but this film is well worth the trip. Based on a true story, In Darkness tells the tale of a sewer worker in Nazi-occupied Poland who is paid to hide a group of Jews in a labyrinth of the sewer system. It is a story of survival and much more. Donít miss it.