Almost a miniature genre, the factually challenged but dramatically winning moment-in-history drama comes in Chilean form this week.
The film is called “No,” and like “Argo,” “Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” this Oscar nominee depicts the strategies and dramatizes the execution of a mission of historical importance. The results are intelligent, entertaining and, credibility imperfections notwithstanding, nicely edifying. Read More
While spooky fairy tales once were intended to entertain and teach children life lessons, thanks to a current cinematic trend, they have become big, loud, explosive and curiously innocuous.
The new “Jack the Giant Slayer” is like a giant itself — dull, slow-moving and slow-witted.
Packed with rampaging special effects, it mostly forgoes simple themes in the 200-year-old “Jack and the Beanstalk” story. Read More
Notable among the 180 films from 40 countries screening in San Jose at Cinequest Film Festival 23 is the world premiere of director Thomas Farone’s “Aftermath” starring the late Chris Penn — it was the last film Penn made before he died in 2006. Read More
Presenter Jack Nicholson with producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov and actor-producer-director Ben Affleck, winners of the Best Picture award for "Argo."
A Mexican-American boy processes his spiritual and earthier experiences into a vivid childhood, guided by his medicine-woman mentor, in “Bless Me, Ultima,” a magical-realist drama based on Rudolfo Anaya’s popular novel.
Directed and adapted by Carl Franklin, the film is a coming-of-age tale, a mentor-pupil story and a supernatural village-life adventure set in a distinctive place and time. In all of these arenas, it is too colorful to fizzle but not compelling enough to triumph dramatically. Read More
In the underrated “Faster,” Dwayne Johnson — the wrestler also known as “The Rock” — showed that a rock could cry. He played a morally complex character painted in shades of gray and pulled it off nicely.
In the new “Snitch,” he tries for a similarly layered hero and proves he’s no fluke. But he also proves that every good performer and every good story needs an equally good director. Ric Roman Waugh, a former stuntman on “Lethal Weapon 2,” the original “Total Recall” and “Gone in 60 Seconds,” isn’t quite it. Read More
Weirdly, this year’s Oscar nominees involve snubs in nearly every category, and films, mostly of a certain type, driven by successful marketing campaigns.
Why can’t the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences admit that blockbusters such as “Skyfall,” “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Avengers,” and comedies including “Bernie” and “Moonrise Kingdom,” were among 2012’s best of the year rather than so-called important dramas?
Still, many good films may win. Here are our predictions and picks in major categories.
BEST PICTURE Read More
Be forewarned: Mike Tyson wants to show off his sensitive side.
“Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth” hits the Orpheum Theatre for three nights beginning Feb. 28. The one-man show chronicles the 46-year-old former undisputed heavyweight-boxing champion’s headline-filled life, from his rise to fame in and out of the boxing ring since the 1980s to his lesser-known personal transformations.
Director Spike Lee has called the outing a tale of “redemption.” Read More
Director Roman Coppola doesn’t deny that his second feature film, “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III,” is a personal movie that may not have mainstream appeal. The film, which opens today, is a kind of comical, hallucinogenic dreamscape about a 1970s-era artist (Charlie Sheen) who designs record covers and is suffering as a result of a terrible breakup.Recently in town to promote the movie, Coppola, who went through a bad breakup himself “many years ago,” says he tried to capture the specific state of mind of someone in such turmoil. Read More
It’s that time again — the “Up” series is back — and both the kids and the series are going strong. The latest installment, “56 Up,” is another worthy addition to this documentary catalog that illustrates the modern human experience through the stories of 13 Brits who, every seven years, share their lives in front of the movie camera.Falling somewhere between anthropology and melodrama, the “Up” series began in 1964 with “7 Up,” a TV experiment designed to assess the impact of class on British schoolkids. Fourteen 7-year-old children were interviewed. Read More