In the 1980s, there was no shortage of Hollywood he-men, guys who regularly toppled small armies and rescued whoever seemed worthy of rescuing. Stallone. Schwarzenegger. Seagal. Those names are synonymous with action, not necessarily acting.Times have changed. The muscle-bound enforcers of yesteryear have given way to caped crusaders and masked mutants, and the actors who play them are plausible Oscar hopefuls — Robert Downey Jr., Edward Norton and the like. Yet here, as if to prove there is still room for an old-fashioned big-screen brawler, stands Jason Statham. Read More
Sir Anthony Hopkins didn’t want to star in a “spinning heads” movie, much less slip into another creepy villain role so soon after last year’s “The Wolfman.” Read More
Can the true story of a wasted life make a great, or even good, movie? “Barney’s Version” makes an impressive effort to accomplish that, but it falls short of a difficult and possibly unwise goal.
Even with the late Mordecai Richler’s outstanding writing about the “wasted life” of somebody very much like the author himself, and a star-studded cast, something is missing where the film’s gravitas and heart should be. Read More
Released and restored after a decades-long shelving, “Nuremberg” was made during the denazification period to serve as an official account of Nazi atrocities and of the landmark trial where chief Nazi perpetrators were judged and sentenced.
Originally shown only in postwar Germany, this 1948 documentary still makes a weighty, stirring impression.
A product of both artistic and governmental design, the film was written and directed by Stuart Schulberg, who worked with the Office of Strategic Services’ John Ford-headed Field Photographic Branch. Read More
With simultaneous premieres today in India and the U.S., “Mumbai Diaries” (“Dhobi Ghat”) is screening at the Balboa Theater in The City.
Gary Meyer, owner of the Balboa and co-director of the Telluride Film Festival, made special efforts to secure the film — originally scheduled only in specialized theaters catering to Indian audiences — for his venue. Read More
There was a time, in the 1970s, when stories of middle-class alienation and dreamers struggling to get ahead were invariably set in New York. Lately, such accounts of white- and blue-collar angst have moved 200 miles up I-95 to the Boston suburbs, where the fight to survive isn’t exclusively the domain of street hustlers and last-chance athletes. Read More
As much as death looms as the inescapable reality in all our lives, few would care to learn of their imminent passing, much less confront its approach at the movies.
Yet for Mexico’s Alejandro González Iñárritu, best known for the Oscar-nominated dramas “Amores Perros” (2001) and “Babel” (2007), it was that commonly evaded consciousness of mortality that inspired his latest offering, “Biutiful.” Read More
Gustav Mahler’s music is exciting and beautiful, but also filled with angst and neuroticism. The dark spirits contribute to the works’ unique value and appeal, but were hard on the composer himself. To deal with tragedy and psychological problems, he turned to a Vienna neighbor, the granddaddy of psychoanalysis.That Mahler was treated by Sigmund Freud is a historic fact and the subject of a new film, “Mahler on the Couch” — which opens German Gems, a festival of new films from Germany, Austria and Switzerland opening at 7 p.m. Friday at the Castro Theatre. Read More
The best of intentions cannot rescue a relationship that has run its course — a lesson learned through tears, small explosions and passionless embraces by Dean and Cindy, a young married couple watching the embers of their romance burn out in “Blue Valentine.”As is often the case in a union soured by time and subtle estrangements, neither husband nor wife seems eager to admit that their marriage has been reduced to a tenuous living arrangement, maintained mostly for the benefit of their 6-year-old daughter, Frankie (Faith Wladyka). Read More
Although the daily experiences of its central subject may sound plucked from a potboiler, “Bhutto” is an earnest, informative and intricately researched documentary about the life and history-making career of Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in 2007 while campaigning in Pakistan. While too conventionally made and sympathetically toned to constitute a knockout or revelatory portrait of the mold-breaking but tainted former prime minister, the film is a high-caliber, tidbit-rich, gripping combination of family saga, celebrity profile, political thriller and Pakistani-history lesson. Read More