He is the star of some of cinema’s greatest films, including Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal” and “The Virgin Spring,” not to mention “The Exorcist.” (His favorite: the 1987 father-and-son drama “Pelle the Conqueror,” which brought him his only Oscar nomination).
Yet Max von Sydow, 82, whose credits represent a virtual compendium of movie history, wasn’t above lending his famously sonorous rumble to last year’s hottest video game, “The Elder Scrolls V.” Read More
It sounds like a textbook recipe for Oscar gold, and indeed, “The Iron Lady,” Phyllida Lloyd’s portrait of steely former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, features a predictably excellent performance at its center.
When nominations for the 84th Academy Awards are announced Jan. 24, it would be stunning if Meryl Streep’s name were not called. Read More
There is no doubting Angelina Jolie’s ambition. Her well-publicized humanitarianism — of which “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” her directing debut, seems a natural extension — is equally impressive, yet has left a target on her back.
Note the exuberance with which some have dismissed as a vanity project this wartime drama, which doubles as a sobering meditation on gender politics.
The movie, from Jolie’s original screenplay, deserves better. Read More
Dismiss it as slick, tear-jerking schmaltz if you must, but “War Horse” is a rousing achievement, a bold, strikingly cinematic spectacle inspired by the Tony Award-winning theatrical adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 children’s book. In the play, Joey, a rambunctious steed bought to serve the British army during World War I, is a puppet, manipulated by actors to convey his grace and fiery soul. Read More
If movies have taught us anything, it's that long-distance relationships rarely work. Making "The Adventures of Tintin," the swashbuckling caper vividly adapted from Belgian artist Hergé's popular comics, Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson defied that conventional wisdom.It was in 1983, long before Spielberg met New Zealand's resident "Rings"-master, that the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" director resolved to bring Tintin, a fearless adventurer of indeterminate age, to the screen. Read More
If anyone doubted that Pixar’s Brad Bird (“The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille”) could bring his storytelling gifts to a live-action battleship the size of “Mission: Impossible,” rest assured. Following in the formidable footsteps of Brian De Palma, John Woo and J.J. Abrams, Bird has added a potent entry to a series that has suffered nary a misstep to date.Revisionists have made a sport of dismissing past “Mission” sequels, just as surely as Tom Cruise’s star power has been questioned in recent years by the tabloids. Read More
What’s in a name? A lot, if you ask Cameron Crowe, who co-wrote and directed “Jerry Maguire,” “Almost Famous” and the disarmingly uplifting family drama “We Bought a Zoo,” opening Friday. “It’s important to have a name that’s fun to say,” says Crowe, 54. “You think about buddies you went to high school with, and when you say their names it evokes a time and a feeling, and that’s how you want your characters to be.” Read More
Already mourning the loss of best mate Dr. Watson (Jude Law), whose impending nuptials at least provide an excuse to throw a spectacularly bruising stag party, a newly single Sherlock Holmes would seem to be wanting for playmates. What’s a punch-drunk, giddily androgynous supersleuth to do? Read More
Robert Downey Jr. never hesitated to slip back into the shoes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s meticulously methodical, impeccably perceptive detective in “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” opening Friday. The only question, really, was whether he’d be wearing traditional leather loafers or high heels. Read More
On Sunday, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle honored Gary Oldman with its annual Best Actor award for his understated performance as George Smiley, a retired British intelligence operative pressed back into action to hunt a Soviet mole, in Tomas Alfredson’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”Whether the prize turns out to be his first of many before February’s Oscars, or merely one to savor briefly before turning the page — and bracing himself for the publicity maelstrom sure to surround next summer’s “The Dark Knight Rises” — Oldman isn’t terribly concerned. Read More
Has David Cronenberg mellowed? The so-called “King of Venereal Horror,” renowned (and, in some circles, feared) for his unflinching explorations of humanity at its most grotesque — in offbeat classics like “Scanners,” “The Fly” and “Dead Ringers” — unveils his most accessible drama to date with “A Dangerous Method,” opening Friday. Read More
When Jason Reitman asked him to play Buddy, a happily married alpha male whose high-school sweetheart tries to rekindle the flame just after the birth of his first child, Patrick Wilson knew he had to say yes.
He also knew there were two ways to play the part, neither of which would be endearing to audiences. He could portray Buddy, in the new comedy “Young Adult,” as totally unassuming, clueless about his gorgeous ex’s transparent advances, or as an egotist who feeds off her attentions without any intention of acting on them. Read More
The New York of Steve McQueen’s “Shame” is not the awe-inspiring world of skyscrapers, neon lights and teeming humanity so often romanticized on the screen. It’s a city that never sleeps, no doubt, but its insomnia is more a curse than a blessing, leaving its dazed inhabitants sunk in depths of depravity. Read More
Paddy Considine, whose 12-year career in film began with a bruising performance in Shane Meadows’ 1999 coming-of-age drama “A Room for Romeo Brass,” has spent enough time on movie sets to recognize promise.
And so he did with “Tyrannosaur,” his directorial feature debut about a widower hopelessly consumed by rage.
Considine, 37, is satisfied with the script he wrote in little more than a week, inspired by his 2007 short “Dog Altogether.” He even loves the movie poster. But he had misgivings about the title. Read More
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, SpyThe Cold Warriors: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, Mark StrongCalling the shots: “Let the Right One In” director Tomas AlfredsonThe skinny: Adapted once before into a seven-part BBC miniseries starring Alec Guinness, John le Carré’s 1974 spy novel arrives on the big screen featuring Oldman as George Smiley, the British intelligence operative recalled from retirement to hunt down a Soviet mole. Rated R
Opens Dec. 16 Read More