Monday, September 26, 2011

'Moneyball' is Major League

In case you hadn't heard, Bennett Miller's baseball drama, "Moneyball," is a solid baseball film for people who do not like sports movies.

In fact, the picture bears more resemblance to David Fincher's "The Social Network" than to any of the numerous baseball pictures from the past several decades. It's a solid film.

Needless to say, I'm not so excited about "Abduction," a wooden action thriller that stars Taylor Lautner as the son of some sort of super spy. The film was directed by John Singleton, who obviously was looking to cash in on the "Twilight" star's popularity. 

My favorite part of the film is at the end when several of the cast members, assembled in a parking lot, pretty much shrug their shoulders and all walk off. 

Check out my reviews here.

This coming weekend, I'll check out "Take Shelter" and "Dream House." If I've got time, I'll squeeze in "50/50" or Kenneth Lonergan's "Margaret." 

Monday, September 19, 2011

There's a Man Going 'Round Taking Names: 'Drive' and 'Straw Dogs'

Needless to say, I was pretty floored by Nicolas Winding Refn's stylish crime thriller "Drive" and I'm now determined to finally catch up with his "Pusher" trilogy and "Fear X."

Ryan Gosling nails it and the picture's entire supporting cast is just as good. I'd be willing to be Refn makes big transcontinental waves with both this film and some future endeavors.

I also caught up with Rod Lurie's remake of "Straw Dogs," this weekend's other film about men behaving violently. I'll give Lurie credit for even thinking to remake Peckinpah's 1971 classic. That being sad, it's a hit or miss affair. The update's ending is still pretty visceral. I'd almost recommend seeing it.

Gus Van Sant's "Restless" was my third pick to see over the weekend. And while it's certainly not among the director's best, it grows on you as it moves along. The film is visually lovely and some chemistry develops between its leads. It's not a bad film by any means - just not one of Van Sant's best films about the world of teens.

Check out my reviews here.

This coming weekend, I'll be seeing "Moneyball," but will also try to catch up with Kevin Smith's "Red State."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekly Cinema Wrapup: Communicable, God Fearing Edition

It was my vow to post this week's reviews earlier than I've done in the past few weeks. Between Hurricane Irene and 9/11 coverage, it's been a bit of a doozy.

So, here are my Patch reviews for this week.

It was a solid kickoff to the fall movie season. Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion" was a disturbingly realistic portrayal of what might happen should the world be plagued by an airborne communicable disease.

Much like "Traffic," Soderbergh's new film follows a group of characters at the epicenter of an event. In this case, they are a detective for the World Health Organization, a muckety muck in the Centers for Disease Control, a woman infected with the disease and her husband, a blogger who uses fear generated by the virus for his own purposes and several doctors either in the field or seeking a cure.

It's an atmospherically chilly, but consistently riveting thriller.

One of the better directorial debuts of the year belongs to actress Vera Farmiga, whose "Higher Ground" is a thoughtful, engrossing take on the evangelical Christian movement.

The movie is neither pro-religion nor anti-faith. Rather, much like Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life," it's a film in awe of the mysterious nature of faith. Its characters seek spirituality, even when it fails to come naturally.

This coming week is going to be a busy one at the movies. First, I'll be checking out Nicolas Winding Refn's acclaimed "Drive," which won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival.

I'll also see "Restless," another Cannes 2011 alumni. That picture is a teen romance directed by Gus Van Sant. And, I'll most likely make some time for Rod Lurie's remake of "Straw Dogs."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Department of Late Postings: 'The Debt,' 'Apollo 18' and 'Shark Night'

It's been a bit hectic and posting has been light.

But I really should get these links to my Patch reviews up quicker. It'll be my fall resolution.

This week's selections included "The Debt," which had its moments but did not completely work for me.

I also caught up with two horror films - "Apollo 18" and "Shark Night 3D." Neither was great, but not as bad as some other recent examples of the genre.

I also saw "Colombiana," which is not reviewed in this week's post. It's an amusingly preposterous thriller that holds up for much of its running time.

Here are the reviews.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, take a look at my interview with Michael Arad, who designed the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero.

And check back in Monday - I promise, Monday! - for a review of "Contagion" and possibly something else. "Higher Ground," perhaps?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fall Movie Preview

Check out my preview for Patch of 50 new films opening this fall as well as my belated posting of last week's review of "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," an average haunted house picture.

This week, I'm going to review "The Debt," about which I had mixed feelings," as well as "Apollo 18" and "Shark Night 3D."

Next week kicks off the fall movie season with Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion." So, be sure to check back for reviews the season's biggest movies.