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Movie Reviews

Visitor
Starring: Richard Jenkins, Danai Gurira, Haaz Sleiman, Hiam Abbass Review: If I told you The Visitor reamed out our government for its shameful treatment of illegal immigrants, you?d say, ?stop preaching.? If I told you The Visitor focused on one man, a shy, sixtyish college professor who comes out of his shell, you?d say, who wants to see that? And yet The Visitor, featuring an award-caliber performance by Richard Jenkins as the prof, is a heartfelt human drama that sneaks up and floors you. In only his second film as writer and director, following his acclaimed 2003 debut with The Station Agent, Tom McCarthy is already that rare talent who can work in miniature to reveal major truths. Like his acting — you just saw him on the last season of The Wire as a Jayson Blair-like journalist — McCarthy is attuned to the nuances of behavior. Just watch... Rating: 3.5 Stars
Shine a Light
Starring: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ron Wood, Christina A... Review: If you're expecting Martin Scorsese to do a Last Waltz number on the Rolling Stones, snap out of it. No way are the Stones the departed. No way are they ready for a farewell concert like the classic 1978 elegy Scorsese did for the Band. In Shine a Light, the Stones defy you to wave them off. The music is full-out, in-your-face, viscera-twisting rock & roll. Because the film was shot in 2006 at New York's Beacon Theater at a benefit for the Clinton Foundation, you might think Scorsese had limited access. There's a dishy bit with Mick Jagger having a snit about all those distracting cameras and cranes. Scorsese doesn't budge. In fact, eighteen cameras — manned by the Oscar-winning likes of Robert Richardson, John Toll and Robert Elswit — zoom around the stage like... Rating: 3.5 Stars
Leatherheads
Starring: George Clooney, Renee Zellweger, John Krasinski, Jonathan Pryce, ... Review: He belongs to two churches — film and football — and George Clooney worships at both in Leatherheads, a scrappy debate on the rules we live by disguised as a screwball comedy. In his third shot at directing, following two savvy meditations on media and politics (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Good Night, and Good Luck), Clooney throws us a rowdy party of a movie. Or does he? Leatherheads could be subtitled We Only Kill the Things We Love. Clooney paints a vivid picture of pro football circa 1925 and the advent of the NFL, endorsements, free agency and contract money that could feed several starving countries. Clooney plays Dodge Connolly, an aging team captain who dodges growing up. He knows pro football is a joke. College football gets respect, but Dodge and... Rating: 3 Stars
Street Kings
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Hugh Laurie, Chris Evans, Forest Whitaker, Common, ... Review: Police corruption is always a juicy theme for a balls-out action flick. And here?s Keanu Reeves going all butch and trigger-happy as LAPD hardass Tom Ludlow, a hothead who bends the law with the blessing of his commanding officer, Jack Wander (Forest Whitaker, pushing way too hard). Reeves struggles mightily for the brute force that felt second nature to Russell Crowe in the great L.A. Confidential, from a novel by James Ellroy, who shares writing credit for Street Kings. Director David Ayer also labors under the shadow of the vital script he wrote for Training Day. The acting? Common and the Game score as baddies, but Hugh Laurie as an acid-tongued internal-affairs cop is disappointingly just House without the limp. Don?t get me wrong. Street Kings clips along with brutal efficiency, but... Rating: 2 Stars
Chapter 27
Starring: Jared Leto, Lindsay Lohan, Judah Friedlander, Ursula Abbott, Jean... Review: Don't hammer this film for trying to get inside the head of Mark David Chapman before he shot John Lennon outside the rock legend's New York apartment on December 8th, 1980. Hammer it instead for failing to do so with any depth or insight. It's not that Jared Leto, who gained nearly seventy pounds to play Chapman, doesn't attack the role with all he's got. It's that J.P. Schaefer's film, with Lindsay Lohan as another Lennon fan, has nothing to say. Schaefer obsesses that Chapman met Lennon while carrying a copy of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, which ends at Chapter 26. Did Chapman think of the murder as his ending to Salinger's Holden Caulfield saga? Such conjecture prompts just one response: Thanks for nothing. Rating: 1.5 Stars

 

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