It's a tale of two childhoods: Bruce Wayne, the rich son of justice born in a mansion, and Bane, the poor son of savagery born in the bowels of an underground prison. Wayne and Bane, Bane and Wayne. Call it a nursery rhyme of destinies with one harsh truth: anything Wayne can do, Bane can do better. Batman—the very image of darkness, mystery and strength—has now met a villain who literally grew up in the shadows, uses a mask to survive, and can deck Batman with a punch. Their showdown is a battle between two immovable forces, which makes director Christopher Nolan's trilogy capper revert from the careening mayhem of The Dark Knight back to the gloom of Batman Begins. Expect audience affection to do the same.Read more
Though wretchedly bad, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs was a smash, grossing $886.6 million around the globe. In some countries, it was the highest-grossing film since Titanic, while in other territories it became the highest-grossing animated film to date. Quality evidently not being a concern, Ice Age: Continental Drift is nonetheless a slight improvement over its predecessor. Manny the mammoth (the ever-phlegmatic Ray Romano) is having family problems with rebellious daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer), who in her teenage years is hanging out with the cool kids despite dad's disapproval. In his ongoing quest for an ever-elusive acorn, Scrat the squirrel (Chris Wedge) sets the earth's core in motion, prompting the breakup of Pangea into continents.Read more
The kinetic first hour gets off to a rousing start with con Jorge (Matias Padin Varela) mounting an improbably successful jailbreak, demonstrating why director Daniel Espinosa was invited to Hollywood to direct Safe House. But as the players and complications pile up, the old lesson that Crimes Doesn't Pay is enervating as ever. While the "Martin Scorsese Presents" credit and the presence of The Killing's Joel Kinnaman might draw some audiences, crossover success is unlikely.
The well-organized pre-credits sequence begins with Jorge and cross cuts without explanation to set up the other players, notably Serbian gang member Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic), his rival and associates. Introduced dead last in a brief shot before the title card is university student J.W.
From her breakthrough hit, "I Kissed A Girl," to her unprecedented feat of being the first female solo artist with five #1 singles from the same album, Katy Perry has spun success from a sleek air of earnest fakery. She winks about being dumb while having fun acting like an overgrown sexy kid. This 3D tour documentary Katy Perry: Part of Me slightly pulls back the curtain—there are unguarded tears regarding the breakup of her marriage to comedian Russell Brand—while further burnishing her wholesomely voluptuous image, wide-eyed and low-cut. Created by the same prod...Read more
Rob Reiner has become a softie in his later years. Following up his criminally underrated coming of age period piece, Flipped with what the ad line labels "a re-coming of age" story, Reiner has crafted the perfect summer film in The Magic Of Belle Isle. No, not one with a lot of noise and battles and comic book heroes, but rather a wonderfully laid back family story set around a gorgeous lake, about the everyday problems of real people from 7 to 70. Not exactly the recipe for a blockbuster, this melancholy look at an aging writer (Morgan Freeman) who finds renewed inspiration after taking a cabin for the summer is one of Reiner's best.Read more
Andrea Arnold's newest testament to passion and squalor strikes a tone somewhere between Cary Fukinaga's emo Jane Eyre and Sophia Coppola's revisionist-hip Marie Antoinette. This Wuthering Heights trades the costumes and customs of a conventional period piece for fleeting sensory experiences. Arnold is less interested in the anthropology of teacups and collars than in the wonder and magnetism Emily Brontë's book. Most will get hung up on the inspired casting of James Howson as Heathcliff; Howson is revelatory and his race is as much a testament to Arnold's class-consciousness as it is a smooth justification for later plot shadings.Read more
Beyond the Black Rainbow is the kind of movie whose cool-looking trailer entices you to midnight screenings, but the film will bore you so profoundly you'll fall asleep halfway and wake up disoriented during the closing credits. First-time writer-director Panos Cosmatos has stretched an '80s music video into an elegantly nightmarish but soporific feature film with only enough story for two and a half minutes of tape. The film's mixed reviews, limited distribution and artsy-fartsy atmospherics will hamper ticket sales, but its minimalist Bowie-chic will ensure a long afterlife as a minor cult classic.Read more