If it's true that movies can transport you to places you could hardly have imagined, then Resident Evil: Retribution is the cinema's ultimate passport to purgatory. As an action film in the conventional sense, the fifth installment of the Resident Evil franchise (ostensibly derived from the videogame series of the same name) is a mind-boggling mess of mutated cool, a nü-metal orgy of oozing brains and leather busts that's held together by one-liners and centrifugal force. In a vacuum, Retribution sucks almost as hard as its post-apocalyptic predecessors, edging ahead on the strength of Paul W.S. Anderson's evolving eye for design and deteriorating patience for logic.Read more
Think of all the bad things that can befall a 13-year-old girl: her favorite grandparent dies, her parents get divorced, she's picked on at school, the boy she likes has some major issues. In the new Taiwanese film Starry Starry Night, adapted from a comic book of the same name by Jimmy Liao, these familiar plagues of adolescence afflict Mei (Josie Xu) all at once. Though rife with clichés, Starry Starry Night has just enough nostalgic melancholy and quiet whimsy to make its coming-of-age narrative and elegy to childhood emotionally and visually compelling. A convincing take...Read more
At the center of Finding Nemo is one big lie: it's impossible for a clown fish to be a single dad. Once mom is eaten by a barracuda, the species' slippery sexual identity would make pops transform from a male to a female. Now that I'd like to see in 3D. But if Disney isn't prepared to explode gender boundaries in the third dimension, at least they're offering this masterfully done 3D re-release of their second biggest hit. Last September, The Lion King 3D rounded up an extra $94 million at the box office. Four months later, Beauty and the Beast 3D made just half of that. If audiences haven't soured on Disney revamping their old classics, they'll make Finding Nemo 3D—the best-looking of the bunch—the biggest hit of all.Read more
In this very strange passion project, Keanu Reeves goes around and interviews a bunch of his famous friends/collaborators about movies' transition from celluloid grain to digital pixels. The title promises a compare/contrast, even-handed assessment, but Side By Side is basically an industry-friendly tract about the wonderful things Hollywood has in store. Lots of people speak about the wonders of digital, only to be occasionally interrupted by a dour Christopher Nolan playing the role of unreasonable Luddite. Pedestrian helming of a niche-market concern guarantees low returns.
Certainly there's novelty value in watching Keanu—in various of facial hair growth, occasionally beanie-clad—asking, say, David Lynch to clarify whether he's done with film.
If there was any doubt Ben Affleck has turned into an exceptional director, his wildly entertaining, pulse-pounding thriller Argo will handily erase those thoughts. The incredibly true story of a CIA operative who hatches a plan to create a fake Hollywood movie in order to smuggle six American hostages out of Tehran during the 444-day Iranian crisis in 1979 will not only be a strong commercial success for Warner Bros, but also a solid contender on the awards circuit. This certain Best Picture contender proves to be a prime example of accomplished major studio filmmaking, and also a smart, crafty suspense-laden picture that should win critical plaudits across the board.Read more
A strong cast is undone by strident shenanigans in Bachelorette, a girls-gone-wild saga cast in a Bridesmaids mold. For a time, Leslye Headland's adaptation of her stage play thrives on the profanity and vulgarity that defines the misadventures of Regan (Kristen Dunst), Gena (Lizzy Caplan) and Katie (Isla Fisher) on the bachelorette party night before they stand as bridesmaids for heavyset high school friend Becky (Rebel Wilson). Their odyssey involves strippers, cocaine, blood, vomit and other bodily fluids, not to mention matrimonial crises and races-against-time that keep the pace consistently wired, with the script's whiplash narrative embellished by repartee that strives for maximum dirtiness.Read more
In 2044, Kansas looks like Detroit. Tent cities have taken hold under the highways, men are murdered for stealing a stereo, and one deceptively casual criminal overlord (Jeff Daniels) controls everything—particularly the Loopers, punctual assassins who cruise around this urban warzone in shiny sports cars, wearing their hair slicked-back like '50s French movie stars. Like all Loopers, Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has one job: at a specific time measured down to the second, he'll shoot a hooded man who appears literally out of the air. Or more literally, out of the year 2074. After all, the best way to get rid of a man is to time-travel him back three decades and blow off his head before he pisses you off.Read more