A Fall From Grace
In short, it’s nuts.
James Gandolfini's quietly magnificent performance as a doomed thief is the only reason to see "Violet & Daisy," a film about two young female assassins (Alexis Bledel and Saoirse Ronan) whose blank-faced sweetness is a cover for their iviolence.
Greetings! My name is Matt Zoller Seitz. I'm the new editor of RogerEbert.com.
"After Earth" is a lovely surprise, a moral tale disguised as a sci-fi blockbuster. This movie from producer-costar Will Smith and director M. Night Shyamalan, about a father and son marooned on a hostile future earth, is no classic, but it’s a special film: spectacular and wise.
"Shadow Dancer," about an IRA partisan recruited as an informant by MI5, creates a powerful mood of unease and sustains it for an hour and forty minutes. And yet for all its formal intelligence, the film is fundamentally unsatisfying. Why?
The latest from Blue Sky Studio ("Ice Age," "Rio") is different from whatever Pixar/Disney or any other big animation outfit happens to be offering this year, but not so different that you should kick yourself for skipping it.
Less a classic "Star Trek" adventure than a Star Trek-flavored action flick, shot in the frenzied, handheld, cut-cut-cut style that’s become Hollywood’s norm, director J.J. Abrams’ latest could have been titled "The Bourne Federation."
Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of "The Great Gatsby" isn't a disaster. Every frame is sincere. Its miscalculations come from a wish to avoid embalming a classic novel in "respectfulness" — a worthy goal, in theory. It boasts the third most imaginative use of 3D I've seen recently, after "U2 3D" and "Hugo." It's a technological and aesthetic lab that has four or five experiments cooking in each scene. Even when the movie's not working, its style fascinates. That "not working" part is a deal breaker, though — and it has little to do with Luhrmann's stylistic gambits, and everything to do with his inability to reconcile them with an urge to play things straight.
Shane Black, who made his bones writing "Lethal Weapon," "The Last Boy Scout" and other crash-and-burn action films, was the perfect person to take on "Iron Man 3," and not just because he worked with the franchise's star Robert Downey, Jr., on 2005's "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang." The new film's not great, but it's consistently involving because the tonal shifts are so abrupt. One minute it seems to care a great deal about what's happening, the next it's sneering at the notion that anyone could care about anything that happens in a movie.
"Everybody Has a Plan" is a pretty good existential crime thriller set in a snake-infested jungle swampland of Argentina. Its relaxed air of menace, and occasional bursts of violence hold one's attention even when the plot falters, which is often. Its chief virtue is its lead performance, in which twin brothers are played by a promising new Argentinian actor named Viggo Mortensen.