Going the Distance is a surprisingly funny movie. It's not great - not by a long shot. But it made me laugh on a much more regular basis than I expected. And that's not something I can discount easily.
It seems like a weirdly cross-cultural idea: Chinese master Zhang Yimou does a remake of the Coen brothers' debut film, Blood Simple. If the film lacks the dryly mordant Coen wit, it offers other pleasures -- but also some problems.
The American is not an audience movie in the generally recognized sense of the term. Instead, it's an art film. Anyone who goes in expecting it to be in any way a typical Hollywood product will be sorely disappointed.
August is a dumping ground for movies, a time when the multiplexes are flooded with leftover product, as opposed to films. Still, occasionally, a gem sneaks in -- a movie that someone has underestimated. Takers is not that film.
Mention The Godfather or Scarface or Goodfellas -- it doesn't matter which American gangster epic you reference, chances are Jean-Francois Richet's pair of Mesrine films stack up pretty well by comparison.
I'm sure that Tales from Earthsea, taken from the science-fiction writing of Ursula LeGuin, will entertain undiscriminating young viewers and will probably thrill anime lovers. It left me bored and impatient.
Alice Creed is a wonderfully tense exercise in the mathematics of three -- how many different alliances, betrayals and conflicts can you extrapolate out of a gritty crime story with only three characters?
It's disappointing that Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel isn't a better movie. Not that it's a bad one. But, were cable standards a little less skittish, it would fit right in on the Biography channel.