Initially seeming like a comedy about the vicarious voyeurism of a literature teacher at a Paris high school, it casually transforms itself into something else: a psychological thriller of sorts, in which what is real is never quite clear and never particularly important.
In the film about Jackie Robinson's first year in the majors, Chapman shows up spitting one racial epithet after another from in front of the Phillies' dugout at Ebbets Field, a monologue of bitter bigotry that left Tudyk feeling slightly hungover after each day of filming.
Chanoch Ze'evi's documentary, Hitler's Children, tracks down survivors of the top command of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. What they've made of the world is unique from person to person and raises questions in the viewer, as well.
You know what an audience-friendly film is. It tells a story that engages you about characters you can like and root for. Yet those films -- movies that seek to tell a story that uplifts or inspires -- often get short shrift from critics for that reason alone.
In telling Robinson's story, Helgeland doesn't dwell on the endless barrage of racist bile that Robinson (and his wife) endured, but he doesn't shy from it either. As a result, Robinson's achievement takes on more meaning and more power.
If Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life was too much the dialogue-driven, story-heavy film for your liking, you'll probably be more in the mood for his latest, To the Wonder, which features Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko in its cast.
To say that Evil Dead is a film for a specific audience is an understatement. If things like dismemberment and self-mutilation make you queasy -- as they would any normal person -- then you probably shouldn't even visit the same multiplex where this film is showing.
This is a film that challenges the audience to plug into the story and stick with it. But if you do, it pays off with a portrait of a manipulative, dark character, one who continually surprises the viewer with his choices.
Andrew Niccol's film of The Host starts so well that, when it suddenly slows to a crawl 20 minutes later, your impulse is to give it some slack -- to let it find its feet and get back on track.
Unfortunately, it never does.
At this point in movie history, the Hollywood studios are to movies what McDonald's is to cuisine: a factory producing products that are nearly identical in their lack of depth, quality or concern for the viewing audience's intellect.
A second-rate Die Hard knock-off with Gerard Butler playing the Bruce Willis role, Olympus Has Fallen is preposterously overblown, an action movie that seems to prove the old saying: If brains were gunpowder, this movie wouldn't have enough to blow its own nose.
A blend of archival footage and recreations of the cave and these people in their younger days, No Place on Earth is both a reminder of a horrifying period in history and a primer on the resilience and determination of which human beings are capable.
The darling of the Australian Academy Awards and a hit on the festival circuit, The Sapphires is that pure treat: an aggressively entertaining movie about the struggle, uplift, romance and joy of music.