Emperor doesn't reimagine history so much as use it as the jumping-off point for a fictional historical romance set against the backdrop of impending war, when everything seems more vital and in-the-moment. Except for this sometimes plodding film.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but as someone who was working as a rock critic for the first decade and a half of Journey's existence, I always regarded them as unexplainably popular, an at-best thoroughly mediocre hit-making machine.
James Franco, the Energizer bunny of actors, plays Oscar Diggs, a small-time magician in a second-rate traveling circus first seen doing his show to a small crowd in the black-and-white Kansas of the early 20th Century.
Though Ray Winstone has been a TV star in Great Britain since the mid-1970s, a lot of Americans got their first sighting of the beefy British actor with Gary Oldman's 1997's Nil By Mouth or 2000's Sexy Beast.
Chan-wook Park's Stoker is audaciously, in-your-face creepy and exhilarating in a way few films have been since David Lynch's Blue Velvet. Because it's not just the creepiness -- but the way Park gets you involved in his world so that you can't look away.
Getting a movie made is an Olympian task. Getting a movie made and released is even tougher. So Alex Karpovsky's accomplishment -- writing, directing and starring in two movies that are being released the same day as a double-feature -- seems positively Herculean.
There are a lot of things that are popular and commercial, but aren't very good. Or are just good enough. Consider Justin Bieber: It's not that the kid isn't talented; it's that he's only just talented enough.
According to box-office pundits, A Good Day to Die Hard will be the big box-office winner this holiday weekend. If the predictions hold true, this film confirms the conventional wisdom: People want what's familiar, no matter how hackneyed and repetitive.
Cheap, amateurish and sometimes just plain hard to watch, Beasts enjoyed a wave of overwrought critical hosannas, going all the way back to when the film first was shown more than a year ago at the Sundance Film Festival.
Shortland's film has an occasionally detached, whispery quality, as the camera focuses on the nature around Lore and her group. These Malick-like moments take us out of the story, for better or worse, depending on your point of view.
Dear Steven Soderbergh: Please don't stop making movies. Your name is high on the list of filmmakers whose careers I'm thankful have coincided with my career as a movie critic. And Side Effects is further proof that you are at the height of your powers as a filmmaker.
I lost count of the number of noggins that were perforated by hot lead in Bullet to the Head, but it was more than a dozen. Henchman apparently is a particularly dangerous job description, at least in this movie.