Adapted and extrapolated from Henry James' novel of the same name, What Maisie Knew is a film that puts the audience right in the title character's world -- and forces it to experience it the way she does.
Though a bit literal for a film that traffics in magical realism, Deepa Mehta's Midnight's Children is both dreamy and dramatic, a fascinating view of Indian history seen through the prism of a personal -- and occasionally twinned -- story.
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 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.
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.
Ostensibly a documentary, it's meant as an eye-opening deconstruction of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. Director Rodney Ascher lets a group of obsessives spout off about their theories of what Kubrick really meant. The only thing they don't suggest is that Kubrick is talking to them over the radio.
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 Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a movie for 8-year-olds who haven't seen a lot of movies and provide fresh eyes for its tired gags. Anyone older will see every punchline coming long before it arrives.
It's populated with characters who seem to have no interior life -- only a devotion to the pursuit of sensation via the eternal party. And, in his own oblique way, Korine offers commentary about just how empty that world is.
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.
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.