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.
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.
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.
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.
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.