Opening: 01/08/10

* BLIND RECOMMENDATION OF THE WEEK *

'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnussus'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnussus
Terry Gilliam. Action / adventure / science fiction / fantasy. Good word from reliable critics (i.e. people I know). I’m going. Tell a friend. Popcorn optional.

Theaters: Angelika Dallas, AMC Stonebriar, AMC Grapevine, AMC Parks at Arlington, AMC Grand 24, AMC Firewheel, AMC Mesquite 30, AMC Valley View, Cinemark West (Plano), Cinemark 17 (Webb Chapel), Cinemark 24 (Plano).

* CRITIC’S CHOICE *

Broken Embraces
Pedro Almodovar’s mesmerizing melodrama brims over with bittersweet, tragic romance. Penelope Cruz is scary good.

(Opens at Ft. Worth Modern Art; continues at Landmark Magnolia and Angelika Plano.)

* REPERTORY *

Gremlins
Joe Dante’s joyful ride makes a nightmare scenario nothing but nutty fun. With Phoebe Cates at her career best, explaining why she doesn’t celebrate Christmas. Midnight Madness at the Inwood Theatre in Dallas.

* OPENING WIDE *

Leap Year
Creaky, entirely predictable comedy – and not in a good way. Amy Adams salvages several scenes, but otherwise entirely missable.

Other releases, not previewed: Daybreakers (vampires), Youth in Revolt (teens).  See Now Playing for other films in current release.

Now Playing: 01/08/10

Check Dallas showtimes (via Google).

Armored
Smart, tight thriller from Nimrod Antal (the great Kontroll) squeezes an old formula for highly-coiled tension. –> Read full review.

'Avatar'Avatar
James Cameron’s ambitious, atmospheric adventure looks splendid visually; if only the story measured up dramatically.

The Blind Side
The emotions are earned honestly, and Sandra Bullock delivers an affecting portrayal of a self-aware woman of substance.

Broken Embraces
Pedro Almodovar’s mesmerizing melodrama brims over with bittersweet, tragic romance. Penelope Cruz is scary good.

Crazy Heart
Jeff Bridges is a convincing, pitiable wreck grasping at his last straw, elevating the wearily familiar material.

Invictus
Clint Eastwood has made the best film of the year … about rugby. (Review at Cinematical.)

It’s Complicated
Alec Baldwin is genius, Meryl Streep is all tics and Steve Martin disappears in Nancy Meyers’ soggy romantic fantasy.

'Ninja AssassinNinja Assassin
Totally ridiculous and incredibly bloody, thanks in part to CGI and in part to a wicked sense of play.

Sherlock Holmes
Oddly uneven and forced, as Guy Ritchie struggles with the scope and tone. Robert Downey Jr. is amusing as always.

Up in the Air
Oppressively traditional, Jason Reitman’s character drama is intent on discovery through self-flaggellation.

Opening: 01/01/10

'The African Queen'No new releases, as distributors take a rare week off, presenting a fine opportunity to catch up with one of our recommended choices. Personally, I expect to spend the weekend fine-tuning the site and adding content, or else I might spend a day at the Angelika Dallas.

Two repertory films of note tonight:

The African Queen. Bogie and Hepburn in John Huston’s rousing, if distractingly sentimental, adventure. 7:30 p.m. at the Palace in Grapevine.

Purple Rain. Celebrate the new year by smirking at the 80s as Prince sings and dances his way into your heart, and Apollonia risks catching a cold by taking a quick topless dip in a bone-chilling lake. Midnight Madness at the Inwood Theatre in Dallas.

* CRITIC’S CHOICES *

Armored. Smart, tight thriller from Nimrod Antal (the great Kontroll) squeezes an old formula for highly-coiled tension.  –> Read full review. (Check showtimes.)

Broken Embraces. Pedro Almodovar’s mesmerizing melodrama brims over with bittersweet, tragic romance. Penelope Cruz is scary good. (Landmark Magnolia and Angelika Plano; check showtimes.)

Now Playing: 01/01/10

Check Dallas showtimes (via Google).

Avatar
James Cameron’s ambitious, atmospheric adventure looks splendid visually; if only the story measured up dramatically.

The Blind Side
The emotions are earned honestly, and Sandra Bullock delivers an affecting portrayal of a self-aware woman of substance.

Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal in 'Crazy Heart'Crazy Heart
Jeff Bridges is a convincing, pitiable wreck grasping at his last straw, elevating the wearily familiar material.

Invictus
Clint Eastwood has made the best film of the year … about rugby. (Review at Cinematical.)

It’s Complicated
Alec Baldwin is genius, Meryl Streep is all tics and Steve Martin disappears in Nancy Meyers’ soggy romantic fantasy.

Ninja Assassin
Totally ridiculous and incredibly bloody, thanks in part to CGI and in part to a wicked sense of play.

Planet 51
Without deciding what period of American history to parody, the picture loses focus and fades quickly into inertia.

Sherlock Holmes
Oddly uneven and forced, as Guy Ritchie struggles with the scope and tone. Robert Downey Jr. is amusing as always.

Up in the Air
Oppressively traditional, Jason Reitman’s character drama is intent on discovery through self-flaggelation.

Review: Armored

Smart, tight thriller from Nimrod Antal (the great Kontroll) squeezes an old formula for highly-coiled tension.

Director Nimrod Antal took a circuitous route to Hollywood. Of Hungarian descent, he was born in Los Angeles, but moved to Hungary in 1991 to learn and work, making music videos and TV commercials until he made Kontroll, his first feature-length film, which became a hit on the festival circuit in 2003. An atmospheric, propulsive work, Kontroll is set entirely in the Budapest subway system in the post-midnight hours, following a team of ticket inspectors who must deal with unruly nocturnal passengers and scofflaws, a budding serial killer, and an angelic young woman.
Continue reading Review: Armored

Reviews by Joe Baker and Peter Martin

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