Tag Archives: movies opening

Coming Soon: ‘The Impossible,’ ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Naomi Watts in 'The Impossible'
Naomi Watts in ‘The Impossible’


01/04: ‘The Impossible’ (AD)
01/11: ‘Quartet’ (AD)
01/11: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ (AD)
01/18: ‘Amour’ (LM)
01/18: ‘On the Road’ (LI)
01/25: ‘West of Memphis’ (AD)

01/04: ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’
01/11: ‘Gangster Squad’
01/11: ‘A Haunted House’
01/18: ‘Broken City’
01/18: ‘The Last Stand’
01/18: ‘Mama’
01/25: ‘Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters’
01/25: ‘Movie 43’
01/25: ‘Parker’

AD: Angelika Dallas
AP: Angelika Plano
C17: Cinemark 17
CWP: Cinemark West Plano
G30: AMC Grapevine Mills 30
LI: Landmark Inwood
LM: Landmark Magnolia
NP: AMC NorthPark 15
TT: Texas Theatre

Check Dallas showtimes via Google

Review: ‘Skyfall’ is Top-Notch All the Way

Daniel Craig as James Bond in 'Skyfall' (MGM/Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Daniel Craig as James Bond in ‘Skyfall’ (MGM/Sony Pictures Entertainment)
First things first: Skyfall is the most gorgeous-looking blockbuster of the year, hands down, thanks to director of photography Roger Deakins.

Now it might seem strange to start a review of one of the most anticipated movies of the year by praising the cinematography, but I want to call attention to work that is worthy of an Academy Award in a movie series that has rarely (nine nominations in total; two wins) been so honored. It’s a mark of the film’s accomplishment, however, that the photography is not the finest achievement of Skyfall, orchestrated by director Sam Mendes under the guiding hands of producers Barbara Brocoli and Michael G. Wilson.

In Skyfall, superior action sequences surround superb dramatic scenes, one after the after, in a near-continuous stream, flowing effortlessly through a nail-biting narrative that rarely pauses; when it does, it’s for effect, to allow the mind to catch up with the racing heart.

The film’s modus operandi is established in the opening scenes. Long established as a trademark in the series, the pre-credits sequence is an opportunity for each installment to try and top all that have come before for outlandish, insanely dangerous stunts and situations. Here we have James Bond (Daniel Craig) and fellow agent Eve (Naomie Harris) in hot pursuit of a stolen list containing the secret identies of undercover British intelligence agents. Under the direct supervision of M (Judi Dench), the agents incur millions of dollars in property damage, heedlessly smashing vehicles and risking the lives of hundreds of people, ending up with Bond on top of a train locked in mortal combat with the thief while Eve locks onto her target with an assassin’s long-range rifle; a tunnel is looming ahead and seconds remain. M must make a fateful decision.

It’s all rather breathless, and the film hurtles forward from there. Nary a shot is wasted; Mendes and veteran editor Stuart Baird never linger, always pushing things forward. The story revolves around the stolen list and the increasing pressure upon M for her perceived failures, especially as applied by government minister Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), who now provides oversight for the intelligence agencies. Knowing that she is being forced into retirement, M doubles down to recapture the stolen list and discover the personal connection that she may have to the thief.

Javier Bardem creates a memorable villain, edging toward parody without falling into that trap, and key support is provided by Harris, Fiennes, Ben Whishaw as a terribly young techno-whiz Q, and Bérénice Marlohe as a new version of the “Bond girl.”

But the film belongs to Craig and Dench, with Craig giving the most complex portrayal of 007 yet and Dench fleshing out her character’s years of experience. The script is credited to Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, as well as John Logan, but it’s the performances that truly persuade, smoothing over several rough patches in the narrative. Skyfall is top-notch all the way.

Skyfall opens wide across the Metroplex on Friday, November 9.

Review: ‘Magic Mike’ Strips Away All Pretenses

Steven Soderbergh's 'Magic Mike'
Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Magic Mike’

Take away the breakaway pants, substitute robots for strippers, and Magic Mike is a perfectly ordinary summer movie, story-wise. Ah, but add Steven Soderbergh to the mix, and what pours out is a seemingly complex work of art.

Magic Mike is not above pandering to straight women and gay men, but neither does it avoid trafficking in male-fantasy fulfillment; it provides a little something something for nearly everyone, as long as you’re cool with partial nudity and physical objectification. Soderbergh is the not-so-secret ingredient that makes the movie eminently palatable, a tasty treat elevated far beyond its ordinary narrative structure and stereotypical character arcs.

Soderbergh once again coaxs career-best performances out of actors (Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey) who previously appeared to have hit the ceiling of their limited range. As he did with Gina Carano in Haywire, he manages a similar trick with Cody Horn, a new actress with little to no acting experience.

Tatum plays the titular character, a self-described “stripper/entrepreneur.” By night, he’s the star attraction of a male dance revue that does big business with the ladies of Tampa Bay, Florida. By day, he’s a budding custom furniture maker and construction worker, and it’s on the latter gig that he meets 19-year-old Adam (Alex Pettyfer).

The two bump into each other later that night; sharp-dressed Mike takes pity on the bedraggled-looking Adam (who he takes to calling The Kid), and invites him along to his night job so he can earn a few extra bucks. Adam is an unexpected hit with the ladies, which impresses Dallas (Matthew McConaughey), the owner and manager (and occasional featured dancer) of the strip club.

Soon enough, Mike is indoctrinating Adam into the ways of the male stripper — with an assist by Dallas, who provides dance lessons — and Adam proves himself to be a natural. He quickly becomes intoxicated with the fleshly opportunities of his new job, which does not please his older sister Brooke (Cody Horn), a medical assistant who shares an apartment with her baby brother.

Mike slowly starts to develop a relationship with Brooke, even while continuing to sleep with Joanna (Olivia Munn), who, lucky for Mike, enjoys casual sex and threesomes with anonymous females. Mike also is trying to start a custom-furniture business, while Dallas holds open the promise of an equity share in a new club in Miami, evidently the mecca for all male strippers in Florida.

Magic Mike, written by Reid Carolin and inspired by Tatum’s own experiences as a young stripper, is a male fantasy of a female fantasy, one in which all the men are physically-fit and dancing for the amusement of the ladies. It’s told from the perspective of a decidedly heterosexual modern male, however, and reflects old-fashioned values.

Of the two female characters, one denies her own sexuality and the other goes overboard in expressing it. (In other words, the classic madonna / whore complex, separated for easy parsing.) Our hero has a heart of gold and a body built for sin, but he’s not terribly bright — note the way he deals with his financial savings and also how he handles himself with a loan officer at a bank.

The movie represents a battle between the emotional and the phsyical, which suits the exemplary style of Steven Soderbergh just fine. He deconstructs what would otherwise be a modern updating of Flashdance with his camera and his choice of locales and his editing style.

Magic Mike looks and feels like it’s been sitting in the heat and humidity of Florida too long; it’s rumpled and sweaty and lived in, which is also its charm and its ultimate power, as Soderbergh keeps everything off-kilter enough to make the movie pop in a rather delicious manner all through its running time.

It’s enough to make a fella blush.

Portions of this review originally appeared in slightly different form at Twitch. Magic Mike opens wide today across the Metroplex.

Indie Weekend: ‘Your Sister’s Sister,’ ‘The Woman in the Fifth,’ ‘Bill W.’

Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt in 'Your Sister's Sister'
Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt in ‘Your Sister’s Sister’

Three indies are opening locally today, June 22:

  • ‘Your Sister’s Sister.’ Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt play sisters who reunite at a remote cabin in the company of recovering friend Mark Duplass. Advance reviews have been mixed to positive. (Landmark Magnolia.) Not previewed.
  • ‘The Woman in the Fifth.’ An American novelist (Ethan Hawke) hopes to rekindle a romance in Paris; when that doesn’t work out, he takes a questionable job and meets a mysterious woman (Kirstin Scott-Thomas). Advance reviews have been mixed. (Angelika Dallas.) Not previewed.
  • ‘Bill W.’ A documentary about the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. (Texas Theatre.) Not previewed.

Opening wide:

  • ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.’ With only a scant few days remaining before an asteroid destroys Earth, neighbors Steve Carell and Keira Knightley take a road trip to resolve past regrets. My review. Recommended.
  • ‘Brave.’ The new Pixar films is a dark fairy tale revolving around a 10th-century Scottish princess and her battles with her mother. My review. Recommended.
  • ‘Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.’ The 16th President of the United States gets a violent historical makeover from the director of ‘Wanted.’ Advance reviews have been mixed to negative. Not previewed.

Indie Weekend: ‘Headhunters,’ ‘Bernie,’ ‘Sound of My Voice,’ and More


A handful of indies are opening locally today; truly, something for everyone:

  • ‘Headhunters.‘ Slick, clever, thoroughly engaging thriller from Norway follows a corporate recruiter who moonlights as an art thief. Things get complicated fast when he attempts to recruit / steal from a target (above) who has an eye on his beautiful wife (also above). This is my pick of the weekend. (Angelika Dallas.) My thoughts at Twitch. Highly recommended.
  • ‘Bernie.’ Jack Black stars as an assistant funeral director in a small town in Texas who comes under suspicion when a wealthy widow goes missing. Richard Linklater’s comedy also stars Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey. (Landmark Inwood, Angelika Plano.) Not previewed.
  • ‘Sound of My Voice.’ Brit Marling (‘Another Earth’), who co-wrote, plays a cult leader in what’s been described as a quiet science-fictional drama. (Angelika Dallas, Angelika Plano.) Not previewed.
  • ‘The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye.’ Documentary about the strange ways of love pursued by two musical pioneers and performance artists. (Angelika Dallas.) Not previewed.
  • ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.’ A group of British retirees decide to spend their golden years at a resort in India. With Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith; directed by John Madden. (Angelika Dallas.) Not previewed.

Opening wide:

  • ‘The Avengers.’ Joss Whedon puts his own jocular spin on ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in a movie that will likely please all fanboys and most audiences. My review. Recommended.

Indie Weekend: ‘Sound of Noise,’ ‘Goon,’ ‘The Lady,’ ‘Monsieur Lazhar’

'Sound of Noise' at the Texas Theatre (Magnolia Pictures)
'Sound of Noise' at the Texas Theatre (Magnolia Pictures)

In my return to active duty, I’ve updated the calendar listings (in the boxes on the right), reflecting a very busy month. A quartet of indies are opening locally today:

  • ‘Sound of Noise.‘ A superb, boisterous, joyous picture about musicians who make music from found objects. (Texas Theatre.) My review at Twitch. Highly recommended.
  • ‘Goon.’ A hockey comedy starring Sean William Scott and Jay Baruchel, the latter of whom co-wrote the screenplay. I’ve read very positive reviews from reviewers I trust. (Texas Theatre.) Not previewed.
  • ‘The Lady.’ Michelle Yeoh stars as a real-life Burmese political hero; directed by Luc Besson. Reviews have been generally favorable, though not wildly enthusiastic. (Landmark Magnolia.) Not previewed.
  • ‘Monsier Lazhar.’ Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. A substitute teacher helps his students deal with the suicide of their previous instructor, as well as racial prejudice. Reviews have been generally favorable. (Angelika Dallas.) Not previewed.

Opening wide:

  • ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits.’ The newest stop-motion animation from Aardman will delight children, though adults may only be amused. My review at Twitch. Recommended.
  • ‘The Raven.’ A serial killer stalks Baltimore in 1849, taking inspiration from the works of Edgar Allan Poe. John Cusack’s best effort cannot save the warmed-over plot. My review at Twitch. Not recommended.
  • ‘The Five-Year Engagement.’ Jason Segel and Emily Blunt star in a romantic comedy. Reviews have been mixed to negative. Not previewed.
  • ‘Safe.’ Jason Statham stars in an action picture. Reviews have been mixed. Not previewed.