Before he loved anything else, Jean-Luc Godard loved genre: He famously dedicated his first feature film, "Breathless," to Monogram Pictures, one of the monarchs of Poverty Row B-picture production.
But as "Breathless" demonstrated, Godard never did anything straight up. He did genre his own playful way, and never more so than in 1965's "Alphaville," a film that was part science fiction, part hard-boiled adventure, and all Godard.
Playing for a week at the Nuart in West Los Angeles in a sharp new digital restoration, "Alphaville" is more than quintessential Godard. Despite its age it's that rare science fiction film that doesn't seem to have dated at all.
That's partly because, in an act of typical impishness, everything you see in "Alphaville" looks quintessential 1960s. It was Godard's notion to create a future using nothing but language and attitude. And Eddie Constantine.
Constantine plays Lemmy Caution, an FBI agent created by British novelist Peter Cheyney. The actor had played...
NEW YORK -- A feature about Israeli female soldiers and a documentary about an American fighting in Libya took top jury prizes at the Tribeca Film Festival Thursday night.
“Zero Motivation,” Talya Lavie’s Hebrew-language look at a group of complicated soldiers on the cusp of adulthood, took the award for best narrative feature, while “Point and Shoot,” Marshall Curry’s movie about a Baltimore man who takes up arms on behalf of the rebels in Libya in 2011, took the top documentary prize.
Jury members cited Lavie as a “new, powerful force” and said that the film examined “women who must find their place and establish their identity in a world normally dominated by men and machismo. They do so with humor, strength and intellect. The filmmaker mirrors these same qualities.”
It should be incredibly dull, just a man in his car on the phone. Yet the new British film "Locke" is gripping in its simplicity, wringing deep, suspenseful drama from a man making difficult decisions from which there will be no turning back. As he drives in his car while on the phone.
Ivan Locke — played by Tom Hardy, the only character seen onscreen — is a construction site foreman who is preparing for the largest job of his career, as the next morning he is to oversee the pouring of a massive concrete foundation for a skyscraper. Yet he is juggling calls as he drives through the night to be by the side of a woman with whom he had a one-night stand as she is giving premature birth to their baby. His marriage, his family, his career and his future are in jeopardy as he struggles to do what he believes to be right.
The film was written and directed by Steven Knight, who wrote David Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises" and was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay to ...
It sounds contrived, and it is. It sounds like a bit of a stunt, and it is that too. It may even sound boring, but that it is not. In fact, whip-smart filmmaking by writer-director Steven Knight and his team combined with Tom Hardy's mesmerizing acting make the micro-budgeted British independent "Locke" more minute-to-minute involving than this year's more costly extravaganzas.
Though a dozen actors are listed in "Locke's" credits, Hardy is the only one who appears on screen in this real-time drama that unfolds inside a moving BMW during the 85 minutes it takes construction foreman Ivan Locke to make a nighttime drive from Birmingham to London.
As played by Hardy (best known as the terrifying Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises"), Locke is not only driving, he is engaged in an almost continuous series of hands-free phone conversations as he desperately attempts to keep the various parts of his well-ordered life from collapsing in a total ruin. This may not sound like the formula for...
Director Nick Cassavetes, whose soft touch with romance was behind that classic date movie "The Notebook," is now responsible for the quintessential anti-date movie — "The Other Woman."
There is no question whose side he is on in this little bit of rasty business starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton. My advice to guys? Step away from the vehicle, because "The Other Woman" is out of control and intent on running down a certain kind of male.
Even if you're not the lying, cheating, thieving type — that would be Mark, a slickster played by "Game of Thrones'" Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, juggling wife, mistress, other mistress and some other ill-gotten gains — there is bound to be collateral damage.
The comedy, written by Melissa K. Stack, is essentially a revenge fantasy for any female with unresolved issues over a duplicitous relationship. Actually, it's closer to a dozen revenge fantasies, going back to earlier wish-fulfillers...
For those familiar with Randall Wallace’s cinematic oeuvre, the Oscar-nominated writer-director’s efforts can be understood to fall into two distinct categories: films following heroes on do-or-die missions and those following heroes who conquer incredible odds to win come-from-behind victories.
In the first category: the period action-dramas “Braveheart” and “We Were Soldiers” (both written by Wallace and starring a pre-rageaholic Mel Gibson). In the second: the Musketeer thriller “The Man in the Iron Mask” and the equestrian sports drama “Secretariat” (films Wallace wrote and directed).
But when it comes to his latest movie, “Heaven Is for Real” -- which arrived in theaters last weekend to surpass all financial expectation by hauling in $22.5 million in its first three days – Wallace forged into cinematic territory he’s less commonly associated with despite having studied religion as an undergraduate...
"Blue Ruin" is a moody, stripped-down action thriller with the most unlikely vigilante one could imagine. Dwight (Macon Blair) is no buffed-up hero, but a soft and skittish loner who has no idea how to hold a gun, much less use it.
Before Dwight begins seeking justice, writer-director-cinematographer Jeremy Saulnier wants us to understand the kind of guy we're dealing with.
The raw-edged indie, which won the Cannes FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) prize at the 2013 Directors' Fortnight, opens in near silence and stays there for the first act. Moving through a modest house, the camera captures details of the life inside — the tidy kitchen, the living room books carefully stacked, clearly well read. The bathroom is steamy, the faucet filling the tub is turned off, then back on, then off again, in reaction to sounds outside the open window.
Our first sighting of Dwight is of him barreling through that window: wet, naked, scraggly beard, uncut hair, grabbing...
For all the dangers football poses to its players, the sport still represents hope to thousands of young men. Judd Ehrlich's persuasive but slight documentary "We Could Be King" movingly argues for the necessity of high-school athletics, especially in low-income communities, where pigskin is a key tool educators have in encouraging would-be dropouts to stay in school.
After the Philadelphia school board closes 37 schools and merges Martin Luther King High with its Germantown rivals, heroic Ed Dunn oversees the union of the two football teams. Laid off from his job as a math teacher and coach, Dunn volunteers his afternoons to keeping his athletes focused on the field and not on their two-year losing streak. After a few early losses, Dunn guides his team into a series of unlikely wins.
Ehrlich thus makes rousing fodder out of MLK High's troubles — a decision that rightly celebrates the Cougars' victories but flattens much of the story line. Neither Dunn nor his students —...
As in many a thriller, the helpful stranger in "The German Doctor" turns out to be a monster. In this case, he's no run-of-the-mill sadist but Josef Mengele, Auschwitz's Angel of Death, and he finds prime subjects for experimentation in an Argentine family.
The drama by Lucía Puenzo, adapting her novel "Wakolda," is a credible imagining of a brief period in Mengele's South American exile. The what-if conceit is intriguing enough not to be undone by increasingly heavy-handed symbolism.
Alex Brendemühl imbues the role of the notorious physician with a creepy rectitude, especially in his obsession with 12-year-old Lilith (exceptional newcomer Florencia Bado). When they first meet, the image of his gloved hand around her doll conveys plenty. Using the name Helmut Gregory, he presents himself as a geneticist to the girl's parents (Natalia Oreiro and Diego Peretti) and installs himself in their lakeside hotel, the better to push his growth-hormone treatments on Lilith — in his eyes "a...
A resourcefully stylish indie sci-fi entry from Britain, "The Machine" drapes sleek visuals over an artificial intelligence tale set in a top-secret British government facility where robots are being developed to fight a cold war with China.
Empathic computer genius Vincent (Toby Stephens) has more on his mind, however, than creating a weapon-strength, self-aware being for his military boss (Denis Lawson). Vincent imagines a revolutionary future in which the brain-damaged (be they wounded soldiers or his medically afflicted daughter) are given their humanity again.
That makes Vincent's breakthrough — the Machine (Caity Lotz), an aerodynamic hot bod of a robot who can flip, fight and care deeply — into a moral battleground of sorts. With her slick-backed hair, Lotz is a cyberblond right out of Hitchcock's dystopian fantasies.
A determined historical sweep masks a small-minded bid for easy outrage and heartstrings-pulling in the schematic World War II drama "Walking With the Enemy."
Set in 1944, when the war was essentially over for the Nazis but their reign of terror in occupied territories was still going strong, the movie focuses on the efforts of a young, displaced Hungarian Jew named Elek (Jonas Armstrong) to find his family after escaping from a camp, which turned into a concerted effort to save many Hungarian Jews.
Though "inspired" by the true story of a rabbi's son who used the uniform of a Nazi officer to act out deportations of families that were secretly rescue missions, this film from writer Kenny Golde and director Mark Schmidt slaps a clichéd war-movie dressing over everything so that what should have felt heart-poundingly incredible comes off as heavy-handed, ludicrous and unintentionally queasy. Elek's repeated Nazi ruse starts to seem farcical, while the incessant action-edited rhythms of...