Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With: Reviews, Times and Trailers.
Woman vs. church in actress' accomplished directing debut, 'Higher Ground'
Was it a sign, or just random coincidence? Coming home from the film Higher Ground, actress Vera Farmiga's impressive directing debut about a modern woman's loss of faith, we heard the middle of The Who song, "I'm Free," on the radio, where they sing, "...Messiahs pointed toward the door/But no one had the guts to leave the temple." Based on the memoir, "This Dark Place," by Carolyn S. Briggs (who also co-wrote the screenplay), Higher Ground is all about having the guts to leave the temple—in this case, a tightly knit born-again Christian community in the 1970s and '80s—and what a wrenching decision that can be.
Mirren shines in taut political thriller 'The Debt'
Is a painful truth better than an inspiring lie? How would one rate truth on a moral scale against national honor, vindication or justice? These are questions grappled with in The Debt, John Madden's gripping, tidily made (if at times, starkly visceral) suspense thriller about truth and its consequences. With a featured performance by the iconic Helen Mirren in one of her gutsiest roles, it's a persuasive, time-traveling political drama about how easily the facts can go astray in pursuit of a more appealing big picture.
Co-scripted by Matthew Vaughn (director of Layer Cake), his writing partner Jane Goldman (their collaborations include Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class), and Peter Straughn, The Debt is adapted from a 2007 Israeli film, Ha-Hov.
Irish cop dishes up rough justice in entertaining, profanely funny 'The Guard'
In Hollywood, the teaming up of mismatched lawmen—one orthodox, the other a wild man—might lead to a predictable odd-couple action comedy like Beverly Hills Cop, or the Lethal Weapon franchise. In John Michael McDonagh's The Guard, the pairing of a sophisticated U.S. Federal agent and an irascible small-town Irish police sergeant leads to philosophical debates, existential angst, musings on Anglo-Irish prejudices, and other explorations into the Irish character. It's also a comedy, profane, subversively funny, wholly unpredictable, and infinitely smarter and more textured than any dozen conventional action movies.
The great Brendan Gleeson gets to sink his chops into a delicious central role as Sgt. Gerry Boyle, precinct cop in a small rural village in County Galway, on the West Coast of Ireland.
Women confront war's aftermath in harrowing political drama 'Whistleblower'
Most war movies are made for and by men. They tend to be violent, testosterone jubilees about courage under fire, incredible battlefield heroics, and hard-fought victories. Canadian-born Ukrainian filmmaker Laysa Kondracki takes a different approach in her intense and harrowing drama, The Whistleblower. Not only does she view the process of war from a feminine perspective, she explores the lingering and devastating consequences of warfare on women long after the mission has supposedly been accomplished and the fighting troops have gone home.
The film is based on the true story of Kathryn Bolkovac, a police officer from Nebraska who joined the UN peacekeeping forces in war-ravaged Bosnia in 1999.