Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
The average moviegoer may enjoy this film version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling book. The movie doesn’t require much effort on the audience’s part. All one needs to do is sit and be led to believe that one is witnessing a major transformation taking place in the life of a troubled writer named Liz (played by Julia Roberts). But anybody who truly understands (or wants to) the art of real personal triumphs—transformations that hit you to the core and set you sailing somewhere profoundly new—must know that real change can be hard work.
'Anton Chekhov's The Duel' an exercise in ennui
It might surprise 19th Century Russian playwright Anton Chekhov to see naked women in a adaptation of his work. But it's not entirely gratuitous in Anton Chekhov's The Duel, an international co-production of a Chekhov novella whose heroine, a young society matron transplanted to a sleepy seaside resort in the Caucuses, is so ripe for life, she's fairly bursting out of her corsets. Which makes her the perfect visual and emotional contrast to the story's protagonist, a slight, sallow, petulant malcontent whose only response to the natural beauty of both the seaside and his mistress is profound boredom.
Searing tragedy of intolerance reduced to melodrama in 'Agora' |
There's a fascinating, heartbreaking, infuriating true story at the center of Agora, a sumptuous drama of ancient Alexandria from Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar. But even as the female scholar protagonist lectures her students that every system in the universe must revolve around a center or it will collapse, Amenábar clutters up his narrative with so much bombast and portent, it's own center finally cannot hold.
Stars shine in fresh, perceptive family comedy ‘Kids Are All Right'
Nic and Jules are a devoted, long-married couple raising their two kids in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Their family has its quirks and issues, but the kids respect their parents, each other, and themselves. That the movie in which they all appear, The Kids Are All Right, is not about the fact that Nic and Jules are a lesbian couple, is just one of the things that make Lisa Cholodenko's family comedy so fresh, fun, and appealing. These kids may have two moms, but this perceptive tale of family dynamics should resonate with anyone who's ever been a parent, a spouse or a child.
The possibility of an affair between fashion designer Coco Chanel and Russian composer Igor Stravinsky,1920, inspires this hothouse rhapsody from director Jan Kounen, based on the novel by Chris Greenhalgh. The era is irresistible, a period of astonishing artistic, political and cultural ferment. The personalities are fascinating (the designer who freed women from corsets; the composer who invented a new musical language). The project is redolent with possibilities, but few are realized in this artfully posed but static and disappointing film. It begins well at the 1913 Paris premiere of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring," recreated in lavish detail (the corps de ballet in animal skins and tribal costumes; Nijinsky's ecstatic choreography to Stravinsky's relentless rhythms), followed by the famous rioting of the scandalized audience. Jump to 1920: with Paris full of Russian expats after the Revolution, Chanel (Anna Mouglalis), head of her own elegant Paris fashion house, moves Stravinsky (Mads Mikkelsen) and his enormous family to her severely chic black-and-white country house in the South of France so he can work.