Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
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.
Cool premise never gets off the ground in 'Another Earth'
Rod Serling always used to say he conceived of "The Twilight Zone" as a forum for telling stories about the human condition thinly disguised as fantasy/sci-fi. The speculative film, Another Earth, attempts to set out in the same direction, offering up a very slightly science-fictionalized version of our present world to explore such larger thematic human issues as life, death, guilt, and forgiveness. Unfortunately, the film never quite gets where it's going. There's a lyrical eeriness to the storytelling, especially the handling of the sci-fi element. But the day-to-day details of the characters' lives are often unconvincing, while the thematic elements never quite resonate enough.
A big hit at Sundance this year, Another Earth was co-written by actress Brit Marling, who also stars, and Mike Cahill, who directs.
Chimp experiment reveals human foibles in smart doc 'Project Nim'
In 1973, some research scientists at Columbia University got a bright idea. They decided to raise an infant chimpanzee like a child, in the home of a human family, to see if it would be possible to teach him to communicate with sign language at the same rate that a human child learns language. "Wouldn't it be great if we could find out what a chimp was thinking?" they wondered. “Wouldn't it be a breakthrough in human-animal communication?”
Project Nim, the absorbing, often infuriating, always provocative new documentary about this chimp experiment poses another, equally compelling question: just how clueless does human science have to be?
Entertaining 'Captain America' fights foes with '40s flair
Sure, you're fed up with comic book superhero movies. Who isn't? But if someone holds a gun to your head and forces you to see one, you could do a lot worse than Captain America: The First Avenger. What makes this one stand out is its fidelity to its source material, and the era that produced it—the 1940s, when America was the last hope of the free world, the war against evil was considered just, and the favorite pulp reading matter of kids were still called comic books (not graphic novels).
Working from a clever script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, director Joe Johnston works the comic book aesthetic for all it's worth: shiny period cars, sexy dames, tough, red-blooded fighting men.