Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
Boy saves medieval masterpiece in lovely, animated ‘Secret of Kells'
A boy on a heroic quest is not an unusual subject for an animated family film. But there's an extra layer of intrigue when the quest involves creating and preserving one of the most beautiful pieces of artwork in human history. When Irish animator Tomm Moore set out to make his first feature, he decided to delve into his own Celtic heritage for inspiration; the result is the lovely and poetic The Secret Of Kells, which imagines the story of a boy in a medieval monastery who helps to save the gorgeous 9th Century illuminated manuscript known to history as "The Book of Kells."
Lust, longing, betrayal, revenge, madness. These are the elements of grand opera, used to swoony effect by veteran Italian filmmaker Marco Bellochio in his arresting Vincere (Victory). His subject is the woman and child Benito Mussolini left behind while reinventing himself as Il Duce. Political content is acute throughout; the director draws parallels between Mussolini's opportunistic path from young Socialist troublemaker to Fascist dictator and the ruthlessness with which he abandons the woman who loves him. But the film plays out as a rapturous fever dream of love and loss told entirely from the viewpoint of Ida Dasler (played with simmering grace and erotic intensity by Giovanna Mezzogiorno).
Kick-ass heroine powers taut thriller, 'Girl With Dragon Tattoo'
She gets mad. She gets even. And she manages to maintain a fragile balance of power in a world dominated by absolute male authority where the odds are skewed dramatically against her. She's Lisbeth Salander, a brave new breed of movie heroine unleashed in the bracing Swedish crime thriller The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. As portrayed onscreen by the riveting Noomi Rapace, Lisbeth is one tough cookie, with a secret, well-guarded vein of vulnerability and a take-no-prisoners moral ethic. She plays for keeps.
Its detractors call it "The scandal of the art world in modern America." The private art collection of Albert C. Barnes, "the single most important cultural artifact in America of the first half of the 20th Century," and how it was hijacked by an unholy alliance of museums, politicians, and custodians determined to exploit its marvels for profit, is the story told in The Art Of The Steal, a compelling, infuriating documentary from filmmaker Don Argott that sets up a classic case of corporate greed vs. legal and artistic integrity. The working-class son of a Philadelphia butcher, Barnes made a fortune with an antiseptic compound around the turn of the last century.
Unstoppable 'Mother' fights for son in acute Korean mystery thriller
Don't go to the movies of South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho expecting the ordinary. While tales of maternal devotion have been a staple of human drama (and cinema) from Ma Joad to Stella Dallas to Lily Potter, what Bong brings to the mother-love genre in his absorbing thriller, Mother, is a virtuoso mix of dynamic action, precisely rendered emotions, and a complex worldview that both satirizes and mourns the junk and clutter, opportunism and corruption of modern daily life.
All the elements should be in place for a classic, psycho-erotic suspense thriller in Atom Egoyan's Chloe: a flirty, attractive husband who never seems to be home, a neglected wife desperate to recapture his attention, and a beautiful young call girl capable of ripping open the couple's orderly, upscale lives. Egoyan and his excellent cast manage to conjure a credibly sensual atmosphere of hothouse desire (literally, in one key scene that occurs in a steamy, secluded room of an indoor botanical garden). David (Liam Neeson) is a popular university professor, adored by his female students, who's always jetting off somewhere to deliver a guest lecture, staying late at the office for faculty meetings, or chuckling over private emails. His wife, Catherine (Julianne Moore) is a busy gynecologist who spends her days explaining orgasms and other sexual functions to her patients, but has not felt the love herself in a long time.