Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With: Reviews THE WAY,
Times and Trailers.
Enter a teeming Bruegel painting in audacious, exciting 'Mill and the Cross'
I don't know much about Polish filmmaker Lech Majewski, but he's made one wild, weird-ass movie about art and the artmaking process in The Mill and the Cross. It's a fairly awful title for such an edgy experiment. Yes, a mill and a cross figure prominently in the painting under construction in the film, but this title not only makes the film sound dull and plodding, it suggests none of the originality and sheer visual audacity that makes this movie so exciting.
In general, it's about the 16th Century Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder, caught in the act of creating his vast masterwork, "The Way To Calvary," in 1564. Majewski's film is inspired by a non-fiction book on the subject by art historian Michael Francis Gibson, but Majewski's approach is completely unconventional. We never see the artist actually painting; instead, Majewski creates an onscreen landscape that already looks like Bruegel's painting, especially the background, with its sky full of roiling clouds and the distant hills.
Buddy farce '50/50' evoles into thoughtful, humane survival comedy
It's said when a person faces mortality, his entire life flashes before his eyes. It didn't happen that way for comedy producer and screenwriter Will Reiser. When he was diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer, he couldn't help noticing the absurdist side of the situation as he progressed from diagnosis to therapy, chemo and surgery. Where others might see a tragedy in progress, Reiser was thinking: comedy script.
Pitt scores in entertaining, real-life baseball saga 'Moneyball'
When I first heard about the baseball movie Moneyball, I had the wrong idea of what it was all about. The story of Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane throwing out a century of tradition to assemble a team according to strict computer analysis sounded like another instance of solid, old-fashioned values being replaced by bean-counters and statisticians—the incorporation of baseball for profit.
But, in fact, just the opposite is going on in Michael Lewis' non-fiction book, "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game," and this entertaining screen adaptation.
Smart, slick, stylish 'Drive' ready to hit the road
Ryan Gosling does not typically make safe acting choices. After gaining attention a decade ago as a Jewish neo-Nazi skinhead in The Believer, Gosling has crafted an impressive resume in chameleon-like range of roles—from the romance of The Notebook, to eccentric comedies like Lars and the Real Girl and Crazy, Stupid Love, to the intense indie dramas Half Nelson (for which he racked up an Oscar nomination) and Blue Valentine.
So when Gosling decides to do an action movie, there's a reasonable chance it won't be the usual Hollywood sellout. It will, in fact, be a movie like Drive, a lean, streamlined, stylish suspense thriller, with a very particular sense of mood. Danish-born director Nicolas Winding Refn has his own smart ideas about crafting suspense and delivering thrills. And with Gosling on board—literally, in the driver's seat—this is one slick, souped-up vehicle ready to hit the road.
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.