Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With: Reviews - 50/50
Times and Trailers.
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.
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.