Film » Film Capsules

Film Capsules

Now packed with even more essential summaries of movies


Another Year (PG-13) — A year in the life of a happily married couple. Directed by Mike Leigh.

Biutiful (R) — Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest, starring Javier Bardem as a father and petty crook who takes stock of his life after he's diagnosed with cancer.

Black Swan (R) — Nina (Natalie Portman) has finally scored her big break with the New York City Ballet. But a new dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis), goes deeper and darker, threatening Nina's star-making turn. Director Darren Aronofsky's most psychologically unhinged film is one of the most twisted thrillers of the decade. (Michael Gallucci)

Blue Valentine (NC-17) — This portrait of a relationship's beginning and end has a gift for realizing and capturing the unvarnished slivers of everyday life. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams possess the subtle intelligence and controlled bravery to realize the two lead characters as utterly fallible human beings. It's meant to contrast love at the beginning and end, but the juxtaposition actually illuminates the fact that people grow and change over time, and not always at the same pace or in the same direction. (Bret McCabe)

The Company Men (R) — Salesman Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) had a great morning on the golf course and practically whistles as he walks into a meeting in a very quiet conference room. "Who died?" he asks his stone-faced team. Minutes later, he's fired. Bobby is one of three men let go during a purge in this meditation on the recession. He represents the young but established white-collar earner with a young family, a huge mortgage, and a leased Porsche. Meanwhile, outdated Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper) gets canned too, but can't face the new reality of a job market so changed from the one he entered 40 years ago. The same happens to Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones), who started the company years ago. It's hard to sympathize with the loss of a six-figure salary, but you'd have to be inhumane not to empathize with lives that lose their meaning. The Company Men is a wake-up call to reassess more than your résumé. (Wendy Ward)

Country Strong (PG-13) — It might be unfair to judge Country Strong against other movies, because while it looks like a movie, it's actually a collection of clichés so tired they wouldn't surprise a second grader. There's the damaged country legend on a comeback tour (Gwyneth Paltrow, woefully miscast); her distant husband/manager (Tim McGraw, who completely wastes his country cred); the guitar-slinging young buck caught between them; and the Taylor Swiftian country-pop princess nipping at Paltrow's career. Not one of them is worth rooting for. (Chuck Kerr)

The Dilemma (PG-13) — The idea here is whether or not to tell your best friend his wife is cheating on him. Obviously, we all know the answer is a resounding "Hell Fucking No, Are You Crazy?!?" Especially if you are getting ready to make a Big Business Deal and you're tied to the waist of this already tweaked-out stress-overloaded person to help you make the sale. Vince Vaughn and Kevin James are working on that Big Deal in the automotive industry, and then Winona Ryder cheats on James, because who wouldn't, right? If you liked The Break-Up, you'll enjoy this one. (Joe MacLeod)

The Eagle (PG-13) — Roman soldiers kicks ass in 140 AD.

The Fighter (R) — This biopic about junior welterweight boxing champ "Irish" Mickey Ward (played by Mark Wahlberg) brings the genre into the 21st century. Mickey's unreliable trainer is his older brother Dicky (Christian Bale), a local legend who has since descended into crack addiction and crime. Mickey's promise is squandered by his chaotic family; ultimately, he must choose between loyalty and a shot at a championship. (Pamela Zoslov)

Gnomeo and Juliet (G) — Shakespeare's classic told with garden gnomes and in 3D. No, really.

The Green Hornet (PG-13) — Sure, the 2011 version of The Green Hornet is about fighting evil, walking away from explosions, and having cool one-liners. But the real drama is the conflict going on between Seth Rogen's playboy hero and Jay Chou's deadly serious sidekick Kato. Any bad guys that get taken down aren't so much defeated as they are ground up between this pair's egos. The movie is also funny. Very funny at times. (Stephen Graham Jones)

The Illusionist (PG) — Classy (and French) animated film about an old-school illusionist and a young fan.

Just Go With It (PG-13) — Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston star in a romantic comedy, though there may also be a fart joke.

Justin Bieber: Never to Say Never (G) — Documentary about the pop music sensation. It's in 3D.

The King's Speech (R) — The future King George VI of England (an excellent Colin Firth) stammers whenever he's asked to speak in public. His loyal, persistent, and tough wife (Helena Bonham Carter, also excellent) finds Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush, terrific too), a speech therapist who guarantees he can cure George's stammer. They spar furiously at their first meeting, but you just know their relationship will turn all warm and fuzzy on the way to George's recovery. One of the best movies of 2010. (Gallucci)

Little Fockers (PG-13) — Consider yourself warned about this depressing exercise in vulgarity, which boasts enemas, farts, spurting blood, projectile vomit, and a syringe stabbing an old man's erection. (Zoslov)

The Mechanic (R) — A hitman schools a young kid on how to get things done. Jason Statham stars.

No Strings Attached (R) — Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher play a sex-only couple whose relationship turns into something more.

The Rite (PG-13) — Anthony Hopkins stars as a priest who schools students on the finer points of exorcisms.

The Roommate (PG-13) — Remember Single White Female? It's like that.

Sanctum (R) — 3D movie about people trapped in an underwater cave. Based on a true story.

Somewhere (R) — Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is an L.A. movie star participating in a press junket. Parties are already in swing in his room when he gets there. Sometimes he has mechanical sex with whatever woman makes herself available. Into this glacial chaos comes Cleo (Elle Fanning), his 11-year-old daughter by Layla (Lala Sloatman). When Layla tells Johnny she "needs some time," he ends up hanging out with Cleo for a few days. If the plot sounds reminiscent of director Sofia Coppola's efforts, it is. Like Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette, Somewhere spotlights Coppola's wonderful ability to see the worlds in which women move from adolescence to adulthood. (McCabe)

Tron: Legacy (PG) — Like last-year's CGI 3D holiday spectacle Avatar, you need to see TRON on the big screen. Unlike Avatar, you don't need to see TRON at all. A sequel to 1982's then-state-of-the-art geekfest about a guy trapped in a computer, Legacy picks up 28 years later. It's just a blur trapped in a noisy mess of cool techy toys. (Gallucci)

True Grit (PG-13) — This redo by the Coen brothers is a bit detached. Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) kills 14-year-old Mattie Ross' (Hailee Steinfeld) dad for no other reason than he's a mean bastard. So Mattie tracks down one-eyed U.S. marshal Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and hires him to bring Chaney to justice. (Gallucci)

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