Upcoming Theatrical Releases
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
PG-13; 91 mins
GRAVITY, directed by Oscar (R) nominee Alfonso Cuaron, stars Oscar (R) winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in a heart-pounding thriller that pulls you into the infinite and unforgiving realm of deep space. Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney). But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone. (Synopsis by Warner Bros.)
Check out my review on The Dagger later this week.
Director: Brad Furman
R; 91 mins.
Richie, a Princeton college student who pays for school with on-line gambling, bottoms out and travels to Costa Rica to confront the on-line mastermind, Ivan, whom he believes has swindled him. Ivan sees a kindred spirit in Richie and brings the younger man into his operation. When the stakes get incredibly high and dangerous, and Richie comes to fully understand the deviousness of his new boss, he tries to turn the tables on him. (Synopsis by 20th Century Fox)
Watchable, but not memorable. Too much star power is wasted on this uninspired, predictable gangland thriller.
The Patience Stone
Director: Atiq Rahimi
R; 98 mins
Somewhere, in Afghanistan or elsewhere, in a country torn apart by a war… A young woman in her thirties watches over her older husband in a decrepit room. He is reduced to the state of a vegetable because of a bullet in the neck. Not only is he abandoned by his companions of the Jihad, but also by his brothers. One day, the woman decides to tell the truth to him about her feelings about their relationship to her silent husband. She talks about her childhood, her suffering, her frustrations, her loneliness, her dreams, her desires… She says things she could never have done before, even though they have been married for the past 10 years. Therefore, this paralyzed man unconsciously becomes syngue sabour, a magic stone which, according to Persian mythology, when placed in front of a person shields her from unhappiness, suffering, pains and miseries. In this wait for her husband to come back to life, the woman struggles to survive and live. She finds refuge in her aunt’s place, who is a prostitute, and the only relative who understands her. The woman seeks to free herself from suffering through the words she delivers audaciously to her husband. But after weeks looking after him, she will actually reveal herself in the relationship she starts with a young soldier. (Synopsis by Sony Pictures Classic)
This is a burning indictment of the treatment of women in fundamentalist Islamic culture. Farahani plays her part perfectly, never turning into the victim in a unique film that should be at the top of your viewing list.
Upcoming DVD Releases
Iron Man 3
Director: Shane Black
PG-13; 109 mins.
Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man? (Synopsis by Disney)
Robert Downey, Jr. is the perfect man for Black’s witty, banter-filled writing–they’ve worked together before in the highly underrated “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” (Explicit language). This time around, however, when the action ramps up the writing, acting, and film all fall apart. This was better than the second film, but more time should have been spent on the flashy visuals.
The Kings of Summer
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
R; 95 mins.
Premiering to rave reviews at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, THE KINGS OF SUMMER is a unique coming-of-age comedy about three teenage friends – Joe (Nick Robinson), Patrick (Gabriel Basso) and the eccentric and unpredictable Biaggio (Moises Arias) – who, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land. Free from their parents’ rules, their idyllic summer quickly becomes a test of friendship as each boy learns to appreciate the fact that family – whether it is the one you’re born into or the one you create – is something you can’t run away from. (Synopsis by CBS Films)
Not quite up to the standards of “Stand by Me,” but still a passable indie-teen, coming-of-age drama. The comedy is there, but at times the film verges too far into the whimsical. Not a bad way to remember your childhood.