Upcoming Theatrical Releases
Straight Outta Compton
Director: F. Gary Gray
R; 2 hr. 27 min.
In the mid-1980s, the streets of Compton, California, were some of the most dangerous in the country. When five young men translated their experiences growing up into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation. Following the meteoric rise and fall of N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton tells the astonishing story of how these youngsters revolutionized music and pop culture forever the moment they told the world the truth about life in the hood and ignited a cultural war. (Synopsis by Universal Pictures)
A better, or at least grittier, story could have been made. But the minor flaw of stretching for overly melodramatic tones is overshadowed by the sheer force of the film. See it.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Director: Guy Ritchie
PG-13; 1 hr. 56 min.
Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” centers on CIA agent Solo and KGB agent Kuryakin. Forced to put aside longstanding hostilities, the two team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organization, which is bent on destabilizing the fragile balance of power through the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology. The duo’s only lead is the daughter of a vanished German scientist, who is the key to infiltrating the criminal organization, and they must race against time to find him and prevent a worldwide catastrophe. (Synopsis by Warner Bros.)
The movie suffers from a lack of consistent voice and an episodic feeling to the writing. Visually it is stunning, but the combined problems of storytelling and wooden acting leave something to be desired. Rent it.
Director: Juan José Campanella
Unrated; 1 hr. 30 min.
From Academy Award (R) winning director Juan Campanella comes UNDERDOGS, an animated comedy with a little bit of magic and a whole lot of heart. Jake is a shy, but talented, foosball player. His passion for the game is rivaled only by his love for free-spirited Laura. With her encouragement, he beats the town bully, Flash, in a foosball game. But everything changes when Flash becomes the world’s best soccer player and returns years later to turn their village into a new sports stadium. He starts to destroy everything and kidnaps Laura in the process. Just when it looks like all hope is lost, the toy figures from Jake’s foosball table come to life! He and the players embark on a wild adventure to save Laura and reclaim their village. With the help of his team, his town, and a little bit of magic, Jake will try to save the day. (Synopsis by Weinstein)
An unremarkable story that is neither particularly bad nor good. Relying heavily on bright visuals, it is best suited for an audience under the age of eight. Fun enough for a lazy afternoon. Rent it.
The End of the Tour
Director: James Ponsoldt
R; 1 hr. 45 min.
THE END OF THE TOUR tells the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter (and novelist) David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, Infinite Jest. As the days go on, a tenuous yet intense relationship seems to develop between journalist and subject. The two men bob and weave around each other, sharing laughs and also possibly revealing hidden frailties – but it’s never clear how truthful they are being with each other. Ironically, the interview was never published, and five days of audio tapes were packed away in Lipsky’s closet. The two men did not meet again. The film is based on Lipsky’s critically acclaimed memoir about this unforgettable encounter, written following Wallace’s 2008 suicide. Both Segel and Eisenberg reveal great depths of emotion in their performances and the film is directed with humor and tenderness by Sundance vet James Ponsoldt from Pulitzer- Prize winner Donald Margulies’ insightful and heartbreaking screenplay. (Synopsis by A24)
Few films can capture and celebrate a simple conversation this well. Both Segal and Eisenberg are phenomenal, as is the deft hand of director Ponsoldt. A truly moving drama that thrives within a simple framework. See it.
Upcoming DVD Releases