Upcoming Theatrical Releases
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Director: Francis Lawrence
PG-13; 2 hr. 16 min.
As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance. (Synopsis by Lionsgate)
The biggest surprises in the blowout finale of this series are the attempts at tackling real world issues within the context of the plot. They aren’t always fully successful, but credit is due for any attempt at deviating from the norm in a meaningful way. Jennifer Lawrence is at her best in elevating this beyond the dregs of YA literature. See it.
Director: John Crowley
PG-13; 1 hr. 23 min.
BROOKLYN tells the profoundly moving story of Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland and the comfort of her mother’s home for the shores of New York City. The initial shackles of homesickness quickly diminish as a fresh romance sweeps Eilis into the intoxicating charm of love. But soon, her new vivacity is disrupted by her past, and Eilis must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within. (Synopsis by Fox Searchlight)
A distinctly old-fashioned film that is one of the best to come out this year. Elegant in its simplicity and complicated in its depiction of all the characters. Don’t miss this one. See it.
Director: Tom McCarthy
R; 2 hr. 7 min.
SPOTLIGHT tells the riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world. Directed by Academy Award-nominee Tom McCarthy, SPOTLIGHT is a tense investigative dramatic-thriller, tracing the steps to one of the biggest cover-ups in modern times. (Synopsis by Open Road)
Another strong contender for Best Picture. The ensemble cast is at the top of their game in delving into the process of uncovering the truth without lingering on the sordid details. Carefully scripted to create an emotional appeal without being voyeuristic into the investigation. See it.
Secret in Their Eyes
Director: Billy Ray
PG-13; 1 hr. 51 min.
A tight-knit team of rising investigators – Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Jess (Julia Roberts), along with their supervisor Claire (Nicole Kidman) – is suddenly torn apart when they discover that Jess’s teenage daughter has been brutally and inexplicably murdered. Now, thirteen years later, after obsessively searching every day for the elusive killer, Ray finally uncovers a new lead that he’s certain can permanently resolve the case, nail the vicious murderer, and bring long-desired closure to his team. No one is prepared, however, for the shocking, unspeakable secret that will reveal the enduring, destructive effects of personal vengeance on the human soul. (Synopsis by STX Entertainment)
Despite the strong performances from Kidman and Roberts, this never reaches the heights it is aiming for. The focus seems to be more on directorial technique over story and substance. A disappointing outing from a director with such acclaim. Rent it.
Upcoming DVD Releases
None of note.