As is usual, after a few weeks of nothing to see, there’s too much to see, so I’ll be busy at the movies this week and next to catch up with everything.
The film I was most waiting for, which had already opened in other cities, is The Imitation Game (72), a surefire Oscar nominee about the code-breaker Alan Turing, as played by the flavor of the year, Benedict Cumberbatch. Claudia Puig: “Imitation” illuminates Turing’s brilliance in an engrossing and moving film that features a standout, Oscar-worthy performance by Benedict Cumberbatch.”
There is also a spate of completely new releases. I’ll start with Tim Burton’s latest, Big Eyes (62), by the same guys who wrote Ed Wood, in another story about a fringe element of pop culture. Starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz. Ian Freer: “Tim Burton’s return to real-life storytelling is entertaining but flawed. See it for a fascinating true story and a fantastic Amy Adams. Beware the uneven tone, a lack of depth and Christoph Waltz’s monumental mugging.”
The Gambler (55) is a remake of the 1974 film starring James Caan as degenerate gambler. Most of the reviews seem to say see the original, not this one starring Mark Wahlberg. Joshua Rothkopf: “This version’s shadowy Las Vegas underworld and convenient adoring female coed (Brie Larson, who deserves better) play like clichés.”
From Disney comes Stephen Sondheim’s anti-Disney musical, Into the Woods (71), which takes familiar fairy tale figures and mashes them together in a Freudian setting. David Edelstein: “I’m only half-kidding when I suggest that you see the movie but leave (especially if you have kids) at what’s obviously the end of the first act. You’ll still get the dissonances, ambiguities, and portents of doom, along with much that is pure enchantment. And you won’t leave thinking the movie had been made by the Big Bad Wolf.”
Finally there’s Unbroken (59), directed by Angelina Jolie, about the extraordinary life of Louis Zampieri, Olympic runner and prisoner of war. Cath Clarke: “Jolie has assembled an A-list team – Roger Deakins behind the camera, the Coen brothers in charge of the script – but while her film is perfectly competent, it hardly dazzles.”
I will probably end up seeing all of these films (except for The Gambler) in the cinema.
Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it, and for those who don’t, enjoy your Chinese food!