Film Clips: A synopsis of reviews of current movies
Up to four ♥s ...
- ARGO (R). Ben Affleck directs and stars in a rescue thriller set against the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. Affleck has come up with a seamless blend of detailed international drama -- based on the true story about the rescue of six American embassy employees hiding out in the Canadian ambassador's house in Tehran -- and breathtaking suspense, with just the right amount of dry humor to provide context and levity. With John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, Victor Garber. ♥♥♥♥ (Lemire, Associated Press -- 10/12). 2:00.
- CLOUD ATLAS (R). Perhaps this bloated, pseudo-intellectual, self-indulgent slog through some notions that are really rather facile worked better on the page. "Cloud Atlas" comes from the best-selling novel of the same name by David Mitchell, encompassing six stories over a span of 500 years. Sibling directors Lana and Andy Wachowski, working with "Run Lola Run" director Tom Tykwer, have chopped up the various narratives and intercut between them out of order. The A-list actors who make up the cast (among them Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent) play multiple parts across the various stories and in elaborate makeup that's often laughable. But rather than serving as a satisfying, cohesive device, this strategy feels like a distracting gimmick. ♥½ (Lemire, Associated Press -- 10/26). 2:52.
- FUN SIZE (PG-13). A girl and her little brother get a lesson in school popularity on Halloween. Pity this film isn't as much fun as its title implies. "Fun Size" waddles along at half-speed, never building momentum. ♥♥ (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 10/26). 1:27.
- FLIGHT (R). Director Robert Zemeckis' first live-action movie since 2000's "Cast Away" stars Denzel Washington as an airline pilot whose alcoholism and drug abuse are revealed after he becomes a hero for saving the lives of his passengers during a disastrous flight. Neither a simple story of heroism, nor one of a fallen hero. Things are more complex than that -- and it is its complexities that make this film all the more rewarding an experience. ♥♥♥ (Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer -- 11/3). 2:15.
- HERE COMES THE BOOM (PG). A teacher and ex-wrestler (Kevin James) moonlights as a mixed martial-arts fighter to save his school's music program. The film begins not well, with overstated and very broadly played comedy. But once it gets going and commits to its time-worn inspirational formula, it's not bad. ♥♥ (Phillips, Chicago Tribune -- 10/17). 1:45.
- HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (PG). Adam Sandler provides the voice of Dracula in an animated monster mash that finds the venerable count operating a luxurious resort for monsters on vacation. He also is eager to prevent his sheltered 118-year-old daughter from hooking up with a backpacking human cutie who accidentally stumbles into Dracula's resort just in time for his daughter's birthday party. Most of the laughs arise from director Genndy Tartakovsky's cheeky take on famous monsters of filmland, funneled through the ordinariness of vacationing. Sandler's voice-only turn outshines many of his front-of-camera appearances. ♥♥ (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 10/1). 1.31.
- PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 (R). The supernatural franchise makes its annual return for Halloween.
- SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN (PG-13). Documentary about the career and fate of 1970s Detroit singer-songwriter Rodriguez, who became the prophet and poet of young liberal Afrikaners opposing apartheid.
- SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS (R). A hard-drinking screenwriter in Los Angeles with a severe bout of writer's block falls into the messy hi-jinks of his friend -- a man who kidnaps dogs and then returns them for money. Irish playwright-director Martin McDonagh has mangled together a revenge flick that's half Guy Ritchie, half Charlie Kaufman. With Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson. ♥♥½ (Coyle, Associated Press -- 10/15). 1:49.
- SINISTER (R). A collection of home movies unleashes horror on a crime novelist (Ethan Hawke) and his family who have moved into a house that's possessed. Everything here is something we've seen before. (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 10/15). 1:40.
- SKYFALL (PG-13). Daniel Craig returns as James Bond in a thriller sparked by secrets out of the past of his boss, M (Judi Dench). With Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes.
- THE OTHER SON (PG-13). Two infants switched at birth each grow up as someone else in families living on opposite sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide. In French, Hebrew, Arabic and English, with English subtitles.
- THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (PG-13). Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Ezra Miller star in a teen coming-of-age tale. Based on the best-selling young adult novel of the same name, the film sounds like a total formula. But there's also a darkness that follows its main character, even at his happiest, which keeps the film from turning completely safe and self-satisfied. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" may not do anything groundbreaking, but it tells a familiar story in small, thoughtful ways. ♥♥♥ (Lemire, Associated Press -- 10/29). 1:43.
- WRECK-IT RALPH (PG). The villain (voiced by John C. Reilly) of an old-school 1980s arcade video game tires of always being the bad guy and starts to sneak into other video games to play the hero. The movie's first half is its funniest. The second half is cleverly designed, high-fructose eye candy with typical Disney lessons in reaching for the stars, being who you are blah, blah, blah. ♥♥♥ (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 11/2). 1:33.
Berkshire Mall Cinema 10 (Lanesborough): Here Comes the Boom (PG) 1:20, 4:15, 7:20 & 9:55; Hotel Transylvania 3D (PG) 1:30 & 4:20; Skyfall (PG13) 12:20, 12:50, 3:30, 4, 6:40 & 9:45; Wreck-It Ralph (PG) 1:10 & 7; Wreck-It Raph 3D (PG) 4:10 & 9:35; Paranormal Activity 4 (R) 1:45, 4:30, 7:25 & 9:40; Fun Size (PG13) 1:40, 4:25, 7:30 & 9:30; Cloud Atlas (R) 12:55, 4:35 & 8:30; Argo (R) 12:40, 3:40, 6:30 & 9:20; Sinister (R) 7:15 & 10; Flight (R) 12:30, 3:50, 6:50 & 9:50.
Beacon Cinema (Pittsfield): Argo (R) 1:50, 4:30, 7:10 & 9:50; Wreck-It Ralph (PG) 12:40 & 4:40; Wreck-It Ralph 3D (PG) 1:45, 3:15, 6, 7:15 & 9:55; Taken 2 (PG13) 1:55, 4:15, 7:10 & 9:50; Skyfall (R) 1:35, 4:10, 6:50, 8:30 & 9:25; Cloud Atlas (R) 1:05, 5 & 8:50.
'Skyfall': Nobody does it better than 007.
Recommended read: Javier Bardem is a fun Bond villain
Triplex Cinema (Great Barrington): Argo (R) 1:20, 3:50, 6:20 & 8:50; The Other Son (Le fils de l'autre) (PG13) 12:30, 3:30, 6 & 9; Skyfall (PG13) 12:20, 3, 5:50 & 8:30; The Perks of Being a Wallflower (PG13) 2, 4:20, 6:40 & 9.
Images Cinema (Williamstown): Argo (R) 7 & 9:15.
Little Cinema (Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield): Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 7.
Crandell Theatre (Chatham, N.Y.): Argo (R) 7:15.