Capsule reviews of films playing the week of Nov. 30 | Film Clips | Creative Loafing Charlotte

Film » Film Clips

Capsule reviews of films playing the week of Nov. 30

by

comment

Page 6 of 9

MONEYBALL Like a businessman settling into his recliner after a hard day's work, Brad Pitt has slid into middle age with an ease that's both pleasurable and enviable to watch. Pitt's always been a fine actor, of course, but around the turn of the century, he's really upped his game, from his quirky turns in Snatch and Burn After Reading to his scene-stealing subterfuge in those Ocean's films to his thoughtful interpretations in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and The Tree of Life. (Go figure that my least favorite Pitt performance of late, as Benjamin Button, is the one that nabbed him an Oscar nomination.) Moneyball, directed by Capote's Bennett Miller and adapted from a true story by the powerhouse team of Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) and Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List), finds Pitt as his most dynamic; he's cast as Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, who in 2001-2002 is tired of losing both games and star players to better funded baseball teams like the Yankees and the Red Sox. Refusing to continue adhering to the old-school philosophies preached by his assemblage of geriatric scouts, he instead discovers a newer religion being espoused by Peter (Johan Hill), an economics major from Yale who possesses a love for the game and a head for numbers-crunching. Employing a math-based system (sabermetrics, created by Bill James) that finds the value in underappreciated players deemed as too old/awkward/iffy by other organizations, Beane starts collecting these diamond castoffs as if they were baseball cards in the hopes that they'll coalesce into a winning team. Whether or not one subscribes to the "moneyball" philosophy — it's worked well for some teams, not so great for others — is irrelevant when it comes to enjoying a motion picture that takes a potentially arid subject and makes it sing on screen. Its success has less to do with Bennett, whose mise en scenes show little variance (a similar staidness also dogged Capote), than with the scripters and the actors, all of whom exhibit a quicksilver strategy in keeping this thing popping. Put this one in the W column. ***

MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS Aside from Tom Popper (Jim Carrey) mistakenly believing that "BFF" stands for Big Fat Friend, the only original element to be found anywhere in Mr. Popper's Penguins is the character of Pippi, Popper's personal assistant and a Brit prone to parleying with prose that begins with the letter "p." The London-born actress with the terrific name of Ophelia Lovibond essays this role, and she provides a lift to every scene in which she appears. Unfortunately, she doesn't appear nearly enough to save this ghastly family film. A bastardization of the award-winning children's book, this finds Carrey cast as a ruthless businessman with daddy issues, spousal issues, and neglected kids issues. Mr. Popper has always placed his job above all else, but that changes after he receives a parting gift from his deceased father: six penguins (given names like Loudy, Bitey and Stinky) that take over his apartment and his life. The penguins seen in the picture are a mix of actual animals and CGI creations, and here's a quick primer for those unable to tell the difference: The ones acting normal are the real birds while the ones pooping in Popper's face or leaning over to break wind are the fake ones. Watching the real penguins, your have to feel sorry for them — in this picture, they get less respect than Rodney Dangerfield. Still, they fare better than Carrey, who's simply required to react to the wacky penguin shenanigans. Small children might get restless during the sequences in which Popper tries to patch up his relationship with his ex-wife (wasted Carla Gugino), but they'll otherwise be kept entertained by the animal antics. Adults, on the other hand, might want to stay away — as Pippi would doubtless note, this movie is putrid, puerile and painful. *

Related Film

Official Site: www.foxsearchlight.com/marthamarcymaymarlene

Director: T. Sean Durkin

Writer: T. Sean Durkin

Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson, Brady Corbet, Hugh Dancy, Louisa Krause, Maria Dizzia, Julia Garner and Christopher Abbott

Related Film

Official Site: www.likecrazy.com

Director: Drake Doremus

Writer: Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones

Cast: Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin, Chris Messina, Alex Kingston, Jennifer Lawrence, Finola Hughes, Charlie Bewley, Jamie Thomas King, Oliver Muirhead and Ben York Jones

Related Film

Official Site: www.contagionmovie.com

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Scott Z. Burns

Producer: Jeff Skoll, Michael Polaire, Jonathan King and Ricky Strauss

Cast: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard, Bryan Cranston, Sanaa Lathan and Jennifer Ehle

Related Film

Official Site: www.kungfupanda.com

Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Writer: Glenn Berger and Jonathan Aibel

Producer: Melissa Cobb

Cast: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Gary Oldman and Michelle Yeoh

Related Film

Director: Peter A. Ramsey

Cast: Antonio Banderas

Related Film

Official Site: www.WarriorFilm.com

Director: Gavin O'Connor

Writer: Gavin O'Connor, Anthony Tambakis and Cliff Dorfman

Producer: Greg O'Connor

Cast: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Kurt Angle, Kevin Dunn, Bryan Callen, Jennifer Morrison, Jake McLaughlin, Frank Grillo and Liam Ferguson

Related Film

Official Site: www.steelgetsreal.com

Director: Shawn Levy

Writer: John Gatins and Richard Mathis

Producer: Shawn Levy, Susan Montford, Don Murphy and Robert Zemeckis

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Dakota Goyo, Kevin Durand and Anthony Mackie

Related Film

Official Site: www.apeswillrise.com

Director: Rupert Wyatt

Writer: Amanda Silver, Rick Jaffa, Jamie Moss and Pierre Boulle

Producer: Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa

Cast: James Franco, Tom Felton, Andy Serkis, Brian Cox, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, David Hewlett, Tyler Labine, Leah Gibson and Jamie Harris

Related Film

Official Site: www.breakingdawn-themovie.com

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Melissa Rosenberg and Stephenie Meyer

Producer: Wyck Godfrey, Stephenie Meyer and Karen Rosenfelt

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Jackson Rathbone, Amadou Ly, Ty Olsson and Wendell Pierce

Related Film

Official Site: www.dreamhousemovie.net

Director: Jim Sheridan

Writer: David Loucka

Producer: Daniel Bobker, Ehren Kruger, David C. Robinson and James G. Robinson

Cast: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Marton Csokas, Claire Geare, Taylor Geare, Rachel G. Fox, Mark Wilson, Jonathan Potts and Lynne Griffin

Related Film

Official Site: www.jackandjill-movie.com

Director: Dennis Dugan

Writer: Steve Koren

Producer: Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo and Todd Garner

Cast: Adam Sandler, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, Allen Covert, Dana Carvey, Natalie Gal, Tim Meadows, Katelyn Pacitto, Valerie Mahaffey and Regis Philbin

Related Film

Official Site: www.anonymous-movie.com

Director: Roland Emmerich

Writer: John Orloff

Producer: Roland Emmerich, Larry Franco and Robert Léger

Cast: Xavier Samuel, Rhys Ifans, Jamie Campbell Bower, Vanessa Redgrave, David Thewlis, Joely Richardson, Rafe Spall, Derek Jacobi, Tom Wlaschiha and Edward Hogg

Related Film

Official Site: www.three-musketeers-3d.com

Director: Paul W. S. Anderson

Writer: Andrew Davies and Alex Litvak

Cast: Logan Lerman, Milla Jovovich, Orlando Bloom, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Christoph Waltz, Mads Mikkelson, Juno Temple and Gabriella Wilde

Related Film

Official Site: www.towerheist.net

Director: Brett Ratner

Writer: Ted Griffin and Jeff Nathanson

Producer: Brian Grazer, Eddie Murphy and Kim Roth

Cast: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Tea Leoni, Casey Affleck, Michael Peña, Alan Alda, Judd Hirsch and Gabourey Sidibe

Related Film

Official Site: www.abductionthefilm.com

Director: John Singleton

Writer: Shawn Christensen and Jeffrey Nachmanoff

Producer: Doug Davison, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Dan Lautner, Roy Lee and Lee Stollman

Cast: Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Sigourney Weaver, Jason Isaacs, Maria Bello, Michael Nyqvist, Antonique Smith, Denzel Whitaker and Nickola Shreli

Related Film

Official Site: www.thehelpmovie.com

Director: Tate Taylor

Writer: Tate Taylor and Kathryn Stockett

Producer: Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan

Cast: Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain, Mike Vogel, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Jessica Chastain and Chris Lowell

Related Film

Official Site: www.popperspenguins.com

Director: Mark Waters

Writer: Sean Anders and John Morris

Cast: Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino, Maxwell Perry Cotton, Andrew Stewart-Jones and Curtis Shumaker

Related Film

Official Site: www.moneyball-movie.com

Director: Bennett Miller

Writer: Michael Lewis and Stan Chervin

Producer: Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt

Cast: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt, Kathryn Morris, Tammy Blanchard, Erin Pickett, Sergio Garcia and Stephen Bishop

Related Film

Official Site: www.intimemovie.com

Director: Andrew Niccol

Writer: Andrew Niccol

Producer: Marc Abraham and Eric Newman

Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Justin Timberlake, Alex Pettyfer, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Elena Satine, Ethan Peck, Matthew Bomer and Vincent Kartheiser

Related Film

Official Site: www.drive-movie.com

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Writer: Hossein Amini

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Ron Perlman, Christina Hendricks and Bryan Cranston

Related Film

Official Site: www.KillerElite.com

Director: Gary McKendry

Writer: Matt Sherring

Cast: Jason Statham, Robert De Niro, Clive Owen, Yvonne Strahovski, Dominic Purcell, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Grant Bowler, Michael Dorman, Ben Mendelsohn and Aden Young

Related Film

Official Site: www.sonyclassics.com/theskinilivein

Director: Thierry Jonquet, Éditions Gallimar, Pedro Almodóvar and Agustín Almodóva

Writer: Pedro Almodóvar

Producer: Agustín Almodóvar and Esther García

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Corne, Roberto Álam, Eduard Fernández, Blanca Suárez, Susi Sánche, Bárbara Lenni and Fernando Cay

Related Film

Official Site: jedgarmovie.warnerbros.com

Director: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Dustin Lance Black

Producer: Clint Eastwood, Brian Grazer and Robert Lorenz

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Josh Lucas, Lea Thompson, Ed Westwick, Armie Hammer, Dermot Mulroney, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Donovan and Stephen Root


Add a comment