(USA) Directed by Rob Marshall. Starring Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane. Category IIA.
(USA) Whoever thought that a movie filled with so many glamorous stars can be so drab? Never mind that director Rob Marshall (Chicago) fills the screen with shapely, gorgeous women wearing fishnets, high heels, bling blings and very little of everything else. As in Chicago, Marshall tries to dodge past contemporary viewers’ resistance to musicals by consigning the songs to fantasy sequences, but the conceit doesn’t work as well the second time around and the premise is feeling a tad old and condescending.
(USA) It’s always displeasing to exit a cinema hall thinking, “That could have been sooo much better.” Isabel Coixet’s (The Secret Life of Words) Elegy leaves one coming away with just that—a dispiriting sensation of knowing that the ingredients were all spot-on yet the pie, somehow, turned out to be a forgettable piece of fluff. Elegy’s premise isn’t alien; in fact it’s very much the opposite. How many times have we sat through the old-pervy-professor-falls-for-the-young-nubile-raven-haired-beaute offering?
(Spain) It takes quite a few elements to be a world-class film maestro—a crazy mind, a unique style, a muse and a whole lot of issues. Spain’s national treasure Pedro Almodóvar has all these qualities in his pocket, and he makes use of them in Broken Embraces. And it turns out ... hmm ... fine.
Since Woody Allen officially went off the deep end a decade ago, critics have repeatedly proclaimed the Big Woody Comeback. They hailed its arrival with “Anything Else” (2003), then with “Melinda and Melinda” (2004), and again with “Match Point” (2005). The eager ejaculations proved woefully premature every time. Unsurprisingly, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is the latest to be declared a “return to form” for Allen. Again, it’s far from on par with much of his prelapsarian work.
"Volver" is a festive, pleasingly sentimental movie about a three generations of women in the windy La Mancha region of Spain, which is also said to have the highest insanity rate in the country. Penelope Cruz clenches a stunning performance as Raimunda, a young mother struggling to stop her world and daughter from spinning out of control. Death is a recurring theme throughout the movie, which starts at a cemetery where masses of women are cleaning their future gravestones.
"Sahara" is one of those silly action movies you know will be silly before the lights go down. After 127 minutes, it's become silly multiplied, squared and cubed. In short, it's silly but fun, but let's hope the producers don't do something really silly like make a franchise out of it.