Eco-terrorism grips in ‘Night Moves’

Written by JAKE COYLE,
AP Film Writer
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 22:27

In Kelly Reichardt’s spare, eco-terrorist thriller, the two spurts of violence that disturb the placid pine forests of the Pacific Northwest are each hazy with fog. One is a misty nighttime bombing of a hydroelectric dam, the other a fatal encounter in a sauna.

A thick moral cloudiness hangs over “Night Moves,” Reichardt’s fifth film. Three disillusioned environmentalist radicals conspire to send a message by blowing up a dam that has upset the local ecosystem. Clad in wet wool hats, they’re far from romantic terrorists like Carlos the Jackal. One, after all, is played by Jesse Eisenberg.

The most buzzed-about performances at Cannes

Written by JAKE COYLE,
AP Film Writer
Monday, 26 May 2014 14:08

The 67th annual Cannes Film Festival featured a number of remarkable performances, many of them from big-name stars. These were among the actors that had Cannes buzzing:

• Steve Carell: It was an open question which star of Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” turned in the most impressive performance. There’s Channing Tatum as Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz, a physically potent but emotionally stunted man. And as his older sibling and mentor, Mark Ruffalo’s brotherly physicality is also essential. But Carell, with a prosthetic nose and grayed hair, was the one to cause the biggest stir at Cannes for his dramatic turn as the creepy multi-millionaire John du Pont who’s obsessed with the other two.

Chilling 'Godzilla' reboot upholds legacy

Written by Jessica Herndon,
AP Film writer
Saturday, 17 May 2014 16:06

No one can blame Gareth Edwards for admittedly feeling nervous when asked to helm a remake of the biggest monster movie of all time. Sure, the only other film he had directed happened to be 2010’s Monsters. But this time, it was Godzilla.

‘Four’ lacks authenticity

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Friday, 02 May 2014 12:35

Four, the full-length feature film debut by writer/director Joshua Sanchez, is an adaptation of award-winning gay playwright Christopher Shinn’s first play. An intimate portrait of four characters’ lives intersecting on the fourth of July, the film features solid performances, but the film as a whole comes off as self-conscious.

‘Normal Heart’ beats with outrage

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Friday, 30 May 2014 14:23

Taylor Kitsch and Mark Ruffalo in Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, now available on HBO. Photo: HBO

A long time in the making (Barbra Streisand held up the screen rights for years), the movie adaptation of Larry Kramer’s difficult early AIDS-era play The Normal Heart finally premiered May 25 on HBO. It was a fitting start for the Memorial Day Weekend, as there are so many friends, family and loved ones who must not be forgotten.

Matthew Vaughn and a superb cast reinvigorated the franchise with cool retro style and globe-trotting intrigue in 2011’s “X-Men: First Class.” The series’ original director, Bryan Singer, continues that momentum in the vigorously entertaining “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” While it’s more dramatically diffuse than the reboot and lacks a definitive villain, the new film is shot through with a stirring reverence for the Marvel Comics characters and their universe. And it ups the stakes by threatening nothing less than the genocide of the mutant population, among them faces old and new.

Hardcore followers will have a geek field day dissecting the challenging pretzel logic of writer-producer Simon Kinberg’s screenplay, from a story by Jane Goldman, Kinberg and Vaughn, who had originally planned to direct. The central premise comes from the 1981 Uncanny X-Men comic “Days of Future Past,” in which Kitty Pryde (recently out Ellen Page) uses her consciousness transference powers to go back from a dystopian future and rewrite history.

Summer cinema sans superheroes

Written by Jake Coyle,
AP film writer
Thursday, 15 May 2014 20:12

Keira Knightley and Adam Levin in Begin Again. – Photo: Courtesy

More exotic creatures thrive in the shadows of summer blockbusters. Here are 10 of the most anticipated indie films due this summer, nary a caped superhero or city-crushing monster among them.

Straight and gay, uncensored

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Friday, 02 May 2014 12:31

Butch Cordora, host of the gay Philadelphia TV talk show In Bed With Butch, is the main subject of the 2010 documentary Straight and Butch. The program airs on Here TV beginning May 30 and continuing through June, which is Gay Pride Month.

Rainbow streamers: Netflix celebrates LGBT Pride Month

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Wednesday, 28 May 2014 03:49

Netflix is celebrating LGBT Pride Month with a series of films and TV shows with an LGBT theme or LGBT characters or available for streaming.

The video-streaming service also will make Season 2 of "Orange is the New Black" available beginning June 6.

Unauthorized “Saint Laurent” shows YSL’s dark side

AP writer
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 10:05

His surviving gay lover Pierre Berge didn’t want this film to see the light of day.

But over the weekend, the controversial, no-holds-barred story of one of the 20th-century’s greatest fashion designers, Yves Saint Laurent, who died in 2008, screened in competition at Cannes.

'The Immigrant' a somber masterpiece

Written by Jake Coyle,
AP writer
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 11:23

Floating in past a misty Statue of Liberty, James Gray's "The Immigrant" somberly gathers its majesty as a metaphor-rich story of passage and survival. It's an old tale told with rare precision, channeling grand themes into an intimate melodrama.

Ellis Island, a portal of hope and new beginning for films from Elia Kazan's "America, America" to Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather, Part II," is here a more complicated rebirth.

‘Chicago’ burns with talent

Written by Gregg Shapiro,
Contributing writer
Friday, 02 May 2014 12:24

When Kander & Ebb’s Tony Award-winning musical Chicago finally hit the big screen in 2002 after a few failed attempts (including proposed versions rumored to star Liza Minnelli and Goldie Hawn), it was a massive success. The winner of six Oscars, including best picture, Chicago seemed to signal the return of the big-screen movie musical.