Early in “Captain Phillips,” the cargo ship captain (Tom Hanks) and his wife (Catherine Keener) drive from their Vermont home to the airport where he’ll take a flight to his next job, one that will bring him face-to-face with the less fortunate on the other side of the globe. Like the chatter of so many couples, their conversation turns to their general feeling of economic uncertainty.
“It just seems like the world’s movin’ so fast,” says Phillips, wondering about the future their kids will inherit. “Big wheels are turning.”
The role that recently won Leonardo DiCaprio a Golden Globe Award and his fourth Oscar nomination is easily the most outrageous in the celebrated actor’s career. In Wolf of Wall Street, the once-innocuous boy who boarded the Titanic delves into the shocking excesses of wealth, greed, sex and drugs that tanked (temporarily) the life of real-life mega stockbroker Jordan Belfort. Fortunately, the 39-year-old actor is much too serious and sober to bask in such extremes in his own life. Although the Oscar-nominated film has been criticized for glamorizing the reckless hedonism of Wall Street while ignoring its victims, DiCaprio condemns the financial power mongers, the “almighty dollar” and the need for altruism.
Exploring deeply conflicted characters who are on a mission to reconceive their unsatisfying circumstances is director David O. Russell’s sweet spot. From his raw 1996 film Flirting with Disaster to last year’s acclaimed Silver Linings Playbook, he effectively unravels the disarray.
How essential are physical and emotional connections when falling in love? What would you miss — looking into someone’s eyes, caressing them? In Her, Spike Jonze’s futuristic exploration of a man’s relationship with his computer, the filmmaker surveys human disjunction.
Gay filmmaker Darren Stein takes us back to school with his campy and colorful new comedy G.B.F. This is familiar territory for Stein, who also directed Jawbreaker, the classic 1990s Mean Girls precursor.
G.B.F. (“gay best friend, for the uninitiated) cranks up the homo high school hi-jinx with a story about an unintentional outing and the resulting chaos that ensues. Narrator Tanner (Michael J. Willett) transforms from invisible man on campus to the dude in demand as he navigates the choppy waters of the high school shark tank.
And the nominees for Oscars are …
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and actor Chris Hemsworth announced this year's Oscar nominations on Jan. 16 at 8:38 a.m. EST in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif.
It’s unlikely that any family dinner of yours will equal the rollicking, vicious one at the heart of August: Osage County, the blistering film adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning Tracy Letts play starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.
Underscoring deeply conflicted characters, who are on a mission to reconceive their unsatisfying circumstances, has become director David O. Russell’s sweet spot. From his raw 1996 film, “Flirting with Disaster,” to last year’s acclaimed “Silver Linings Playbook,” he effectively unravels the disarray.
In the 1970s-set con artist tale “American Hustle,” Russell’s ability to depict an audacious take on a bedlam breakdown peaks, making this his most entertaining jaunt yet.
Actor/model Kellan Lutz is not competing in the Olympics, but he’d feel right at home on the top of Mount Olympus. Lutz might look familiar for his roles as Emmett Cullen in the Twilight movies or as Poseidon in 2011’s Immortals. Or you might recognize him as one of the models featured in the 2010 Calvin Klein X underwear campaign.
Hollywood may be hoping for a little less drama in 2014.
2013 was a tale of two cinemas. Intended blockbusters such as “The Lone Ranger” and “After Earth” flopped spectacularly while many in the industry (including Steven Spielberg) bemoaned the increasingly commercial trajectory of the studios. And yet by the end of the year, Hollywood had set a record with nearly $11 billion in revenue, while critics hailed the year’s crop as one of the best in years.
In the first 10 minutes of Inside Llewyn Davis, an unidentified stranger knocks the titular character to his knees in an alley behind a cafe in New York’s Greenwich Village. The genesis of this animosity is left unanswered until the final moments of the Coen brothers’ latest dark comedy, leaving us to wonder why anyone would beat up a folk singer.
An ingeniously simple setup is cunningly exploited for maximum suspense in “Hours,” a slow-building, consistently engrossing drama set during and immediately after the devastation wrought on New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.