regular review Articles
Director: Adam Leon
Starring: Tashiana Washington, Ty Hickson, Meeko, Zoë LescazeThe Story: Two small-time graffiti artists concoct a plan to tag the large, mechanized apple at the Mets’ Citi Field, but must scrounge up $500 to make it happen. The Lowdown: A small, natural-feeling indie flick with a ton of heart.
Genre: Historical Drama
Director: Pablo Larraín (Post Mortem)
Starring: Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Luis Gnecco, Néstor Cantillana, Antonia ZegersThe Story: Fact-based drama about the campaign to overthrow Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet at the ballot box — and the marketing campaign that made it happen. The Lowdown: Funny, suspenseful, compelling entertainment that may only tell part of its historical story, but does so brilliantly.
Director: Tina Gordon Chism
Starring: Craig Robinson, Kerry Washington, David Alan Grier, S. Epatha Merkerson, Tyler James WilliamsThe Story: A working-class guy meets his girlfriend's upper-class family. Predicability ensues. The Lowdown: An energetic cast can do little to elevate this by-the-numbers, flat comedy that plays like a sitcom.
Genre: Sci-Fi Comic Book Action
Director: Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Ben KingsleyThe Story: Tony Stark (Iron Man) does battle with a terrorist super criminal -- sort of. The Lowdown: It's big. It's noisy. And it's mostly a dull mess that's marginally saved by its star. Very marginally.
Genre: Black Comedy
Director: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed HarrisThe Story: The real-life tale of three dim-witted, steroid-riddled bodybuilders’ kidnapping and extortion scheme that eventually goes awry. The Lowdown: While occasionally falling prey to director Michael Bay’s worst habits, the finished product is incredibly entertaining, wonderfully absurd and boasts a superb cast — assuming you can handle Bay’s overbearing directorial style.
Genre: Political Suspense Drama
Director: Robert Redford
Starring: Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Terrence Howard, Stanley TucciThe Story: An aging member of a radical group finds his life turned upside down when his true identity comes to light. The Lowdown: Robert Redford directed and stars in this complex political suspense drama that boasts a smart script and something approaching a dream cast.
Genre: Science Fiction
Director: Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-WaldauThe Story: A caretaker on the remnants of a post-apocalyptic Earth learns things may not be as he's been told. The Lowdown: Solidly-produced, incredibly derivative sci-fi that gets by on competence, but not much more.
Genre: Sports Biopic
Director: Brian Helgeland (The Order)
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Christopher MeloniThe Story: The tale of Jackie Robinson and the hardships he faced breaking baseball’s color barrier. The Lowdown: A basic biopic that’s too straightforward and heavy-handed, but perfectly solid if you’re looking for nothing more than an uplifting sports-crowd-pleaser.
Director: Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine)
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Dane DeHaan, Emory Cohen, Ben MendelsohnThe Story: Three stories — involving a dirt-bike-riding bank robber, a small-town cop and their respective sons — intersect. The Lowdown: An often flawed, overlong drama that remains worthy of attention because of its humanely drawn characters and sheer ambition.
Genre: Jingoistic Revenge Action
Director: Antoine Fuqua (Training Day)
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett, Melissa LeoThe Story: Renegade North Korean terrorists take over the White House and one Secret Service agent must save the president — and possibly the United States itself. The Lowdown: Preposterous, yet utterly predictable, nasty little jingoistic thriller with bad special effects. Loud, mean-spirited, fairly appalling Die Hard rip-off that will probably make a fortune.
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