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.
Director: Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Elizabeth Debicki, Isla FisherThe Story: Film version of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. The Lowdown: A big, daring, audacious interpretation of the novel that brings it to life in ways you probably never dreamed possible. It's every inch a Baz Luhrmann film, so that will probably tell you a lot. You may not like it, but I'm calling it a must-see. Truly visionary filmmaking is so rare.
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: Biographical Drama
Director: Gilles Bourdos (Afterwards)
Starring: Michel Bouquet, Christa Theret, Vincent Rottiers, Thomas DoretThe Story: Biographical drama about the aged painter, his future filmmaker son and the young woman who inspired them both during the summer of 1915. The Lowdown: An almost impossibly beautiful-looking film — one so visually arresting that it more than makes up for the leisurely nature of its approach. Actually, the story itself is much deeper and revelatory than may be suggested at first glance.
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.
Director: Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter)
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Paulson, Ray McKinnon, Sam ShepardThe Story: Two boys in a small Southern river town help a fugitive fix up a boat for his getaway with the woman he came back for. The Lowdown: An altogether exceptional film about Southern life as seen through the eyes of two boys on what seems to them a romantic adventure. Highly recommended.
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