Acting life after Breaking Bad is going well for Anna Gunn, with a key role in the upcoming Sully and her shrewd portrayal of a she-wolf of Wall Street in Equity.
Gunn brings Skyler White steeliness to the role of Naomi Bishop, a senior investment banker on the rebound from a failed bid to underwrite a lucrative IPO. Another deal is in the works, with a software developer whose social media privacy program is going public. Naomi's ambition and caution give Gunn ample shades of don't-mess-with-me to play....
OPENING FRIDAY: HANDS OF STONE
Robert De Niro is starring in another boxing movie, so the immediate question is: How does it measure up to the Oscar winner's previous boxing flick?
I'm referring, of course, to 2013's Grudge Match with Sylvester Stallone.
There's no way the Roberto Durán biopic Hands of Stone (R) can go toe-to-toe with Raging Bull....
What this election year needs now is love, sweet love.
Richard Tanne's feature debut Southside With You, dramatizing the first date of first couple Barack and Michelle Obama, could have moviegoers holding hands across the aisle.
Tanne, 31, wrote and directed his $1.5 million indie with bipartisan romance in mind. Days prior to its release, Tanne's film hadn't been targeted much in social media by politically motivated critics of his subjects....
Even if their names were John and Mary, the two people soon to be a couple at the center of Southside With You could make viewers swoon. Richard Tanne's walk-and-talk slice of budding romantic life is that good at expressing those small moments when love begins taking hold.
Their names, however, are Barack and Michelle — Obama and, for now, Robinson, destined within two decades to be U.S. president and first lady. On this summertime Chicago day in 1989 she's a law office associate mentoring a summer associate, joining Barack at a community meeting about a thwarted inner city rec center....
Let's cut to the chariot chase. The latest screen version of Ben-Hur would be little more than a condensed miniseries without it, framed for small television screens, with performances to fit.
Director Timur Bekmambetov, no slouch in the action department, knows that's what this remake has going for it, that and the church crowd. Lew Wallace's 1880 novel is regarded as a Christian cultural influence, but a little crashing and smiting never hurts the box office....
Where is Michael Moore when we need him?
Conservatives insist we don't. Liberals wish Moore had a Fahrenheit 9/11 up his flannel sleeve for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Those of us in the middle miss the days when a political documentary could rile the electorate, when filmmakers like Moore and Citizens United founder David Bossie could be both reviled and revered as enemies of the state....
The American dream smells like gunpowder in War Dogs, a story too good to be made up.
Rolling Stone told it in 2011, profiling two 20-something Miami stoners turned international arms dealers, scamming the Pentagon for millions. The story was also too good to be passed up by director and co-writer Todd Phillips, an expert detailer of masculine misbehavior after Old School and the Hangover trilogy....
INDIE FLICKS: DON'T THINK TWICE
A close-knit improvisational troupe falls apart in writer-director Mike Birbiglia's Don't Think Twice (R), an uncommonly wise movie about comedian psyches, their propelling egos and extrovert fragility. Birbiglia's standup experiences made 2012's Sleepwalk With Me the finest nondocumentary ever about the serious art of comedy; this one is right there with it....
Kubo and the Two Strings is lovely to behold, if viewers manage to keep their eyes open. It's an animated doozy and drowser at once, an uncomfortable mix of Miyazaki-style imagination and generic dullness. Snooze and you don't necessarily lose.
Aesthetically speaking, Kubo and the Two Strings is a step up for Laika, the Oregon-based animation studio that previously inflicted The Boxtrolls on audiences. Like that grotesquerie, Kubo — no title strings attached — beams with the self-congratulation of its stop-motion animators: Look at what we can do....
Home is where Charleene Closshey's heart and movie are, a Plant City native with a Hollywood dream.
Earlier this month, Closshey, 35, began filming No Postage Necessary, a dramedy for which she produces and stars. She expects to wrap principal photography on Aug. 23 on the low budget indie produduction.
Making her movie practically in her childhood backyard is icing on the strawberry shortcake....
West Texas as depicted in David Mackenzie's crime drama Hell or High Water is no country for unarmed men. It's a parched place of desperate characters and Texas Rangers chasing them, with bystanders willing to lend a truck or gun to the pursuit.
Welcome to the wild new West, where modern economics collide with frontier swagger, resulting in a spree of bank robberies and a cagey manhunt. The culprits are the Howard brothers: Toby (Chris Pine) with his looks should've been something more; Tanner (Ben Foster) is nothing more than a temperamental ex-con....
08/12/16 Human Interest
NEW ORLEANS — On a balmy night on dry land, hell breaks out again on the Deepwater Horizon.
Not the British Petroleum-leased oil rig that exploded on April 20, 2010, unleashing an environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, but a partial replica built nearly to scale in an abandoned amusement park.
This time, the holocaust is controlled. Nobody is going to die.
Only in the movies....
After success as a producer and Ang Lee's favorite screenwriter, James Schamus makes an impressive directing debut with Indignation, an oasis of summer movie intelligence.
Based on Philip Roth's novel, Indignation is the story of Marcus Messner, who is, like many Roth protagonists, young, Jewish and sexually curious. Marcus is the son of a Brooklyn butcher and put-upon mother, escaping to a small, mostly gentile Ohio college in 1951. He's a bright student, perhaps too aware of usually being the smartest person in the room. Grades come first, with sociability lagging behind....
INDIE FLICKS: WIENER-DOG
Todd Solondz returns to spiky form with Wiener-Dog (R), a quartet of character studies linked by a dachshund and mordant dramedy. It's the filmmaker's most divisive work since Happiness two decades ago, after its finale ignited jeers at the Sundance premiere. No spoilers, but if a romantic camera pan along a trail of doggie diarrhea didn't set them off earlier, you can imagine what occurs....
Like its titular, tone deaf heroine, Florence Foster Jenkins shouldn't entertain as much as it does. The movie is broadly written and performed, gliding past any issues that would distract from the spectacle this shaky chanteuse makes of herself.
Florence, as the movie's marketers scramble to explain, was a 20th century New York City heiress and patron of the arts, and all she wanted in return was to sing opera. The problem was that she couldn't, in any sense of the art. She did concerts, badly, and recordings worse....