‘prisoners,’ ‘wadjda’ And Other New Movies, Reviewed

Book fans deserve better movies

I felt very fortunate.” Although the seed of the idea for Don Jon goes back five years or so, it wasn’t until Gordon-Levitt was in Vancouver making 50/50 – the 2011 comedy with Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick about a guy diagnosed with cancer – that everything clicked. ” 50/50 is a comedy that is not all about the jokes,” Gordon-Levitt explains, on the phone from Boston recently. “The humor comes from the people in the story, the characters, the human beings. “And then I thought of trying to tell this story in that tone, finding the humor in what could be seen as a dark situation, and I started thinking of this version of a contemporary Don Juan character.” He adds: “The idea of me playing this guy with the gym body and shiny hair made me laugh. . . . It felt like a challenge, and it felt funny.” And the idea of directing himself? How did that feel? Daunting? “There’s no room for doubt,” he insists, conceding that he did have his doubts earlier in the writing process. “You know, those voices in your head: ‘Maybe this isn’t the one I should do. I don’t know if I’m really good enough to do this, other people could do this better’ – you always have those feelings, those thoughts. I think anybody who’s making anything has those thoughts and feelings.

Their platonic friendship (yes, platonic!) is rendered with great humor, poignancy and dignity. Michael OSullivan (No rating) The Wizard of Oz 3D IMAX (PG) Seeing The Wizard of Oz on the big screen also offers an opportunity to consider the incredible special effects, considering the film was shot more than seven decades ago and long before computer-generated imagery. The black-and-white scenes of Dorothy battling against the wind as a twister approaches were especially transporting. Stephanie Merry 1/2 Wadjda (PG) Youre seeing a world on screen that, until now, has been largely hidden from the filmgoing world at large. Because in addition to being a terrific garden-variety coming-of-age film, Wadjda happens to be the first feature-length movie ever made in Saudi Arabia all the more notable in that its been made by a woman, about a young girl chafing against the religious and social strictures of a kingdom literally shrouded in sexual anxiety, misogyny and severe repression. Ann Hornaday 1/2 Salinger (PG-13) While much of the movie consists of variations on this same theme that Salinger was a brilliant, flawed man the film also delves into more salacious matters, including the role of Catcher in the shootings of Ronald Reagan, John Lennon and Rebecca Schaeffer (gunmen John Hinckley Jr., Mark David Chapman and Robert John Bardo were all fans of the novel). Stephanie Merry The Henchmans War (Unrated) Greene, a native Washingtonian with a handful of local directorial and co-producing credits on his resume, has an eye for urban grit and an ear for tough-guy dialogue. He makes excellent use of his shadowy locations, lending War the coveted visual grime that enhances such pulp-noir material. Sean OConnell 1/2 Battle of the Year (PG-13) Lee is attempting to keep a spotlight shining on b-boy culture, an aggressive style of street dancing that consists of body-contorting twists, flips, leaps, spins and poses set to hip-hop music. Lee showcased this next level of competitive breakdancing in his award-winning 2008 documentary Planet B-Boy , and a feature film building on that awareness makes complete sensejust not five years later, when the fad appears to have faded. Sean OConnell My Lucky Star (Unrated) Bringing Sophies comics to life, the movie interjects drawings and animated sequences. The camera spins excitedly, and the editing is brisk. Split-screen compositions evoke the 1960s, as do Sophies pop-art ensembles, which include a lilac wig with matching lipstick. This girlie romp is less about martial arts and espionage than stuffed animals and dress-up. Mark Jenkins 1/2 Good OlFreda (PG) Ryan White weaves in archival footage of girls fainting and images of old headlines. The soundtrack consists primarily of Beatles covers. While the tales of the bands spectacular rise create a genial mood, the film feels superficial. Kelly can be cagey, and when a voice offscreen asks if she ever dated any of the guys, she demurs, saying, Thats personal. Stephanie Merry 1/2 Ip Man: The Final Fight (PG-13) The showiest action sequence involves lion dancers who battle atop high wooden posts. The grittiest and final one sends Ip to save one of his former pupils, whos risked fighting for money inside the gangster-controlled Kowloon Walled City.

On Movies: Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s ‘Don Jon’: Getting past that objectification thing

Writer/director/star Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson in "Don Jon," his directing debut, opening Friday.

Beautiful Creatures received positive reviews from 46 percent of critics. In addition, the film made just $7.5 million in its first weekend, according to E! Online. The first Twilight movie made $7 million just from its opening midnight showing. Beautiful Creatures and Mortal Instruments have been called poor rip-offs of Twilight. Its the perfect movie for those who thought the Twilight series just wasnt quite teenage girly enough, said Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic, about The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Movie directors and producers seem to have the false idea that as long as there are pretty boys and supernatural happenings, teenage girls will be dying to see their movies. If this were the case, every single movie made would be a roaring success. Obviously, girls are not drinking the film companies Kool Aid. It seems like film producers think any girl between the ages of 13 and 18 will want to go to a movie as long as there is a cute boy. While cute boys are always a plus, there are other factors that make a movie enjoyable. First, many girls want the movies to bear some similarity to the books theyre based on. Readers understand some things have to be changed and left out in the adaptation process. But, when the movies plot is so different from the books that they could be two unrelated projects, fans get disappointed.

Home Movies

Unfinished Song is easy to swallow and void of awkward lumps. It even nourishes the soul at some base level thanks to the superlative performances from the highly laurelled cast that features Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave as the aging couple, and Gemma Arterton and Christopher Eccleston as the youngsters trying to help in their own way. Though it feels like a cross between The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the 2007 documentary about a seniorsa choir, Young@Heart, the filmas undeniable sincerity is bound to win you over. Special features include outtakes and deleted scenes. AMONG FRIENDS: One and a half stars out of five a Low-budget horror movies crawl around the DVD release list like so many cockroaches angling for a Twinkie crumb, and Among Friends is a great example of the average slasher looking for your attention: a cheesy mix of fake blood and amputated limbs punctuated by a lot of screaming and close-ups of pretty girls with runny mascara. What makes Among Friends a little bit different is the fact it was directed by cheapo horror veteran Danielle Harris a an actress whoas been maimed, tortured, raped and ritually killed on screen several times over. Harris gets some female payback with this story of a high school reunion where the party guests are drugged, bound and eventually forced to atone for past sins a including standing by while a mutual friend was raped at a party. If only there had been a little bit more bone with all the blood, this could have been special. Sadly, itas all clichA. But at least itas short. Special features include behind the scenes and character bios. FILL THE VOID: One star out of five a Like suffocating beneath a thick layer of protective plastic, Fill the Void feels like slow death. Indeed, if you ever wondered what it might feel like to be zipped up in a body bag while still breathing, but unable to move, this is the movie that brings it all home as it forces the viewer to accept a lack of oxygen and freedom without a fight. As itas set against the backdrop of Israelas ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, weare introduced to the beautiful Shira (Hadas Yaron), an 18-year-old woman who looks up to her older sister, who is about to give birth. When her sister dies and leaves behind a widower and an infant, Shiraas grieving mother begs her to marry the man left behind so the family can stay in Israel.