All hail the arrival (and return) of Oscar-nominated flicks! And also Airplane on its 30th anniversary.
The marriage in director Derek Cianfrance’s drama is a car wreck that you just can’t take your eyes off of. Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling fall in love, get married and have a child. Then the whole world goes to hell. Their story bounces back and forth from budding romance to destruction and explores the mysterious process of love turning into hate. Their marriage doesn’t offer concrete answers — maybe there aren’t any — but it paints a compelling portrait of real life getting in the way of love. (CF) Rated R | SHOWTIMES
THE COMPANY MEN
Apparently in America we give our lives to our jobs. This film examines what happens when our lives are no longer defined by those jobs. Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper are men of our current moment. Affleck’s and Cooper’s lives are turned upside down by corporate layoffs; Jones is a boss wrestling with the other side of it. Kevin Costner offers a foil to these men as a house builder with pride in his craft. His hands are callused from carpentry tools rather than golf clubs. (CF) Rated R | SHOWTIMES
[thumb up] THE MECHANIC
This remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson/Jan-Michael Vincent film about a hit man and the young guy he takes under his wing does what a remake is supposed to do: It turns a mediocre film into a good one. The veteran contract killer is now played by Jason Statham, and his uppity charge is played by Ben Foster. Quite violent, but with a bit of a philosophical soul. (ES) Rated R | SHOWTIMES
[DVD ] THE RITE
It’s just another possessed-by-Satan movie. (Yawn.) But this time, as the Exorcist-in-Chief, we got Hannibal Lecter — so watch out, Beelzebub! When a young cleric — who has doubts about this whole priesthood thing, anyway — flies to Rome for exorcism boot camp, it turns out that his demon-defyin’ drill sergeant is none other than Sir Anthony Hopkins himself. Lucifer gonna get his liver eaten with a nice Chianti! (ES) Rated PG-13 | SHOWTIMES
[gem] 127 HOURS
Aron Ralston (James Franco) likes extreme sports and enjoys being alone. So it’s no surprise that one of his favorite activities is exploring rocks and caves out in the Utah wilderness. Unfortunately that’s a bad place to be alone when you fall into a deep crevasse, are practically immobilized, and your supplies are dwindling. Danny Boyle’s cameras go down there with him, chronicle his survival techniques, trip out into some inner fantasies, and celebrate the human spirit. Great performance, inventive film. (ES) Rated R | SHOWTIMES
“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking,” and Roger Stack, in full macho mode, pulling off his sunglasses to reveal … another pair of sunglasses underneath — surely, Shirley, Airplane! is one of those movies that’s funny as Roger Murdock is tall, even in secondhand retellings. (MB) at AMC 20 only, Sat 1/29 12:30 pm, Tues 2/1 7 pm
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