Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) and Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie) in one of the slick action sequences from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Lincoln's weapon of choice in the film is a silver-plated ax.
Credit Stephen Vaughan / 20th Century Fox
Abraham Lincoln with Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper), a friendly member of the undead who trains Lincoln as a vampire hunter.
Two films into his English-language directing career, and already Timur Bekmambetov is spinning his wheels. But at least when the Kazakh director does so, the wheels have glistening silver rims and spin in hyperdetailed, superslow motion, all while the car is spinning through the air in a graceful, arcing corkscrew.
Not since Walt Disney's heyday has an animation company enjoyed a creative — and technically innovative — run like Pixar, now on a two-decade stretch that started with Toy Story in 1995 and continued with modern classics like Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., The Incredibles, WALL-E, Ratatouille and two Toy Story sequels that took on improbable depth and complexity. Over the years, the only persistent knock against Pixar is its lack of one thing Disney movies had in spades: female heroines.
Like the romance it portrays, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is brief, sweet, funny and sad. It's also tonally uncertain and occasionally foolish, but somehow these flaws never derail the story's wistful pleasures, not the least of which — if we ignore an unpleasant speech by Patton Oswalt — is its pleasing lack of the frat-boy vulgarity that has come to define so much of the genre.
Woody Allen's slack new movie, To Rome with Love, comes fortified with a fine bit of nonsense involving a shower, a loofah and a nervous Italian tenor who's terrified of performing in public.
Allen repeats the joke at well-spaced intervals, and he's right to: It represents what's best in his comedy, a goofball grace note in which he invites us to join in his delight in the sublime absurdity of artistic endeavor. Around my local screening room, it seemed that just about everyone obliged.
Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 10:55 am
In documentaries, showing is almost always more effective than telling. But The Invisible War, an expose of sexual assault in the U.S. military, is compelling despite being all talk. Footage of the many crimes recounted in the film is, of course, nonexistent — and would be nearly unwatchable if available.
So director Kirby Dick addresses the subject directly, without gimmicks or gambits. Stylistically, The Invisible War is conventional and plainspoken, from its opening clips of vintage recruitment ads for women to its closing updates on the central characters.