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"The Broken Circle Breakdown," Belgium's official submission for the foreign language Oscar, is an ebullient, life-affirming movie about the most depressing subject imaginable: a couple dealing with the impending death of their young daughter.
LOS ANGELES _ "Her," Spike Jonze's quirky love story about a lonely man and his warmhearted computer operating system, was named best picture of 2013 on Wednesday by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. Jonze also won best director.
ORLANDO, Fla. _ A movie inspired veteran director Jenni Gold to seek a life in Hollywood behind the camera.
MIAMI - Halfway through "Out of the Furnace" comes a scene in which Rodney (Casey Affleck) goes to visit his older brother Russell (Christian Bale), who is serving a prison sentence for vehicular manslaughter. Rodney has just returned from his fourth tour of duty in Iraq; the two men haven't seen each other in years. When Russell asks him how things went overseas, Rodney just stares at his brother, his eyes suddenly veiled and dark and haunted. Some things are just too painful to talk about.
Among the shocking details of Paul Walker's death this past weekend was his age - he'd turned 40 only a few months before the car accident that claimed his life.
"Out of the Furnace" takes place in a small Pennsylvania town where generations of men have followed their fathers into grueling, thankless jobs at steel mills. The work is hard and unsatisfying, but it's steady and reliable and it pays just enough to cover the bills.
When there is more turkey on the table, there are fewer turkeys in the theater.
For about 30 minutes, "The Last Days on Mars" hides its sci-fi antecedents well enough.
"Twice Born" is an old-fashioned war romance with all the sexing up and complications we expect in newer entries in this genre. Overlong, with stars who don't have a lot of chemistry, but packed with third-act surprises, this Bosnian war remembrance needs every ounce of pathos that its stars, Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsch, can bring it.
The statistics are staggering, unbelievable, heartbreaking. In 2007, there were 320 murders in Juarez, a city on the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2010, after a war between five drug cartels erupted throughout the country, the death toll was 3,622. That same year, El Paso, Texas, which is just across a river from Juarez, was named the safest city in the United States, with a murder total of five.
It started with Jackie Robinson rounding the bases for home in "42" in the spring and is ending with Nelson Mandela leaving jail for home in "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" in the winter. In between, there have been so many black-themed films that have reached a crossover audience that 2013 is going to go down as a banner year for black actors and directors.
"Homefront" should be a lot more fun than it is.
FRESNO, Calif. - Director Gary Fleder had serious doubts when it was suggested Kate Bosworth should play Cassie in "Homefront." He just couldn't see how the petite actress, best known for playing sweet roles like Sandra Dee in "Beyond the Sea," could portray a meth-head mother whose drug use turned her into a vile and bitter woman.
There's something so decidedly old-fashioned about "Black Nativity," an updating of the Christmas-themed musical written by poet Langston Hughes and first performed in 1961, that it feels like a small marvel to be watching it in 2013. It doesn't matter that not all of the songs are memorable or that the performances are of varying success; the warm-hearted "Black Nativity" feels tailor-made to fit with the good tidings of the season.
A.C.O.D. 3 stars. Adam Scott is the grown up son of parents long and acrimoniously divorced, trying to bring them together for his younger brother's wedding. Catherine O'Hara and Richard Jenkins are especially terrific as the warring exes. A clever little comedy with some big performances. 1 hr. 28 R (profanity, sex, adult themes) - Steven Rea
Disney is onto something pretty cool with its latest princess picture, "Frozen." It's evolving a solid story template that will give its girl movies an identity distinct from the studio's boy films.
A Hollywood remake of "Oldboy" sounds daunting, improbable and guaranteed to fail. Originally made in 2003 by South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook, the movie, which was inspired by a popular manga, delved into thematic territory American movies rarely tread, had an unconventional plot structure and style, and included instances of violence and other things (such as the eating of a live octopus on camera, its tentacles wriggling out of a man's mouth) that would never pass muster with the ratings board - or, for that matter, the mainstream U.S. moviegoing public.
The problem with remakes is that you can't "un-see" the original film. And that's especially true of Chan-wook Park's searing 2003 hit, "Oldboy."