As we approach the finals of Wimbledon,
the oldest tennis tournament in the world (which continues in London
through Sunday), HBO presents a look at the intensity of the sport
through the eyes of two world-class athletes and the spectators that
watched their hard work and dedication come to fruition. Just kidding.
Peruvian writer-director Claudia Llosa (The Milk of Sorrow) takes audiences on a journey into the seemingly barren spiritual and emotional divide between a mother (Jennifer Connelly) and the now-adult son (Cillian Murphy) she abandoned much earlier in the child’s life.
The line, “I ain’t got the time, and if my daddy thinks I’m fine …” from Amy Winehouse’s breakthrough single, “Rehab,” became her way out of going to rehab for a drug problem that apparently everyone close to her saw but could do nothing to prevent. Listening to the song now, it all seems so obvious, and maybe the song itself was her way of crying out for help.
The Despicable Me sidekicks get their own franchise offshoot, which is explained as a prequel to their time with criminal mastermind Gru (Steve Carell), when they were lowly but eager underlings in search of a super-villain with the right stuff to lead them to nefarious glory.
The latest narrative take on the question of immortality unfolds in the new film from Tarsem Singh (the music video wunderkind who then directed The Cell, the surreal journey into the mind of a serial killer with Jennifer Lopez, before slipping into the slightly less trippy loop with The Fall and Immortals).
Weaned on ludicrous white-male teen fantasies like Risky Business and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (the
whole John Hughes oeuvre, really), even as an adult I have to admit to a
partiality toward movies in which the teen heroes live in a world
gloriously beyond the attention of parents who bear more than a passing
resemblance to police and other authority figures.
After the last lackluster outing (Terminator Salvation) in this
groundbreaking science-fiction adventure series (with its first two
installments helmed by James Cameron, which explains the early success),
the producing powers that be tapped Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) to return the franchise to some semblance of its past glory.
Part of an Al Pacino double-feature at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Manglehorn, from director David Gordon Green
was the more nuanced showcase for Pacino, an actor for whom “nuance”
can sometimes be a curious word for a foreign language with no direct
Boaz Yakin started out as an indie upstart director to watch with the urban chess thriller Fresh in 1994 followed by A Price Above Rubies in 1998, but since then has pursued more mainstream fare like Remember the Titans and Uptown Girls (with a brief harder flirtation thanks to 2012’s Safe starring Jason Statham).
The Thunder Buddies — John (Mark
Wahlberg) and Ted (voice work by writer-director Seth MacFarlane) — are
back and seeking to establish personhood for Ted so that he and his new
bride Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) can have a baby together (a grown woman
wants to have a baby with a teddy bear — don’t ask).
Curiosity dominated the critical
conversation when Academy Award-winning renaissance man Steven
Soderbergh teamed up with Channing Tatum, the lantern-jawed heartthrob
who danced his way into our pop cultural consciousness in Step Up (and starred more recently in Foxcatcher and the ongoing 21 Jump Street franchise).
Earlier this year, in McFarland, USA
(from director Niki Caro) —featuring Kevin Costner as Jim White, the
reluctant yet devoted coach of a cross-country team in a small migrant
community in California — we experienced life through the eyes and
situation of White and his resilient all-American family.