Hold 'Another Earth' up to one starry light and you'll see a sci-fi fantasy about parallel worlds. Seen through a grainier lens is a Sundance melodrama of moral and emotional recovery from trauma and crippling guilt. Both are goofy and good. Grade: B-plus.
Updated for a skeptical age, this new World War II movie comes impeccably groomed in period-attentive tans and grays; is written in non-heroic dialogue to suggest ambiguities in the good-evil dichotomies of war stories past; and is sufficiently hopped-up with thrills. Grade: B-.
Filmmaker Yael Hersonski, herself the granddaughter of a Warsaw Ghetto survivor, rebuilds the rough cuts of a 1942 film into 'A Film Unfinished,' adding commentary from nine survivors as they watch the diary of a Jewish community leader who subsequently committed suicide, and damning testimony from Willy Wist, the only Nazi cameraman ever identified as having been employed on the project. Grade: B.
Amiably self-deprecating to a fault, the semi-autobiographical Mid-August Lunch features Gianni Di Gregorio as Gianni, an aging slacker who cares for his demanding mother in their decrepit Rome apartment. Forced to take in several other matriarchs in order to win a reprieve on his overdue rent, Gianni wakes up to a functioning community of vibrant broads (all gallantly played by non-pros) whose preference for fun over balanced cholesterol levels provides whatever charm can be wrung from this desultory slice of life. Grade: B-.
For a while, Michael Caine holds his own as the titular pensioner, defeat registered in the quiescent slump of his shoulders, as he trudges through his last days living on a burnout London housing estate. But worse is on its way, notably when the killing of a good friend turns Caine into Dirty Harry, and he starts blowing away half the no-good youth of today in exponentially aggravated scenes of brutality and implausibility. Grade: D-plus.
Hard on the heels of the acclaimed 'Gomorrah,' Italian corruption gets a much quieter but equally vigorous workout in Paolo Sorrentino's highly stylized portrait of the country's most enduring political leader, Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti (Toni Servillo). Aside from an imaginary "confession" in which he grows momentarily unhinged, Andreotti remains a properly unknowable monument on his country’s shadowy, shady political landscape. Grade: B.