Colin Farrell, Alicja Bachleda, Alison Barry, Stephen Rea, Tony Curran, Emil Hostina, Dervla Kirwan (Written and directed by Neil Jordan; Magnolia Films)
When last seen, Colin Farrell was warbling his soul out as the country-western star mentored by drunken good-old-boy Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart.” But oddly enough, some moviegoers may not have known they were actually watching Farrell in the movie. How come? Because, for whatever weird reason, the unpredictable Irish actor decided not to take an on-screen credit for his brief but top-notch performance.
That is definitely not the case in “Ondine,” an alternately lyrical and violent tale filmed on the rugged southwest coast of Ireland. Farrell is front and center this time out, playing Syracuse, a mercurial fisherman trying to shape up and shed his reputation as the town’s biggest, silliest lush. Clearly, he gets little moral support from his wife, a pill who beds down nightly with another man in what was once the house Syracuse called home.
On the other hand, Annie, his shy, crippled 10-year-old daughter, does spend a good deal of time with Syracuse in his modest cottage near the bay where he struggles to make a living. It is in this bay one day that the fisherman makes an awesome catch. Pulling his net from the water, he is stunned by the sight of a body—the beautiful body of a woman who, mysteriously, is very much alive.
Convinced that his luck has gone from bad to good, an exuberant Syracuse is soon providing shelter for the seemingly mystical creature he calls Ondine, and he is now catching more fish than ever before. As for Annie, she has, at long last, a friend with whom she can communicate soul to soul.
What’s missing in this picture? A burly, vicious, possibly homicidal traveler from afar, a man who has known Ondine in a way that would be foreign to Syracuse and little invalid Annie. And, by the way, why did the sun-caressed sky suddenly turn dark? --Guy Flatley Now Playing
GET HIM TO THE GREEK
Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Elisabeth Moss, Rose Byrne, Colm Meaney, Sean Combs (Written and directed by Nicholas Stoller; Universal Pictures)
The “Him” here is Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), a stoned, crude, shamelessly horny British rock star suffering a breakdown over the catastrophic flop of “African Child,” his latest album. But who has been ordered to get Snow to the Greek, that storied Concert Hall in Los Angeles where the mercurial performer might stage a sensational comeback? It’s pudgy, super-excitable Aaron Green (Jonah Hill), a record company staffer assigned by his boss Sergio Roma (Sean Combs) to speed to London, collect the swirling Snow and bring him back alive and sedate as possible to L.A.
Will Brand and Hill emerge from this thinly plotted gross-out devised by Nicholas Stoller, a protégé of anything-for-a-laugh filmmaker Judd Apatow, as the 21st Century answer to Abbott and Costello? See "Get Him to the Greek" and judge for yourself. --Guy Flatley Now Playing
Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Tom Selleck, Catherine O’Hara, Katheryn Winnick, Kevin Sussman (Directed by Robert Luketic; Written by Bob DeRosa and T. M. Griffin; Lionsgate)
You thought Katherine Heigl got a raw deal as the trusting airhead who is impregnated by slothful slob Seth Rogen in “Knocked Up”? Then you may be happy to find her in the intimate company of a former CIA superspy, a smooth, sexy hero—played by Ashton Kutcher--who decides he wants to marry her the minute he meets her on the French Rivera. And before long, the newlyweds are cuddling in the serenity of suburbia. But they do not live happily ever after. That’s because assassins from out of hubby’s past want to play a part in what is beginning to look a lot like his very short future.
Did we forget to tell you that this is a comedy? Well, apparently somebody forgot to tell the audience on the day the movie opened, because the tragic truth is that nobody laughed. So now “Killers” is giving “Sex and the City 2” heavy competition for the title of The Unfunniest Movie of the Year. --Guy Flatley Now Playing
THE KILLER INSIDE ME
Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Simon Baker, Bill Pullman, Ned Beatty, Elias Koteas, Liam Aiken, Rosa Pasquarella (Directed by Michael Winterbottom; Written by John Curran; IFC)
“I don’t understand how Sundance could book this movie,” raged a woman in the audience at the 2010 Sundance Festival screening of the nerve-blasting adaptation of Jim Thompson’s novel about a psychopathic, murderous Texas deputy sheriff who moonlights as a specialist in the savaging of beautiful young women. “How dare you?," the offended viewer went on. "How dare Sundance?”
The auteur who dared to rattle quite a few Sundance movie buffs is Michael Winterbottom, whose credits include “Butterfly Kiss,” “Jude,” “Wonderland,” “24 Hour Party People,” “Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story,” “The Road to Guantanamo” and “A Mighty Heart.” This noir shocker, marking the British director’s U.S. film debut, stars the increasingly unnerving Casey Affleck as super-creepy villain Lou Ford and features Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson as two of his grotesquely brutalized victims.
What, you might well wonder, made Ford the insatiable sadist that he is? And how much longer will this lawman continue to stir up his own private crime wave? See “The Killer in Me” and find out. If you dare. --Guy Flatley Now Playing
KNIGHT & DAY
Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Dano, Maggie Grace, Marc Blucas, Viola Davis, Olivier Martinez (Directed by James Mangold; Written by Patrick O’Neill; Twentieth Century-Fox)
The last time Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz hooked up on screen Tom was a love-her-and-leave-her narcissist who dumped Cameron the second sizzly Penelope Cruz cruised his way. Understandably, this sexual dismissal sent Cameron into a prolonged pout, which is why she offered her straying stud a ride home late one evening after he’d kissed Penelope goodnight. Scarcely giving the cad a chance to fasten his seat belt, his embittered ex pressed her foot to the pedal and headed for the nearest bridge, where she swiftly executed a four-wheel suicide-and-murder dive into the water below. For Cameron, it worked; for Tom, the results were ghastly disfigurement and a hellish new way of life.
The year was 2001, and the movie, as connoisseurs of cinematic kitsch well know, was “Vanilla Sky.” But that was then, and this is what we have now: a brand new, sunnier, if not funnier, flick called “Knight and Day.” On this occasion, Tom and Cameron play a cuddly, secretive couple who take to the road and to the air, from Kansas to Massachusetts to Austria to Spain, in a frantic attempt to dodge various no-nonsense assassins and to live zanily ever after. (Let’s hope Tom is at the wheel this time.) –Guy Flatley Now Playing
Helen Mirren, Joe Pesci, Gina Gershon, Rio Hackford (Directed by Taylor Hackford; Written by Mark Jacobson; Capitol Films)
Not so long ago we were calling Helen Mirren queen; soon we’ll be calling her madam. That’s because the Oscar winner is playing an earthy, enterprising woman based on the character of Sally Conforte, who--along with hubby Joe--made her wildest dream come true by opening the Mustang Ranch, Nevada’s first legal brothel. Life became one big love-in for Sally and Joe--until that memorable moment in 1976 when Oscar Bonavena, an Argentinian prizefighter rumored to have gotten raunchy with the Mustang boss-lady, was shot dead by a ranch bodyguard. Director Taylor Hackford, Mirren’s real-life husband, will be putting his wife through her “Love Ranch” paces. --Guy Flatley Now Playing