ALICE IN WONDERLAND
Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton (Directed by Tim Burton; Written by Linda Woolverton; Walt Disney Pictures)
Who knew that Lewis Carroll’s playful, profound masterpiece could be transformed into a grim, overstuffed movie, one that nevertheless reaps huge profits? Yes, it’s true. Despite the reservations of critics who found the film jittery, twisted and depressing, Tim Burton’s heavily hyped rip-off is doing near-Avatarian business at the box office.
Burton, as he has demonstrated in “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” “Batman,” “Edward Scissorhands,” “Mars Attacks!,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “Sweeney Todd,” is a director who, when faced with the challenge of going over the top, NEVER turns timid. So that’s why we’re treated to the weird sight and sound of Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway camping and vamping it up as the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen and the White Queen. And, if that’s not nutty enough for you, wait till you meet Miss Mia Wasikowska, who plays the title role. This Alice is not only down the hole; at the ripe old age of 19, she is positively over the hill.
All this, and 3-D, too! --Guy Flatley Now Playing
Matt Damon, Jason Isaacs, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson, Amy Ryan, Antoni Corone (Directed By Paul Greengrass; Written By Paul Helgeland; Universal)
The army officer played by Matt Damon is assigned to work with a CIA official on a mission to track down Saddam Hussein’s vanished weapons of mass destruction. One of the problems is that the duo spend most of their time in the Green Zone, the turf that is as safe as it gets in Iraq but also so sheltered that it is difficult to get a of view of what’s truly going on in the rest of the country. The thriller, based on Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s “Imperial Life in the Emerald City,” also stars Amy Ryan (“Gone Baby Gone”) as a Wall Street Journal reporter investigating the mystery of the missing weapons. --Guy Flatley Now Playing
Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Filippo Timi, Fausto Russo Alesi, Michela Cescon, Piergiorgio Bellocchio, Corrado Invernizzi, Paolo Pierobon, Bruno Cariello, Francesca Picozza (Directed by Marco Bellocchio; Written by Marco Bellocchio and Daniela Ceselli; IFC Films)
Until now, the closest that popular cinema has come to portraying Benito Mussolini, Italy’s most vile and egomaniacal living fascist until his countrymen hung him out to die at the end of World War II, was an Oscar-nominated performance by Jack Oakie in “The Great Dictator,” Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 classic tragicomedy.
At long last, you can give your treasured memory of the buffoonish Oakie a rest. We now have a vivid, strictly not-for-laughs, rechanneling of Il Duce by the scarily mesmerizing Filippo Timi under the direction of Marco Bellocchio, doing his finest work since such sixties and seventies triumphs as “Fists in His Pocket,” “China Is Near” and “In the Name of the Father.” Sharing camera time with Timi—including a prolonged, throbbing session of naked lovemaking that steams just this side of porn—is the stunning Giovanna Mezzogiorno, cast as Ida Dalser, the first wife of Mussolini and the mother of little Benito, the dictator’s son, who was born in 1915, before the outbreak of World War I. Now Playing
The above is an excerpt from Guy Flatley's Moviecrazed review of "Vincere.” Click here to read the full review.
Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Liev Schreiber, Alice Braga (Directed by Miguel Sapochnik; Written by Eric Garcia and Garret Lerner; Universal)
Would you buy an artificial organ on an installment plan from a company that reserved the right to terminate you in the event that you default on payment? That’s the decision facing somebody--perhaps Jude Law--in this sci-fi thriller set in the near future. If things go as planned, “Repo Men" will make us forget “Repo! The Genetic Opera,” a similarly themed 2008 musical directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, whose previous assaults on our sanity include "Saw II," "Saw III" and "Saw IV." --Guy Flatley Now Playing
Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Max Thieriot, R. H. Thompson, Nina Dobrev (Directed by Atom Egoyan; Written by Erin Cressida Wilson; Sony Pictures Classics)
Do civilized, affluent, discreetly carnal Canadians ever lose their cool and swerve recklessly into the sexual fast lane? They do if they’re like the hot trio of Toronto residents focused upon in this steamy little scenario directed by Atom Egoyan (“Exotica,” “The Sweet Hereafter,” “Where the Truth Lies”) and written by Erin Cressida Wilson (“Secretary,” “Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus”).
Catherine, played by Julianne Moore, is a popular gynecologist who gets it into her head that hubby David (Liam Neeson), a music professor, is teaching his adoring female students a lot more than mere melody. That’s why she hires a prostitute named Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) to have sex (actually quite a bit of sex) with David and to then report back with the bare facts.
What Catherine doesn’t bargain for is that she will be so turned on by the graphic details that are eventually relayed by the lewdly graphic Chloe. As for professor David, who knows what’s ever going on in his head? Probably nothing to do with Brahms, Beethoven or Bach.
In the end, all three participants in this risky game will surely be forced to face the music. –Guy Flatley Now Playing