(If you like unconventional documentaries, check out “The Wolfpack” on Netflix.)A serial killer is terrorizing a grim metropolis and playing a bit of a game in the process: Each of his victims is, by his reckoning, guilty of one of the Seven Deadly Sins and dies in a corresponding manner.What could have been a gimmicky thrill-ride or a businesslike police procedural is instead rendered a skin-crawling portrait of urban ennui by director David Fincher (his breakthrough feature), whose potent images of a perpetually gray and rainy cityscape are all of a piece with the hopelessness at the story’s center.(For a taste of classic science fiction, try the groundbreaking “Metropolis.”)The Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-hsien directs this gorgeously rendered story of a female assassin (Shu Qi) and her quest to kill corrupt government officials in Tang Dynasy-era China.
That’s a long time to spend alone on another celestial body, so when he starts seeing a doppelganger, he understandably assumes it must be an illusion. This brainy sci-fi story from director Duncan Jones (“Mute”) is almost entirely a one-man show, and Rockwell is the man for the job — he’s alternately tragic, funny, driven and bitter, often in the same scene, frequently playing to himself.
“Moon” is thrilling and thought-provoking, with a stunning finale.
(For more thoughtful, grown-up drama, check out “Clouds of Sils Maria.”)George Clooney turns in one of his most nuanced performances in this sharp and affecting comedy-drama from the writer and director Jason Reitman (“Juno”).
Clooney uses his movie-star good looks and charisma in service of the supremely confident Ryan Bingham, a man who specializes in being the corporate bad guy (he is brought in to handle the layoffs), but whose confidence slowly deteriorates.
As a trio of scientists chasing and capturing spirits that are haunting New York City, Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis have the ace timing and grinning interplay of the great comedy teams, while Sigourney Weaver adds considerable spark as a client who’s possessed by an evil spirit.
Director Ivan Reitman adroitly juggles character-comedy with special effects — letting the jokes power the visuals, not the other way around.Billy Bob Thornton is subtly superb as the team’s coach, gingerly attempting to navigate high expectations and the pressure on his players (who are well aware that their success on the field may be their only way out of their small town).Connie Britton is also marvelous in the embryonic version of her television role as the coach’s wife; Garrett Hedlund, Derek Luke, Jay Hernandez and Amber Heard all shine as players and students.Brad Pitt is sympathetic as the rookie detective chasing him down, and Morgan Freeman is quietly stunning as his partner, turning the archetype of the world-weary, seen-it-all cop on its head — by showing us what happens when he sees something he’s never even imagined.When the combustible elements of the actor Al Pacino, the director Brian De Palma and the screenwriter Oliver Stone combined back in 1983, explosions followed.Kate must grapple with a sharp reminder of that fact in this emotionally fraught and witheringly intelligent drama from the writer-director Andrew Haigh (“Weekend”).The brilliant Rampling was nominated for an Oscar for her role as a seemingly satisfied woman who suddenly must question everything about her marriage and her life.(Viewers who like ’80s movies that mix comedy and horror should check out “The Lost Boys.”)Few major motion pictures have proven as durable as this 1962 adaptation of the beloved novel by Harper Lee.Released amid the struggles of the civil rights movement, this elegant memory play concerns a young Southern girl’s awakening to the injustices of racial prejudice, and the ray of hope provided by her idealistic father (an Oscar-winning Gregory Peck, never more sturdy and inspiring).Courtenay is equally effective as a man who loves his wife so much that he can’t bring himself to lie to her.Haigh balances operatic emotions with subtle situations, building to a climax of genuine emotional urgency.