Ben Affleck's new movie, Gone Girl, is two-and-a-half hours long, but has plot enough for two-and-a-half miniseries. And wonder of Hollywood wonders, it all hangs together, albeit in a rather incredible series of stories. It relies on coincidences and does not obsess about believability, but it's certainly not boring or predictable. The two people I discussed it with and I all rated it three-and-a-half stars or a maximum four, and I shared with one of them a desire to read the book.
The Skeleton Twins resembles The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby in being about a pair of people who simply cannot adjust to problems a lot of people face. Except that the Skeleton twins (I'm not going to explain that title), Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, are positively, literally suicidal from the very start, and there is a clear, though unsatisfactory, suggestion as to how their problems could be faced.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, in the version currently circulating, is a cut down two-hour combination of a three-hour double feature that will go into limited release next year, and which I hope we get to see, because the present version left me rather unsatisfied.
The Drop is a thoroughly enjoyable excursion into the lower regions of criminal life, if you don’t mind the fact that the characters are such that writer Dennis Lehane and director Michael R. Roskam have seen fit to introduce a puppy dog to provide a touch of humane behavior into the seamy lives of James Gandolfini, Noomi Rapace, Tom Hardy and the even grislier supporting cast.
Land Ho! is a very gentle, enjoyable escape from the boredom of the old routine, as we accompany a couple of retirees on a vacation trip across (of all places) Iceland and encounter a series of mild adventures that are as satisfying to us as to them-- in spite of a lack of real excitement, and a lot of smiles and chuckles instead of laughs and guffaws.
The movie title Cantinflas was the professional name of Mexican comic Mario Moreno, whom Charlie Chaplin called "the best and most beloved comedian in the world," and who surely deserves a better tribute than the movie Cantinflas, which will probably leave you wondering what all the fuss could have been about.
Calvary is of a type with Heaven Is For Real, a movie about a religious subject but not really a religious movie. It isn't trying to sell you anything, except maybe that people are complex and troubled and worthy of sympathy almost whatever they do.
Writer-director Richard Linklater took 12 years to make Boyhood, because he wanted to show the physical changes in Ellar Coltrane from his first day at school to his graduation from high school 12 years later. And the physical developments of Coltrane and his sister in the movie are fascinating to watch.
The Hundred-Foot Journey starts out rather unpromisingly, with violence in India and a tyrannical father and one of those tiresome young sons who seems to be in rebellion against everything (at least everything his father suggests).