On the one hand is a tender story of how a man tries to reconcile the errors of his past and reclaim lost glory, and on the other is a comedy of errors about a ragtag group of nameless, faceless musicians wandering Paris. Guess which part works better. The Concert is about Andreï Filipov (Aleksei Guskov), a former orchestra conductor, who is working as a janitor at a famous theater in Moscow. He discovers a fax inviting the current orchestra to perform in Paris and steals it, pretending on the phone to be in charge. There’s also a violinist named Anne-Marie Jacquet (Mélanie Laurent), whose past fits in to Andreï’s own. It’s a movie that cannot quite determine its tone, until the climactic performance, which lets the music speak for itself as the past and present collide. My review is here. Available on DVD.
Nowhere near as terrible as you may have heard, Battle Los Angeles (Despite what you may see on the advertising, there’s no colon in the opening title, which gives it an entirely different meaning) is a loud (really loud), busy (incredibly busy) hodgepodge of clichés, from the bare-bones characterizations to the predictable, mostly shouted dialogue. Aliens invade Earth, and a group of Marines, eventually led (After the original leader, who doesn’t have any actual combat experience, starts being indecisive–and that’s his entire character arc, by the way) by Staff Sgt. Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart), run into the explosions (so many explosions) to fight back. My review is here. Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and DVD/Blu-ray Combo.
It’s sometimes fun to laugh at (not with) Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis), two best friends whose wives Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate) give them a week off of marriage, in Hall Pass. The funniest scene involves a car, Styx, the knowledge that one character is reminded about the loss of his virginity while sitting in the car and listening to classic rock to the point of arousal, and a string of double-takes. Then, of course, the movie hops on its high horse, undermining the main characters’ status as total losers. My review is here. Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and DVD/Blu-ray Combo.
The old folk tale becomes a murder mystery with a giant, hollow metal elephant in Red Riding Hood. Amanda Seyfried plays Valerie, the girl who everyone has a motive to kill for it seems. Lots and lots of red herrings are on the menu for the big, bad wolf. There’s the guy who loves her (Shiloh Fernandez), the other guy who loves her (Max Irons), the guy who loves her because he’s her father (Billy Burke), and, of course, grandma (Julie Christie). At some point, even suspicion is thrown at even the ancillary characters, but at least Gary Oldman is in a frenzy as a werewolf-hunting priest. My review is here. Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and DVD/Blu-ray Combo.