Gone are the days when a film by Woody Allen suggested anything remotely avant garde. Except for "Blue Jasmine," the Woodman has been churning out unfunny comedies and unenthralling mysteries since the early 1990s, if not before, each film a quote of an earlier one of his or of Ingmar Berman's.
Oh, you want "Aloha" to be so good. You want to see Bradley Cooper's baby-blues and Bill Murray's, too. You want to cheer for Emma Stone as she parades in dress uniform and for Rachel McAdam in an apron and high dudgeon. But you can't. And won't.
At their best, innovative, experimental films offer thoroughly astonishing cinematic experiences. And director Alejandro González Iñárritu provides exactly that in "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)." Following middle-aged Riggan Thompson trying to jump-start and salvage his acting career with a Broadway play, Iñárritu unspools a tour-de-force of technical distinction and spectacular performances.
Writer/director Woody Allen's "Magic in the Moonlight" begins on stage in 1928 Berlin. Magician Wei Ling Soo makes an elephant disappear, saws a woman in half, stands one moment stage right and quickly reappears stage left. It's all good fun until Wei Ling, Stanley, hears from his brother about a mystic named Sophie.
Rebooting the beloved, 50-year old Spider-Man story, director Mark Webb’s film champions this iconic superhero in The Amazing Spider-Man. It focuses, as it should, on the emotional core: the father who disappears, the devoted uncle murdered, scientific experiments gone wrong, and a determination, as well as the powers needed, to do good.