Even before the credits, the opening sequence of "Spy" sells the movie as fun, bodacious, Rooster Cogburnian, silly, romantic, and predictable. The last adjective is not a draw-back: it's a staple of summer films, the screen equivalent of the beach book. "Spy" delivers on its promises.
Men and boats. Men and gold. Men and their sons, on the beach or in utero or as a surrogate. "Black Sea" -- not "The Black Sea" (that's another recent movie) -- is all about getting the gold, getting back at "the man," and surviving. It's all about death.
Jude Law plays Dom Hemingway, the central character in the film of that title. And Jude Law is THE central reason to see writer/director Richard Shepard's wildly energetic, unpredictable comedy. With his tour-de-force performance, Law offers a master class in acting, ably supported by Richard E. Grant as his sidekick Dickie and Demian Bichir as mob boss Ivan Fontaine.
Writer/director Wes Anderson has done it again. After starting off with peculiar films, such as "Rushmore" and "The Royal Tenenbaums," he created that bliss of entertainment he called "Moonrise Kingdom" last year. Now, with Hugo Guinness, he has written a confectionary script that's a story within a story within etc.
Instead of another slog through a 19th-century Russian novel, director Joe Wright presents a tantalizing melange of art forms -- theater and film and painting -- all enfolded by the words of famed playwright Tom Stoppard. It does not always succeed, but it always intrigues.
Director Martin Scorsese needs no introduction with his 52 films from Mean Streets (1973) to Raging Bull (1980) to Goodfellas (1990). But with Hugo Marty has added a surprising gem to his jewels, for Scorsese has channeled his encyclopedic knowledge of film history into an exhilarating, 3D love letter to special effects cinema pioneer Georges Méliès.
Steven Soderbergh is a very smart director. He's proved this already with an amazing range of films: Traffic, The Limey, Out of Sight, Ocean's Twelve and Thirteen, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. Now add his recent film Contagion. Knowing the apocalypse extravaganzas, Soderbergh astutely chooses a different tack with the terrifying idea: the worldwide, rapid spread of a deadly virus.