The themes are universal and familiar cinematic fare: family and children, hope and love, loyalty and betrayal. Their presentation is anything but routine in director Christopher Nolan's intense "Interstellar," written by Christopher and brother Jonathan. Given half a chance, their two hour 49 minute audiovisual extravaganza delivers an exhilarating and exhausting science-fiction trip through space and time.
Based on Jordan Belfort's book charting his rise and fall, "The Wolf of Wall Street" recreates the wild ride through the 90s of this penny stock trader, soon multi-millionaire never bothered by ethics. Leonardo DiCaprio's tour-de-force performance drives the film from work at a Wall Street corporation to a shabby office to his own Stratton Oakmont Long Island firm.
As "Dallas Buyers Club" opens, the camera is trapped in a rodeo pen, peering through the slats at Ron Woodroof sexually engaged with two women. In an adjoining pen, a trapped bull and rider are getting ready to be turned loose for their combat. An apt metaphor, Woodroof will find himself similarly trapped, ready for battle, and fighting mad.
Teeming with archetypes brought to vivid life, the film "Mud" particularizes a crisis in 14-year-old Ellis' progress toward maturity. Ellis sneaks away from his family's Arkansas houseboat to meet up with his pal Neckbone. Ellis wants to show him a boat stranded in a tree on a Mississippi River island where they also find the fugitive Mud hiding out.
It’s difficult to embrace a film as downright emotionally and often physically ugly as director William Friedkin’s Killer Joe. Yes, it trades on many of the familiar elements of film noir, anchored in a murder scheme for money. But unlike the best of those, it lacks the grace, wit and humanity embedded in cautionary tales.
As his films show, Richard Linklater has an offbeat take on people in general and humor in particular. His characters are, well, characters with the appealing quirks that make them unique, recognizable, and very human. Drawing on these strengths, director/screenwriter Linklater triumphs with his new film, Bernie.