Pacino, De Niro and more

Previews and reviews of recent releases

Share on Nextdoor
click to enlarge Righteous Kill - Overture Films
Overture Films
Righteous Kill


BURN AFTER READING (R) Read Curt Holman's review.

RIGHTEOUS KILL (R) The last (and only) time Robert De Niro and Al Pacino shared the screen, they were on opposite sides of the law in Michael Mann's stellar crime opus, Heat. Which, incidentally, may have been the last time either one of these elder statesmen of the silver screen gave a performance to match their legendary reputations. This time round, they're cops seeking to catch a serial killer carrying out vigilante justice. Also stars Curtis Jackson, Carla Gugino, John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg. (Not reviewed)

THE WOMEN (PG-13) Read Curt Holman's review.

TYLER PERRY'S THE FAMILY THAT PREYS (PG-13) Alfre Woodard and Kathy Bates star in the latest Tyler Perry soap-stravaganza, bubbling with class conflict, extramarital affairs and corporate intrigue. Also stars Sanaa Lathan, Cole Hauser, Taraji Henson and, of course, Tyler Perry. (Not reviewed)


AMERICAN TEEN (PG-13) Nanette Burstein's American Teen, ostensibly a documentary, goes down so smooth that a prime time broadcast on MTV wouldn't be at all out of the question. Burstein takes her camera into a typical high school in a typical, mostly white, mostly middle-class town, where she focuses on a group of seniors who seem to fit into easily recognizable molds, at least at first. We meet Colin the Jock, Jake the Nerd, Hannah the Rebel and Megan the Popular One (who leads a clique of hotties straight out of Heathers or Mean Girls), and watch their lives unfold as lines blur, identities are questioned, alliances fracture and form, and the kids deal with the various pitfalls of growing up. It's surprisingly gripping stuff, but the film's supposedly spontaneous emotional explosions don't always ring completely true. At worst, they feel a bit like dramatic recreations, almost as if the kids were milking the moment for the camera — but perhaps this is just the natural byproduct of what happens when you attempt to document members of a generation raised on Survivor, for whom the lines between reality and reality programming no longer matter. Credibility issues aside, though, it's almost insidious how easy it is to by seduced by the film as it roots around in the sometimes cruel but usually fascinating social dynamics of young adults trapped in a too-small space. Whether what American Teen shows us is strictly true or not is another matter, but, as we're constantly learning, the truth can be as fluid as we need it to be. Stars Hannah Bailey, Colin Clemens, Megan Krizmanich, Jake Tusing, Mitch Reinholt and Geoff Haase. 3.5 stars

BABYLON A.D. (PG-13) The new film from director Mathieu Kassovitz (La Haine, Gothika) is a sci-fi-ish thriller with Vin Diesel guarding a woman hosting a virus that could destroy the world. There's also a cult lurking on the sidelines seeking to create some sort of a genetically altered Messiah. Also stars Meanie Thierry, Michelle Yeoh, Lambert Wilson and Charlotte Rampling. (Not Reviewed)

BOTTLE SHOCK (PG-13) Another movie that begins by telling us it's "based on a true story," Bottle Shock doesn't play as fast and loose with facts as some, but it doesn't hesitate to throw in a made-up romance or two and some trusty father-son tensions to embellish its essentially accurate account of the landmark event that finally gave American wines the respect they deserved. That event — a blind tasting held in Paris during American's bicentennial year, and judged by France's most esteemed oenophiles — resulted in a couple of rag tag California wineries shocking the world by, for the first time ever, stomping all over their French counterparts. The movie spends a little too much time watching its characters chase their tails, but Bill Pullman and Chris Pine are solid as the father and son proprietors of a struggling Napa Valley winery, and Alan Rickman is a lot of fun as the British wine snob who discovers the joys of California while putting the tasting event in motion. Like Sideways, Bottle Shock uses humans and wine as interchangeable metaphors for each other (adversity makes them both stronger), and it all takes place in a weirdly magical California where even the most rough and tumble bikers know the difference between a Merlot and a Zinfandel. The film splits its time between Paris and the rolling halls of Napa, the music an appropriate mix of Maria Callas and the Doobie Brothers, with scenery so voluptuous and sun-drenched you have to restrain yourself from sticking your face in the screen to lap it all up. Also stars Rachael Taylor Freddy Rodriguez, Dennis Farina and Eliza Dushku. 3.5 stars

ELEGY (R) In Isabel Coixet's Elegy, Ben Kingsley plays David Kepesh, an intellectual and avid womanizer whose age has crept up on him, leaving him staring out the window of his handsomely decorated Manhattan apartment and pondering how it's still possible he's "engaged in the carnal aspects of the human comedy." If this sounds like Philip Roth territory, it should — Elegy is an adaptation of yet another Roth novel about the complex dovetailing of mind and body (among other things), and Kingsley's Kepesh is a quintessential Roth hero, a tortured soul of enormous intellectual and sensual appetites, equally at home quoting Tolstoy and Bette Davis. A renowned literary critic and popular college professor, Kepesh is also fond of seducing female students 30 years his junior, but when he becomes involved with a beautiful grad student named Consuela (Penelope Cruz), Kingsley's fiercely independent character becomes obsessed, consumed by jealousy and riddled with paralyzing doubts that ultimately tear the relationship asunder. Kingsley is very good here (a welcome return to subtlety after the broad strokes of The Wackness), and Cruz is even better, but the film simply seems too enamored of melancholy for melancholy's sake to really be effective, and it never quite manages to convincingly detail the process by which basic physical desire transforms into something known, for better or worse, as love. Also stars Patricia Clarkson, Peter Sarsgaard and Dennis Hopper. 2.5 stars

Scroll to read more Events & Film articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.