Iron Man 3, directed by Shane Black (PG-13, 130 minutes)
Everybody’s favorite over-confident, self-important yet still somewhat likable industrialist Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), under considerably more stress than he was in the first two Iron Man films, embarks on a journey of rebuilding and retribution when his world is destroyed by a terrorist called the Mandarin (played with evil intensity by Ben Kingsley).
“He may finally have challenged the wrong enemy,”says our critic Piers Marchant. “But because of its reluctance to put its protagonist in anything resembling actual distress, the movie begins to drag shortly after its engaging first act.As Stark inexorably finds ways to get back in the swing, the storyline begins to get sillier and sillier … admittedly, some of this is a conscious choice by Black, who has taken his opportunity behind the camera of a huge summer blockbuster to make a film … about the artifice of making such a film in the first place.”
With Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, James Badge Dale.
The Blu-ray combo box includes a look at the creation of the scene of an attack on Air Force One, a making-of featurette, a gag reel, deleted and extended scenes and audio commentary with screenwriter Drew Pearce and director Black, and a preview of Thor: The Dark World.
Somm (unrated, 93 minutes) How much do you think you knowabout wine? This unique and surprisingly suspenseful documentary, directed by Jason Wise, will make you think again. Somm takes the audience on a funny and revealing journey into the seldom-explored world of the Court of Master Sommeliers and follows four men preparing for the Master Sommelier Exam, covering just about every aspect of wine, spirits and cigars, which fewer than 200 candidates have conquered.
George Carlin: Life Is Worth Losing (R, 75 minutes) Comedian George Carlin’s 13th HBO stand-up special, now available on Blu-ray, is a live broadcast from New York’s Beacon Theater in 2005. It’s his first project after completing drug rehabilitation (for addiction to Vicodin and alcohol). Carlin, who was 68 at the time, is at his bitter and cynical best as he takes on dumb Americans, suicide, religion and politics, with a highlight being the presentation of his poetic four-minute spoken-word piece called “Modern Man.”
What If (unrated, 87 minutes) French romantic comedy What If (Notre Universe Impitoyable), released in 2008, delivers an intriguing but too-shallow investigation of what happens when lovers Victor (Jocelyn Quirin) and Margot (Alice Taglioni), who work for the same law firm, find themselves in competition for the coveted position of legal partner. The story is told twice, once assuming that she has been promoted, and again assuming that he has been chosen. With Thierry Lhermitte; directed by Lea Fazer. Subtitled.
Leviathan ( R, 98 minutes) This spare, nonlinear documentary on board a North Sea trawler doesn’t concern itself with the lives of the fishermen. It’s more interested in the life of the boat. “Bold, ugly, beautiful, haunting, nauseating, pretentious, scary, tedious and disgusting,” says critic Avi Offer on the website NYCMovie Guru. “One of the most viscerally horrifying films in years. Not for the weak-stomached.” Directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel.
Room 237 (not rated, 102 minutes) This unusual, fascinating and intellectually stimulating documentary by Rodney Ascher explores a world that many of us didn’t know existed: The vast number of theories presented by obsessive film freaks concerning hidden meanings in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 thriller The Shining. Conspiracy theories abound, some of which are completely nutty and others that make perfect sense. There’s no judging involved here; viewers can come to their own conclusions.
The five obsessives featured aren’t the sort of garden-variety kooks associated with film decoders. Bill Blakemore is an ABC news reporter who has covered the Vatican and global warming; Geoffrey Cocks is a distinguished professor of European history at Albion College in Michigan who has written several books, including two on how Kubrick’s work was influenced by the Holocaust; Juli Kearns is a playwright turned novelist; Jay Weidner is an author and filmmaker who specializes in esoteric conspiracy theories; and John Fell Ryan is an artist who has staged screenings of The Shining forward and backward, simultaneously and superimposed.
“What really makes Room 237 is Ascher’s decision to use a montage of Kubrick films - clips from Eyes Wide Shut, Lolita, The Killing, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon, etc. - augmented by brief clips from other period films to illustrate the off-camera narration,” says our critic Philip Martin. “At times, The Shining is treated to frame-byframe analysis, a process that sometimes augments the narrators’ assertions, as when we notice the patterns on a carpet in a pivotal scene have been reversed, and sometimes reveals the wishfulness of the analysis.”
MovieStyle, Pages 31 on 09/27/2013
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