Film Caps

When lots of words are too many words

Black Swan (R) — Nina (Natalie Portman) has finally scored her big break with the New York City Ballet. But a new dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis), goes deeper and darker, threatening Nina's star-making turn. Director Darren Aronofsky's most psychologically unhinged film is one of the most twisted thrillers of the decade. (Michael Gallucci)

Blue Valentine (NC-17) — This portrait of a relationship's beginning and end has a gift for realizing and capturing the unvarnished slivers of everyday life. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams possess the subtle intelligence and controlled bravery to realize the two lead characters as utterly fallible human beings. It's meant to contrast love at the beginning and end, but the juxtaposition actually illuminates the fact that people grow and change over time, and not always at the same pace or in the same direction. (Bret McCabe)

Country Strong (PG-13) — It might be unfair to judge Country Strong against other movies, because while it looks like a movie, it's actually a collection of clichés so tired they wouldn't surprise a second grader. There's the damaged country legend on a comeback tour (Gwyneth Paltrow, woefully miscast); her distant husband/manager (Tim McGraw, who completely wastes his country cred); the guitar-slinging young buck caught between them; and the Taylor Swiftian country-pop princess nipping at Paltrow's career. Not one of them is worth rooting for. (Chuck Kerr)

The Dilemma (PG-13) — The idea here is whether or not to tell your best friend his wife is cheating on him. Obviously, we all know the answer is a resounding "Hell Fucking No, Are You Crazy?!?" Especially if you are getting ready to make a Big Business Deal and you're tied to the waist of this already tweaked-out stress-overloaded person to help you make the sale. Vince Vaughn and Kevin James are working on that Big Deal in the automotive industry, and then Winona Ryder cheats on James, because who wouldn't, right? If you liked The Break-Up, you'll enjoy this one. (Joe MacLeod)

The Fighter (R) — This biopic about junior welterweight boxing champ "Irish" Mickey Ward (played by Mark Wahlberg) brings the genre into the 21st century. Mickey's unreliable trainer is his older brother Dicky (Christian Bale), a local legend who has since descended into crack addiction and crime. Mickey's promise is squandered by his chaotic family; ultimately, he must choose between loyalty and a shot at a championship. (Pamela Zoslov)

The Green Hornet (PG-13) — Sure, the 2011 version of The Green Hornet is about fighting evil, walking away from explosions, and having cool one-liners. But the real drama is the conflict going on between Seth Rogen's playboy hero and Jay Chou's deadly serious sidekick Kato. Any bad guys that get taken down aren't so much defeated as they are ground up between this pair's egos. The movie is also funny. Very funny at times. (Stephen Graham Jones)

The King's Speech (R) — The future King George VI of England (an excellent Colin Firth) stammers whenever he's asked to speak in public. His loyal, persistent, and tough wife (Helena Bonham Carter, also excellent) finds Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush, terrific too), a speech therapist who guarantees he can cure George's stammer. They spar furiously at their first meeting, but you just know their relationship will turn all warm and fuzzy on the way to George's recovery. One of the best movies of 2010. (Gallucci)

Little Fockers (PG-13) — Consider yourself warned about this depressing exercise in vulgarity, which boasts enemas, farts, spurting blood, projectile vomit, and a syringe stabbing an old man's erection. (Zoslov)

The Mechanic (R) — A hitman schools a young kid on how to get things done. Jason Statham stars.

No Strings Attached (R) — Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher play a sex-only couple whose relationship turns into something more.

Rabbit Hole (PG-13) — Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play a late-thirtysomething couple living a seemingly ordinary yupscale existence in a New York City bedroom community. But tell-tale signs indicate that something is amiss. David Lindsay-Abaire adapted his play for the movie and intelligently opens it up for the new demands, while director John Cameron Mitchell elicits empathetic performances from his lead actors without pushing either into the sort of teary bathos the material would seem to encourage. (Paurich)

The Rite (PG-13) — Anthony Hopkins stars as a priest who schools students on the finer points of exorcisms.

Somewhere (R) — Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is an L.A. movie star participating in a press junket. Parties are already in swing in his room when he gets there. Sometimes he has mechanical sex with whatever woman makes herself available. Into this glacial chaos comes Cleo (Elle Fanning), his 11-year-old daughter by Layla (Lala Sloatman). When Layla tells Johnny she "needs some time," he ends up hanging out with Cleo for a few days. If the plot sounds reminiscent of director Sofia Coppola's efforts, it is. Like Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette, Somewhere spotlights Coppola's wonderful ability to see the worlds in which women move from adolescence to adulthood. (McCabe)

Tron: Legacy (PG) — Like last-year's CGI 3D holiday spectacle Avatar, you need to see TRON on the big screen. Unlike Avatar, you don't need to see TRON at all. A sequel to 1982's then-state-of-the-art geekfest about a guy trapped in a computer, Legacy picks up 28 years later. It's just a blur trapped in a noisy mess of cool techy toys. (Gallucci)

True Grit (PG-13) — This redo by the Coen brothers is a bit detached. Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) kills 14-year-old Mattie Ross' (Hailee Steinfeld) dad for no other reason than he's a mean bastard. So Mattie tracks down one-eyed U.S. marshal Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and hires him to bring Chaney to justice. (Gallucci)

Scroll to read more Movie Reviews & Stories articles
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

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