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“Mad Men” meets “The Artist” in “Populaire,” a superbly crafted, finely acted but somewhat shallow retro rom-com about a young French secretary who, with the help of her highly persuasive boss, hammers her way to becoming one of the fastest typists on the planet.
It has been a black eye to Hollywood that throughout this, the unending and increasingly repetitive age of the superhero blockbuster, the comics’ most iconic son has eluded its grasp like a bird or, if you will, a plane.
Come to think of it, Hollywood films and magic shows have something in common: You pay your money, and you want to believe. Even if it’s exceedingly hard to do.
By Nestor U. Torre
You would think that, after the “The Lord of the Rings” film franchise, filmmakers would give the Hobbits and their fantasticating adventures a good, long rest. But, viewers’ interest in the frisky, pint-sized charmers remains high, so why not (profitably) give them more and more of what they want?
By Frank Scheck
Watching “Texas Chainsaw 3-D,” the latest screen incarnation of the iconic chainsaw-wielding maniac Leatherface, the mind fairly reels. This purported direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror classic cheerfully ignores that director’s own 1986 follow-up, the 1997 and 2003 remakes, the 2006 prequel and even its basic timeline. It scores points for sheer brazenness.
By Christy Lemire
, David Germain
, Jake Coyle
“Argo” — Directing just his third feature, Ben Affleck has come up with a seamless blend of detailed international drama and breathtaking suspense, with just the right amount of dry humor to provide context and levity. He shows a deft handling of tone, especially in making difficult transitions between scenes in Tehran, Washington and Hollywood, but also gives one of his strongest performances yet in front of the camera. The story of a rescue during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis sounds like eat-your-vegetables cinema, and mixing it with an inside-Hollywood comedy sounds impossible, but Affleck and screenwriter Chris Terrio pull it all off.
By Nestor Torre
Olive Lamasan’s “The Mistress” is turning out to be the top mainstream film hit of 2012 to date. What accounts for its phenomenal success? There’s nothing like watching the movie to find out.
By Rito P. Asilo
WATCHING John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonzo, Ronaldo Valdez and Hilda Koronel strut their thespic stuff in Olivia Lamasan’s “The Mistress” is instructive: They deliver the goods, but their contrasting acting styles effectively convey their characters’ emotions and motivations—from raging bluster to fleeting moments of calm.
By Nestor U. Torre
The Mission: Impossible” film franchise has further revved up its improbable thriller-spy-caper-chiller action in its latest and most truly “impossible” installment, “Ghost Protocol.”
By Nestor U. Torre
We were looking forward to watching the ensemble film, “New Year’s Eve,” because we wanted it to usher in a cinematically splendid 2012. Alas, it doesn’t appear like it’s going to do that to a sufficiently distinctive degree, because some of its subplots don’t thematically and stylistically mesh with its other stories.
By Noelani Torre
There’s more than one impossible mission in “Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” the fourth installment in the franchise and arguably the most eye-popping one. There’s more than a few incredible things in it, as well, which is no surprise, considering that it’s helmed by Pixar’s Oscar-winning Brad Bird, who has given us such animated gems as “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille” and “The Iron Giant.”