Tag Archive: rebecca hall

iron man 3Dir. Shane Black
(2013, PG-13, 130 minutes)

The first thing that came to mind while watching Iron Man 3 was how much better superhero movies need to get about women. Just one day ago I watched the terrific second part of Feminist Frequency’s critical analysis of the problematic roles of women in video games, and here is a movie that makes her point for her.

There are two major female roles. The first, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), more or less runs Stark Industries and manages Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) dysfunctional life, but before long she is damseled by the screenplay – that is to say, she is kidnapped and rendered helpless so that male characters can fight over her. Pepper gets two moments of heroism, but both are the result of technology or augmentation inflicted on her by male characters.

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Dir. Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, and Anand Tucker
(2010, Not Rated, 303 min)
★ ★

The Red Riding trilogy, consisting of three films spanning nine years of institutionalized corruption in Northern England, is like a David Fincher crime saga without the benefit of David Fincher. It’s as grim, chilly, and obsessive as Zodiac, but without the same creative discipline. Stylistically it’s overcooked, and its plot is a convoluted soup of absurd conspiracies and secrets; at one point, there’s a Cosa Nostra-style confab to announce the dastardly building of a shopping mall, and the conspirators raise their glasses for a toast: “To the North, where we do what we want!” In 2007, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg made Hot Fuzz, an inspired parody of police-movie clichés. Red Riding is what they were making fun of.

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Dir. Ben Affleck
(2010, R, 123 min)
★ ★

The Town is a watchable and competently made heist film without much to recommend it for. It’s the second film directed by actor Ben Affleck, whose first film was 2007’s darker and grittier Gone Baby Gone. This film, also set in a noir-ish Boston crime world, is constructed mostly of car chases, shootouts, and cliches — occasionally effective, but on the whole not very satisfying. I kept hoping it would develop into something of greater ambition or higher artistic stakes.

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Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet, in 'Please Give'

Dir. Nicole Holofcener
(2010, R, 90 min)
★ ★ ★ ★

I wish I could write the way Nicole Holofcener writes. I wish I could write the way she directs too. It’s sometimes difficult to articulate the feelings and motivations of her characters in Please Give — they contain layers of often contradictory emotions — but they elicit our immediate empathy. There is a scene, and others like it, where two sisters sit together on a couch watching television and one lays her head on the other’s shoulder; without a word of dialogue, we feel their longing, regret, and self-doubt … Read the rest of my review at Culturazzi.org.

Rebecca Hall and Scarlet Johansson, in

Dir. Woody Allen
(PG-13) ★ ★ ★ ½

Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, my favorite of his films from this underachieving decade of his career, is a romantic comedy about love, but it isn’t romantic about love. It’s too neurotic for that, which is par for the course for the Allen oeuvre. In its gently cynical way, it wonders if there is a right way to love among all the wrong ones.

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