movies: What’s opening with Sam Cleveland
The Master (MA)
This provocative pseudo-history of Scientology stars Oscar-winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a charismatic manipulator who brings a drifter (Joaquin Phoenix) under his wing while creating a self-help cult that spreads across ’50s America.
They say: A challenging work that plays by its own rules, according to most US critics. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but anyone on the right wavelength will be riveted.
Wesay: Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
( There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights), The Master is Goldilocks bathwater for cinephiles and fans of idiosyncratic character studies. Hugely, highly recommended. (Review, Page 12.) Running time 137 minutes. The Arts Centre Gold Coast.
Robot & Frank (M)
Veteran character actor Frank Langella holds the centre as a near-future retiree with memory problems whose kids buy him a butler robot. The gimmick: Langella’s a retired jewel thief who recruits the robot as an accomplice.
They say: An easygoing, playful charmer with great work from Langella and director Jake Schreier’s strong ensemble: Susan Sarandon, James Marsden and Liv Tyler.
Wesay: A cunningly constructed fantasy for seniors, as well as a timely (and tasteful) look at ageing in an era of overwhelming technology. (Report, Page 10.) Running time 89 minutes. The Arts Centre Gold Coast.
Here Comes the Boom (M)
Portly comic Kevin James plays an ex-wrestler who gets stuck into competitiveMMAfighting to raise money for the school where he teaches.
They say: Boom sticks to the rote Adam Sandler formula – James and director Frank Coraci ( Click, The Waterboy) are both known associates – and has no place on the big screen.
Wesay: It boggles the mind that ‘‘Kevin James fans’’ even exist as a demographic. Do you know anyone who queues for these things? (Review, Page 9.) Running time 105 minutes. Harbour Town, Robina, Coolangatta, Pacific Fair, Australia Fair, Nerang, Tweed City.
Pitch Perfect (M)
This breezy teen product mixes the street-jam groove of the Step Up series with the sing-along fizz of Glee to spin a tale set on the competitive US college a capella singing circuit. Australian export Rebel Wilson racks up another Hollywood credit as the comic relief.
They say: Director Jason Moore (US theatre and TV) delivers some great musical numbers and a likable cast of quirkers. Wesay: Undemanding teen audiences and fans of Glee and The Voice will be pleased. (Report, Page 9.) Running time 112 minutes. Harbour Town, Australia Fair, Robina, Coolangatta, Yatala Drive-in, Tweed City.
The Man With Iron Fists (MA)
Wu Tang Clan mastermind RZA stars and makes his directorial debut in this hyper-stylised martial arts fantasy set in 19th century China. Russell Crowe plays a pirate ally.
They say: Despite RZA’s kitchen-sink approach to directing and spots of clumsiness, critics just couldn’t bring themselves to dismiss the film’s unabashed energy and passion.
Wesay: Just too undisciplined to be considered anything more than an intriguing mess, and yes, someone in the film does in fact wield actual ‘‘iron fists’’. Running time 95 minutes. Harbour Town, Pacific Fair, Nerang.
Love Story (M)
New Zealand writer/director/star Florian Habicht’s blazingly original romance project intersperses vox pop interviews with New Yorkers about the topic of romance with scenes of him and a Russian actress improvising a ‘‘love story’’ on the interviewees’ suggestions.
They say: Most reviewers have been struck by the unique structure, while admitting the aimless narrative almost begins to grate before the closing credits.
Wesay: Worth a look – the film won top prize at the New Zealand Film & Television Awards. Running time 94 minutes. Cinemax Kingscliff.
Rise of the Guardians (PG)
Turns out Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny have been teaming up for years to fight off evil/save the day etc. This high-velocity 3D school holiday pic, directed by Peter Ramsey (debut), takes you behind the scenes. They say: Despite good-to-great reviews, Rise of the Guardians performed dismally at the US box office, stifling any chance of sequels based on the children’s book series it’s adapted from.
Wesay: Creepy character designs (Santa looks like a biker hobo) and a gloomy storyline make us wonder who the target market is: young enough to believe = too young for the movie? Running time 97 minutes. Previews today until Saturday at Harbour Town, Robina, Coolangatta, Australia Fair, Pacific Fair, Yatala Drive-in, Tweed City.
Love Is All You Need (M)
A Danish cancer patient, who catches her husband having an affair, and a rich widower resigned to single life (Pierce Brosnan) find tentative, middle-age romance in Italy.
They say: Despite the presence of Oscar-winning Danish director Susanne Bier ( Things We Lost in the Fire), Love Is All You Need was judged an OK, harmless time-passer. Wesay: The appealing cast, postcard locations and easygoing drama add up to a tasteful package for the target market. Running time 116 minutes. Previews tomorrow until Sunday at The Arts Centre Gold Coast.
Local cinemas preview Rise of the Guardians.