The younger Cronenberg has made a derivative exercise in body horror that plays as little more than low rent Cronenberg pastiche.
"Amour" is an incredibly focused and emotionally charged look at an elderly woman's gradual demise and her husband's attempts to cope with it. Although not exactly heartwarming, "Amour" has a more contained vision of human relationships than Michael Haneke's previous films without sacrificing its bleak foundation.
'After the Battle'
Now that a number of documentaries have dealt with the 2011 Egyptian uprising at Cairo's Tahrir Square, it comes as no surprise that the events have been applied to a fictional scenario, and by no less than a prominent Egyptian filmmaker, Yousry Nasrallah ("Gate of Sun"). Ably using the turmoil at Tahrir as his backdrop, Nasrallah's "After the Battle" follows a burgeoning, ill-fated romance between two characters uniquely impacted by social upheaval.
'Aqui y Alla'
The plot of "Aqui y Alla" is so slight it barely exists. But the first feature from director Antonio Mendez Esparza balances out that limitation with a richly layered mood that steadily accumulates emotion from one scene to the next.
Romanian director Cristian Mungiu seemingly came out of nowhere in 2007 to snatch the Palme d'Or for his last feature, the tightly constructed abortion drama "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days," a distinctly powerful work. While technically impressive and occasionally quite provocative, Mungiu's latest feature-length effort, "Beyond the Hills," is at once more ambitious and flawed -- in other words, only 50 percent post-Palme slump.
"My prostate is asymmetrical," says Robert Pattinson in one scene of David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis." As the affluent executive Eric Packer riding a limo around New York City in nearly every scene, Pattinson boldly submerges his stardom in the director's twisted anti-establishment tendencies.
"Holy Motors" is balls-to-the-wall crazy, beautiful and unbelievably strange. This is a movie about movies, life, death, the human condition, monkeys, music, chaos, suicide, whatever.
'Killing Them Softly'
There are no good guys in Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly," only people caught on two sides of a rough deal. The director's gritty, violent and heavily stylized adaptation of George V. Higgins' 1974 crime novel updates the story to recession-era 2008 and overstates it to the extreme, but Dominik brings a sleek pulp sensibility to the material and melds its topicality to a strange form of scathingly anti-capitalist entertainment.
John Hillcoat's "Lawless" lacks the same darkly energizing spirit that made "The Proposition" such a revelation: It has plenty of gunplay, scowling showdowns and dust-caked setpieces, but little in the way of dynamic filmmaking to imbue those elements with life.
'Like Someone in Love'
There's a lot of driving and talking in "Like Someone in Love," Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami's latest production made outside of his native country, but beyond that is anyone's guess.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul's new hourlong experimental feature "Mekong Hotel," cobbled together from ideas for another unrealized project, reaffirms the filmmaker's appeal by simply arranging the same core elements into a distinctly odd collage.
There are diehard Wes Anderson fans and then there's everyone else. "Moonrise Kingdom," the idiosyncratic auteur's seventh feature, eagerly pitches itself toward that first group of audiences and ignores the rest. But if those open to Anderson quirks will find a rewarding experience littered with warmth and playful humor.
For his third and most accomplished work, "No," Pablo Larraín has traded the allegorical track for the real thing, delivering a lively, mesmerizing drama about a national call to action during the 1988 referendum on Pinochet's presidency. With a full-bodied turn by Gael Garcia Bernal as its anchor, "No" broadens Larraín's range by replicating historical events in engrossing detail.
Red flags go up when a filmmaker embarks on adapting a beloved classic. Walter Salles' long-gestating big screen treatment of "On the Road" spent years in development and the nearly-two-and-a-half hour treatment of Jack Kerouac's seminal novel of the Beat Generation invited immediate skepticism.
"Reality" makes the case that society renders everyone impossibly small. The first and last shots of Matteo Garrone's drama take place from extreme heights that make their focal point blend with their surroundings. Everything in frame takes on the dimensions of a dollhouse, as if the Italian filmmaker has assumed a godlike awareness. The compositions suggest that people are inherently trapped by their surroundings and never fully capable of realizing it.
'Rust and Bone'
Satisfying for what it is, the movie merely confirms Jacques Audiard's skill with engaging actors in the potent theme of retribution.
Lee Daniels' "The Paperboy" is a rare case of serious commitment to outright silliness. The director's follow-up to "Precious" fries its dramatic content with a blazingly absurd grindhouse style as extreme as the humidity bearing down on his characters.
A key distinction between Mexican director Carlos Reygadas' completely baffling "Post Tenebras Lux" and his previous feature "Silent Light" comes from comparing their opening sequences.
Marred by excessive sentiment, "The Sapphires" has a buoyancy and a hook that makes it stand out -- but they're elements that would help it kill on Broadway (as it already has on the Australian stage) a lot better than it does onscreen.
'You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet'
The most prominent member of the French New Wave's Left Bank filmmakers, the 90-year-old Alain Resnais has never really slowed down, but "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet!" is hardly the poetic crowdpleaser of his last outing, 2009's "Wild Grass."
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