‘A Late Quartet’ feels a little out of tune

Mark Ivanir, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Christopher Walken make music together in 'A Late Quartet'
Mark Ivanir, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Christopher Walken make music together in ‘A Late Quartet’

[rating=2]Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mark Ivanir, Catherine Keener, Imogen Poots, Christopher Walken
Director(s): Yaron Zilberman
Writer(s): Seth Grossman and Yaron Zilberman

Oh what a frustrating movie A Late Quartet turns out to be. What could have been an eye-opening look at a fringe industry and the lives of the talented performers who thrive within it ends up being a by-the-numbers melodrama, despite a sterling cast.

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Countdown to ‘Skyfall’ – A history of the James Bond film franchise Part 7

Pierce Brosnan inherits the role of James Bond with 'Goldeneye' years after having to pass on it for a TV show
Pierce Brosnan inherits the role of James Bond with ‘Goldeneye’ years after having to pass on it for a TV show

By April of 1994, Timothy Dalton decided enough was enough.

Licence to Kill had come out in 1989, done okay at the box office, yet no sequel was on the horizon.  So, he quit.  Now Cubby Broccoli and his team had to decide who to cast as their lead character, and decided to give one actor a second shot.

Pierce Brosnan.

Read moreCountdown to ‘Skyfall’ – A history of the James Bond film franchise Part 7

Denzel Washington soars to new heights in ‘Flight’

Denzel Washington delivers in 'Flight'
Denzel Washington delivers in ‘Flight’

[rating=4]Starring:  Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, John Goodman, Nadine Velazquez,
Director(s):  Robert Zemeckis
Writer(s):  John Gatins

Flight, the latest film from ace director Robert Zemeckis, is about a flight and a plane crash but that’s just the beginning.  The real story is in the aftermath as the pilot avoids confronting a central reality in his life, that he is an alcoholic.

Read moreDenzel Washington soars to new heights in ‘Flight’

‘The Man with the Iron Fists’ packs real punch

Russell Crowe is a hard-hitting Englishman in 'The Man with the Iron Fists'
Russell Crowe is a hard-hitting Englishman in ‘The Man with the Iron Fists’

There’s a certain logic problem with the notion of a slave, freed by his owner and yet forced to flee because of an accident, ending up shipwrecked on the coast of China.  In other words, leave your disbelief at the door, because that is how RZA’s “Blacksmith” came to be in Jungle Village in China, making weapons for the clans that war on one another there.  Along the way he spent time with monks, learning patience and inner strength, both of which he will need as the story progresses.

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‘Cloud Atlas’ could have used a better guide

Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in 'Cloud Atlas'
Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in ‘Cloud Atlas’

[rating=2]Starring: Doona Bae, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, James D’Arcy, Tom Hanks, Jim Sturgess
Director(s): Tom Twyker, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Writer(s): Tom Twyker, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

Are some books simply impossible to adapt? It’s one thing to make a disappointing film version of a beloved novel such as The Fountainhead or The Great Gatsby, where the story can be reproduced but the magic of the imagery or the interiority of ideas cannot. But can a book whose very essence depends on its literary structuring successfully morph into a two-dimensional, all-visual medium? Time can only tell with the adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Read more‘Cloud Atlas’ could have used a better guide