Mark Ruffalo stars as a down-and-out music producer who discovers a fresh singer-songwriter (Keira Knightley) and convinces her to make an album with him. While they’re both nursing broken hearts, the emotional vulnerability each of them feels helps them produce an uncommonly real piece of art. Written and directed by John Carney (“Once”), the film, despite its manipulative nature proves engaging thanks to the fine work of the two leads and Adam Levine as a musician who loses his way. The music is quite good and the movie is unabashedly romantic resulting in a film-going experience that will put a smile on your face, something all too rare during this summer movie season. 4 Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated R. 104 minutes.
Director Joon-ho Bong’s dynamic sci-fi epic takes place in a dystopian future in which the only remaining humans perpetually circle the globe in a massive train after a modern ice age occurs. A class system is used to assign passengers to specific cars and the social commentary Bong makes through this plot device is as biting as the cold buffeting the title train. Good performances from the cast, which includes Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris and John Hurt, dynamic production design and a gripping narrative, make this a worthy entry in the sci-fi genre. 3 ½ Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated R. 126 minutes.
The Purge: Anarchy
This sequel to last year’s horror hit focuses on five people who find themselves on the streets of Los Angeles during the annual purge, a 12-hour period in which citizens are allowed to break any law with impunity. While the film is flawed its message of rage and dissatisfaction with the gulf between the Haves and the Have-nots hits a chord that will resonate with the audience, making this an effective genre exercise with a purpose. 3 Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated R. 103 minutes.
Chuck’s Classic Pick:
Director David Lynch’s look at the underbelly of the American Dream was shocking when it was released in 1986 and it still packs a punch today. Returning home after his father takes ill, Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) stumbles upon a plot that involves blackmail, kidnapping and murder when he becomes involved with haunted torch singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rosellini). Graphic in its violence and language while shocking in its display of aberrant human behavior, this is a polemic work that should be applauded for its daring, unbridled performances and gripping story. Dennis Hopper steals the film as the livewire deviant Frank Booth, one of the most frightening characters in movie history. 4 Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated R. 120 minutes.
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