Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper finds his follow-up film Out of the Furnace in the neighborhood of Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter: literally, in the case of its central Pennsylvania steel-town setting, but also thematically.
Wartime as a setting does not automatically make a film “meaningful,” something that everyone failed to explain to Sergio Castellitto, whose inexplicable melodrama features more forehead-slapping moments than a screening of Showgirls.
[Grade:B+] In the most miraculous career resurrection not precipitated by Quentin Tarantino, Matthew McConaughey has abruptly transformed himself from half-forgotten shirtless rom-com himbo to an expertly sleazy, electrifying screen presence.
[Grade: B-] Considering that Markus Zusak's World War II-era bestseller is narrated by Death, it seems almost too demanding to hope for subtlety in Brian Percival's adaptation, with its yearning Masterpiece Theatre stares and tear-duct-attacking John Williams score.
[Grade: B] With its angry teen heroine (Saoirse Ronan) pining for an older, frequently shirtless boy (George MacKay) in an England riven by civil war, How I Live Now almost begs to be dismissed as a Hunger Games knockoff.