Of Gods and Monsters

Good morning! I’ve got a little more breathing room this week, so I thought we’d go back to the longer review format. But I reserve the right to revive the six-word gimmick in the future, because it was fun.

“Immortals”: Before he can play Superman for Zack Snyder, Henry Cavil must don the battle tunic of Theseus to battle the mythological army of Mickey Rourke’s Hyperion in the latest visually splendiferous work from director Tarsem Singh (“The Cell”, “The Fall”).

“Jack and Jill”: Adam Sandler plays two characters in his latest comedy — one a successful Los Angeles ad man, the other his wild ‘n wacky twin sister. Wait, where are you going? It can’t be any worse than “Just Go with It”! It’s been mathematically proven!

J. Edgar“: Clint Eastwood’s examination of the life of FBI head J. Edgar Hoover is the worst kind of Oscar-bait biopic, hobbled by Dustin Lance Black’s inane screenplay and a honking, miscalculated performance from Leonardo DiCaprio. And let’s not even talk about the old-age makeup.

Margin Call“: J.C. Chandor’s fictionalized look at the first domino to fall in the economic meltdown of 2008 is a showcase for a terrific cast (including Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci and Jeremy Irons) and a sharply drawn financial thriller. Yes, it’s very actorly. So was “Glengarry Glen Ross”, you know?

“Melancholia”: Lars Von Trier destroys the world in this thoughtful meditation on depression that also plays — in its first hour, anyway — as an exquisite comedy of manners. Rad likes it, too.

“The Mill and the Cross”: Lech Majewski’s literal art movie casts Rutger Hauer as 16th century Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel, and sends the artist into his own painting to explore the act of creation. And if you’re like me (or Susan), Majewski had you at “Rutger Hauer as 16th century Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel”.

Mysteries of Lisbon“: Four and a half hours long and based on a Portuguese literary classic, Raul Ruiz’ epic drama about an orphan (João Arrais) who learns he’s the bastard child of a wealthy woman delights in subverting its Dickensian milleu, and offers an intriguing take on European nobility as a never-ending game of snakes and ladders.

There, that’s everything. And now, I turn to the day’s reasonable amount of work. Catch you tomorrow!

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