Friday, December 20, 2013

What to Watch This Weekend: December 20, 2013

DVD watchers looking for something faster-paced than Ain't Them Bodies Saints may want to check out Elysium or Kick-Ass 2. Patient ones might be interested in the tense, two-and-a-half hour Prisoners.

David O. Russell's latest revolves around a somewhat scattered story of con men (Christian Bale, Amy Adams) roped into an FBI investigation, but its comical, sometimes over-the-top characters and retro style make it light and fun to watch.

This is a quiet romance about a woman (Rooney Mara) longing for the convicted lover (Casey Affleck) who solely took the blame for the couple's crimes. She, and the overly concerned sheriff (Ben Foster), realize that he will risk anything to return to her, and his efforts to do so bring trouble to their small town home. It's deliberately pacedsome were reminded of Terrence Malick and fellow Casey Affleck film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Fordbut doesn't overstay its welcome with a running time just over 90 minutes.

Sopranos creator David Chase made his film debut with this 1960's coming-of-age tale about a teen who joins a Beatles-inspired band to impress a girl. Doug's rock star aspirations and style do not impress his tough dad (Sopranos star James Gandolfini). It's a funny, sometimes sad story of a boy swept away by the British Invasion.

This Scottish comedy-drama focuses on ruffian Robbie as he tries to turn his life around following the birth of his son. Director Ken Loach is known for realistic portrayals of the working class, but that grittiness is approached with a lighter touch this time (perhaps awkwardly, as some critics feel the darker elements of the plot don't mesh well with the movie's lightness). Sentenced to community service, Robbie and his new companions become inspired after learning of a lucrative but illegal opportunity. It sounds like a crowd-pleasing, if familiar, story of strangers bonding with the help of a lot of whisky.

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