Rated PG-13 for profanity, drug use and mature themes.
Kidman and Eckhart Co-Star in Adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-Winning Play
How long does it take to get over the death of a child? Maybe forever, suggests Rabbit Hole, a poignant meditation on mourning based on David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name.
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and The Angry Inch), the film revolves around the crumbling relationship of a grief-stricken couple struggling to find meaning in their shattered lives after the loss of their four-year-old son. They both blame themselves for Danny’s (Phoenix List) untimely demise, even though he was hit by a car after impulsively chasing his dog out into the street.
The point of departure is eight months after the accident, which is where we find once happily-married Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie Corbett (Aaron Eckhart) not only still inconsolable but now emotionally estranged to boot. The Corbetts’ problems start with their incompatible coping mechanisms, as her desire to eradicate any painful trace of Danny’s existence flies in the face of his inclination to take some solace in nostalgic, if bittersweet reminders.
Consequently, Howie is bothered by Becca removing Danny’s photos from the fridge and by her donating his clothes to charity. Furthermore, he’d like to have another baby, but she has no interest in intimacy. In fact, she’s ready to sell the house.
Even the bereavement support group they join just drives another wedge between them. For, as an atheist, Becca can’t stand the organization’s holier than thou moderator’s presumptuous references to religion. Embittered, she believes that, if there is a God then he must be a ”sadistic prick.”
So, she stops attending sessions, oblivious to the fact Howie has developed the hots for the married member (Sandra Oh) whose shoulder he’s been leaning on. But Becca has her own secret liaison, an unlikely friendship blossoming with the teen driver (Miles Teller) of the car that killed Danny.
As strange as the above scenarios must sound, credit Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and their talented support cast for handling such potentially melodramatic material in an appropriately subdued fashion. Though relentlessly-grim and given to the undeniably bizarre, this character-driven drama does convincingly convey a real sense of how easily a rock-solid marriage might be irreversibly ripped asunder by an unthinkable tragedy.
A plausible portrait of what transpires when bad things happen to good people without faith in God or a lucky rabbit’s foot.
Running time: 92 Minutes
The Social Network
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated PG-13 for sexuality, profanity, and drug and alcohol use.
Damning Biopic Recounts Rise of Ruthless Facebook Founder
This damning biopic portrays Person of the Year and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as less a computer genius than a ruthless fraud who deliberately stabbed everyone close to him in the back en route to becoming the world’s youngest billionaire. The seeds of Zuckerberg’s success were sown back in 2003 when the internet wunderkind was still an undergraduate at Harvard University.
That Fall, after hacking into the school’s database for photos of coeds, he relied on an algorithm developed by his best friend, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), to run a website called Face Mash where guys could rate female classmates based on their looks. At 10,000 hits per hour, the misogynistic blog generated enough traffic to cause Harvard’s server to crash.
And while the sexist stunt landed the sophomore on academic probation, it also attracted the attention of a trio of upperclassmen who had already been developing a social networking website of their own. Identical twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss (Armie Hammer), along with Divya Narendra (Max Minghella), enlisted the assistance of the disgraced Face Mash creator for his expertise as a programmer, suggesting that he might simultaneously repair his reputation on campus by being associated with their relatively-benign project.
Zuckerberg agreed verbally, but secretly proceeded to steal their idea, giving his partners the shock of their lives a few months later when he not only launched Facebook but excluded them from ownership. Directed by David Fincher (Panic Room), The Social Network chronicles the site’s meteoric rise from an exclusively Ivy League diversion to the daily online destination of over a half-billion users.
Thanks to a nonpareil performance by Jesse Eisenberg as the paranoid Zuckerberg, the character-driven drama remains relentlessly riveting for the duration. Again and again, this despicable misanthrope exhibits a chilling malevolence in his quest for control of the burgeoning internet empire, subtly resorting to chicanery and criminal behavior to eliminate anyone he perceives as a threat: his collaborators, investors, friends and foes alike.
The scariest screen villain since Psycho’s Norman Bates.
Running time: 120 Minutes
2-Disc DVD Extras: Audio commentary with director David Fincher, and an audio commentary with the cast and scriptwriter.
OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening January 14, 2011
BIG BUDGET FILMS
The Dilemma (PG-13 for sexuality and mature themes). Buddy comedy about a confirmed bachelor (Vince Vaughn) agonizing over whether to tell his best friend (Kevin James) that his wife (Winona Ryder) is cheating with a young stud (Channing Tatum). Cast includes Queen Latifah, Jennifer Connelly and Amy Morton.
The Green Hornet (PG-13 for violence, profanity, sexuality and drug use). Seth Rogen stars in this action hero adaptation based on the ‘30s radio show about the heir of a media empire who secretly moonlights as a crime-fighting vigilante with the assistance of a trusted employee (Jay Chou) trained in martial arts. With Cameron Diaz, Christoph Waltz, Tom Wilkinson and Edward James Olmos.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
Barney’s Version (R for profanity and some sexuality). Screen adaptation of Mordecai Richler’s picaresque novel of the same name featuring Paul Giamatti in the titular role as a heavy-drinking, cigar-smoking, politically-incorrect TV producer doing his best to reflect upon his life despite the limitations of advanced Alzheimer’s. With two-time Academy Award-winner Dustin Hoffman and nominee Minnie Driver.
Breaking And Entering (Unrated) Guinness Book documentary chronicling the exploits of assorted endurance enthusiasts as they endeavor to break world records in everything from juggling to cycling to catching grapes to twirling hula hoops.
Every Day (R for profanity, sexuality and drug use). Midlife crisis comedy set in NYC, about a miserable couple (Helen Hunt and Liev Schreiber) in a sexless marriage dealing with a host of issues ranging from depression to adultery. With Brian Dennehy, Carla Gugino and Eddie Izzard.
Hood To Coast (Unrated). Track and field documentary follows the fate of four teams competing in the world’s longest relay race, a grueling, 197-mile test of endurance featuring thousands of entrants.
I’m Dangerous With Love (Unrated). Detox documentary about Leisure Class lead singer Dmitri Mugianis’ miraculously beating his 20-year, heroin addiction with the help of Ibogaine, an experimental drug illegal in the U.S. but available in a clinic in Amsterdam.
Ong Bak 3 (R for graphic violence and bloody images). Writer/director Tony Jaa reprises his starring role in the action-driven finale of the martial arts trilogy, which finds the hero preparing for a duel to the death with his diabolical arch enemy (Dan Chupong). Supporting cast includes Primrata Det-udom, Sorapong Chatree and Sarunyoo Wongkrachang. (In Thai with subtitles.)
Petition (Unrated). People’s Court documentary exposing flaws in China’s dysfunctional legal justice system where citizens frequently find themselves frustrated for years by unnecessary delays due to government bureaucracy. (In Mandarin with subtitles.)
Plastic Planet (Unrated). Eco-documentary examining how humans’ increasing dependency on plastic over the past century has come to imperil the health of both people and the environment. (In English, Italian, German and Dutch with subtitles.)
Repo Chick (Unrated). Action comedy revolving around a disinherited debutante (Jaclyn Jonet), forced to fend for herself for the first time, who ends up saving the day with the help of her entourage when terrorists, threatening to wipe out Los Angeles, steal a trainload of guided missiles. Cast includes Rosanna Arquette, Chloe Webb and Karen Black.
A Somewhat Gentle Man (Unrated). Scandinavian crime comedy about a recently-paroled hit man (Stellan Skarsgard) who has a hard time juggling the competing demands of his gang, his ex, his girlfriends and a snitch, when he emerges from prison a mellow fellow following a dozen years behind bars for murder. With Bjorn Floberg, Kjersti Holmen and Aksel Hennie. (In Norwegian with subtitles.)
A Useful Life (Unrated). Nostalgic romantic comedy, set in Montevideo, Uruguay, about a melancholy movie theater manager (Jorge Jellinek) who falls in love with a law professor (Paola Venditto) attending a screening at his struggling art house. (In Spanish with subtitles.)