Rated R for pervasive profanity and disturbing violence
Parents And Police Search For Kidnapped Kids In Mesmerizing, Multi-Layered Mystery
Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is a rugged outdoorsman and family man with deep roots in ruralPennsylvania. He and his wife, Grace (Maria Bello), are raising their kids, six-year-old Anna (Erin Gerasimovich) and teenage Ralph (Dylan Minnette), in a tiny town, an idyllic oasis seemingly far removed from big city afflictions.
It is Thanksgiving morning, and the doting dad has decided his son is ready to shoot his first deer, a rite-of-passage he’d shared with his own father upon coming-of-age a generation earlier. And after a telling tableau dripping with Christian symbolism reflected in a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and a cross dangling from their pickup truck’s rearview mirror, we find the two deep in the woods where the boy does, indeed, bag his first buck.
“Be ready,” Keller ominously advises Ralph on the return trip, not because he has a premonition about any impending disaster, but due to the vague sense of paranoia he has cultivated over the years as an amateur survivalist. Still, a basement stocked with years’ worth of provisions would prove to be of no use in the calamity about to unfold later that day.
First, the Dovers travel to the home of Nancy (Viola Davis) and Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard), neighbors with a couple of kids around the same age as theirs. However, after sharing a satisfying Thanksgiving dinner, youngsters Anna and Joy (Kyla Drew Simmons) vanish without a trace while playing outside unsupervised.
The only lead is a suspicious RV parked down the street which the police trace to Alex Jones (Paul Dano), the mentally-challenged village idiot (Paul Dano) ostensibly incapable of pulling off such an abduction. With no other clues to follow, the investigating officer (Jake Gyllenhaal) puts the case on a back burner, much to the chagrin of the missing girls’ anguished parents.
Given that time is of the essence, it is no surprise when a very desperate Keller takes the law into his own hands, with his manic behavior cutting a sharp contrast to the relatively-measured approach of deliberately-paced Detective Loki. Will the frustrated father or the laid-back cop crack the case first? Or will they join forces and pool their resources? Will Anna and Joy be rescued alive, or found too late to save them? Or will the whodunit simply go unsolved?
That is the mystery at the heart of Prisoners, a mesmerizing, multi-layered masterpiece brilliantly directed by Dennis Villeneuve. Screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski deserves equal credit for the film’s intricately-plotted script which oh so slowly ratchets-up the tension in a compelling fashion guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat every step of the way.
A compelling character study of the emotional toll exacted by a kidnapping on the psyche of the victims’ loved ones.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 153 minutes
Men At Lunch
First Run Features
30 Rock Doc Unearths Untold Story Behind Iconic Photograph
During the construction of Rockefeller Center in 1932, a photo was taken of 11 ironworkers taking a break from their arduous labors to eat, drink, smoke and talk to each other. Because they were sitting on a steel beam dangling perilously some 69 stories in the air with Central Park and theManhattanskyline in the background, the iconic image would soon sear itself permanently into the country’s subconscious.
But who took the picture called “Lunch Atop A Skyscraper,” how was it staged, and who were the guys posing for the camera? These are the questions which nagged director Sean O’Cualain ever since the day he and his brother saw the famous photo hanging on the wall while hoisting a few a world away in Whelan’s pub in Shanaglish, Ireland. A note next to the stunning snapshot identified a couple of emigrants toAmericafromCountyGalway, Sonny Glynn (1903-1953) and Matty O’Shaughnessy (1901-1978), as the bookends on the far left and far right of the girder, respectively.
That chance encounter in the bar was the source of inspiration for Men At Lunch, an enlightening documentary narrated by Fionnula Flanagan which unearths a cornucopia of factoids about the picture’s previously unheralded subjects. Perhaps more importantly, the film also tells the greater story of the thousands of ironworkers who built skyscrapers during the Depression, a very dangerous undertaking indeed given the two percent annual mortality rate along with a two percent permanent disability rate.
Still, given the dire state of the economy back then, any able-bodied man was likely happy just to have a $1.50 an hour job, even if it was as thankless as it was treacherous. Plus, perched so close to the heavens, they seemingly enjoyed an elevated social status relative to the working-class men making an honest day’s pay down on street level.
A posthumous testament to the intrepid crew of immigrants who risked their lives in the sky overNew York Cityto erect 30 Rock.
Very Good (3 stars)
Running time: 67 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening September 27, 2013
Baggage Claim (PG-13 for profanity and sexuality) Paula Patton stars in this romantic comedy about a marriage-minded flight attendant’s frantic search to find Mr. Right before her younger sister’s (Lauren London) impending wedding. Ensemble cast includes Derek Luke, Jill Scott, Christina Milian, Djimon Hounsou, Taye Diggs, Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Adam Brody, Boris Kodjoe, Jenifer Lewis and Trey Songz.
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (PG for mild rude humor) Eco-conscious, animated sequel finds Flint (Bill Hader) and friends forced to vacate Swallow Falls by an evil corporation with a diabolical plan to repopulate their idyllic island with a motley menagerie of anthropomorphic food monsters. Voice cast includes Anna Faris, Neil Patrick Harris, Andy Samberg, James Caan, Terry Crews, Will Forte and Benjamin Bratt.
Don Jon (R for nudity, graphic sexuality, crude humor, profanity and drug use) Joseph Gordon-Levitt wrote, directed and stars in this romantic dramedy, set in New Jersey, about a guy addicted to internet porn who seeks a more satisfying sex life with a real woman only to end up involved with two (Julianne Moore and Scarlett Johansson). With Tony Danza, Rob Brown and Brie Larson.
Rush (R for profanity, nudity, sexuality, disturbing images and brief drug use) Ron Howard directs this fact-based auto racing drama chronicling the cutthroat competition in 1976 between flamboyant, British playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and relatively low-key Austrian Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) to be crowned the Formula 1 world champion. With Olivia Wilde, David Calder and Natalie Dormer. (In English, German, Italian and French with subtitles)
As I Lay Dying (Unrated) James Franco directed and stars in this adaptation of the William Falkner novel of the same name about a woman’s (Beth Grant) family’s effort to fulfill her last wish to be buried in a nearby town. With Danny McBride, Tim Blake Nelson and Richard Jenkins.
Inequality For All (PG for violence, smoking, mature themes and mild epithets) Former Secretary Of Labor Robert Reich narrates this economic exposé bemoaning the widening income gap in the U.S. between the haves and the have-nots.
Morning (R for sexuality) Character-driven drama chronicling five days in the life of a grief-stricken couple (Leland Orser and Jeanne Tripplehorn) in the wake of the accidental death of their young child. With Laura Linney, Elliott Gould and Jason Ritter.
Muscle Shoals (Unrated) Musical retrospective revisiting the legendary, riverside music studio in ruralAlabama which provided the unlikely setting for classic recordings by everyone from Aretha to The Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan.
On The Job (Unrated) Cat-and-mouse crime thriller, set in the Philippines, about two police officers’ (Joey Marquez and Piolo Pascual) attempt to apprehend a couple of ex-cons (Joel Torre and Gerald Anderson) given reduced sentences in exchange for performing some high-profile assassinations. With Angel Aquino, Michael De Mesa and William Martinez. (In Filipino with subtitles)
The Secret Life Of Dorks (PG-13 for sexuality, profanity and crude humor) Romantic roulette revolving around a nerdy teenager (Vanessa Marano) who has a crush on an equally-geeky classmate (Gaelan Connell) who, in turn, is in love with a cheerleader (Riley Voelkel) who is already dating their school’s football team captain (Beau Mirchoff). Featuring Jim Belushi, Jennifer Tilly and William Katt.
Wild Style (R for profanity) 30th anniversary re-release of the hip-hop classic featuring appearances and performances by such seminal rap artists as Grandmaster Flash, Fab Five Freddy and the Rock Steady Crew.