It takes a tremendous amount of delicacy and tact to pull off a movie
about 9/11 without making the audience feel it's been strong-armed.
Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, based on the Jonathan Safran Foer novel of the same name, puts you through the wringer.
Undefeated is a solid piece of filmmaking that is also too little
too late. The Oscar-winning documentary by Daniel Lindsay and T. J.
Martin concerns the travails of a high school football team in a poor
black neighborhood of North Memphis that overcomes years of futility
thanks in large part to a white volunteer coach who inspires them to
believe in themselves both on and off the field.
Albert Nobbs's journey from page to stage to screen has been long
and bumpy. Simone Benmussa adapted a short story by Irish writer George
Moore into the play The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs; this was
then nearly made into a film by the celebrated Hungarian director Istvan
Szabo. The fact that the project was still alive and kicking in 2011 is
due, in large part, to the determination of Glenn Close.
Man on a Ledge is a nifty little entertainment about an ex-cop
(Sam Worthington) framed for stealing a diamond owned by a ruthless
magnate (Ed Harris). He escapes from custody and stages a suicide
threat on the window ledge of Harris's hotel as a diversion while his
allies break into his accuser's vault to prove the theft was a hoax.
Men and women in black, a few at first and then more, move quickly and silently across the parking lot, like a slow rain beginning to fall into the dark mouth of the sanctuary. A blue jay screams curses from the skirts of a pecan tree.
Then comes the small girl the neighbors call “the urchin,” who spends each day alone flitting around the neighborhood like a trapped moth. She is surrounded by three patchy dogs.
She marches barefoot and chants a little song about the summer morning, three stray dogs, and her very own self. She passes between the mourners, a blade of blue sky cutting through storm cloud.
When she gets home, her mother will still sit like a sea wall in front of the Trinity Broadcasting Network with a can of beer. The urchin will go into the kitchen for a glass of warm tap water. The man in the coffin will still be dead. The mourners
will still gather and be sad. Nothing will be any better. The jay will keep screaming its malediction on the deep down meanness of the world. But, look now, for a moment: the song, the girl, and three loping dogs.