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.
David Fincher's film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo should please fans of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. Fincher and his screenwriter, Steven Zaillian, remain faithful to the complicated plot of the trilogy's first book, and they reproduce most of its many characters. In truth they improve vastly on their source material.
Carnage plays out entirely in a New York City apartment, where
two couples are trying to deal with a playground incident involving
their 11-year-old sons, one of whom struck the other in the mouth with a
stick. In the process, the film—directed and coscripted by Roman
Polanski, based on Yasmina Reza's play God of Carnage—peels back the skin of each supposedly caring parent, revealing the person beneath the civilized facade.
This soot-dark smear across the brow, between the eyes, will lead you, if the way be clear, through all the endless winter of our year, toward an elemental table, the tears and savage hubbub of that agonizing garden, the treacherous courtyard, hilltop, nails and spear, the cry, the dark descending fear, and then another garden with a cave and such an austere emptiness will fill the rest of history with clear resounding alleluias.