Is “A Most Violent Year” the most? “Black or White” colorful? Popcorn Bag reviews!

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Kansas City, MO ---

  1.  A MOST VIOLENT YEAR (R)

RUSS

Fans of the dark crime dramas of the 70s and 80s will gravitate to the morally ambiguous thriller, “A Most Violent Year.” Oscar Isaac plays an immigrant businessman who tries to fend off the influence of the mob in 80s New York. Jessica Chastain is his tough-as-nails and not altogether honest wife.

 

SHAWN

"A Most Violent Year" is as sophisticated as it is slow and deliberate. It's well executed and well acted and yes, crackles with a '70s vibe. All very good things but for some reason the movie just doesn't excel enough to meet the lofty ambitions of the filmmakers.

 

RUSS

This smart and moody suspense flick is atmospheric, but it rambles and isn't quite as riveting as it should be.

 

SHAWN

It isn't riveting at all which is the problem. It's a little too hush and quite frankly not Scorsese enough to warrant any serious consideration.

 

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

 

  1.  BLACK OR WHITE (PG-13)

Relativity Media

 

RUSS

Oscar winners Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer battle one another over custody of their granddaughter in the well-meaning but only modestly effective drama “Black or White.”

 

SHAWN

Nothing about "Black or White" is all that original. You have pretty much seen it all before. It's predictable, a bit bland and completely forced. The cast is loaded with talent but when you ain't got nothing to work with what you gonna do? Call script busters?

 

RUSS

This well-acted film valiantly attempts to forward the discussion of race relations, but it never quite seems credible and occasionally descends into awkward melodrama. Chalk it up as a near miss.

 

SHAWN

It is very TVesque. Looking for a well meaning film that delves into race relations then you better check out something else.

 

  1. PROJECT ALMANAC (PG-13)

Paramount Pictures

 

RUSS

The found footage genre meets the time travel genre in “Project Almanac,” an intriguing but overly familiar sci-fi opus. An appealing cast of newcomers and a steady directorial hand keeps the convoluted plot from flying off the rails. But you may feel like you went back in time and viewed a movie you've already seen.

 

RUSS:  3 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: Did Not Screen

 

  1. THE LOFT (R)

Open Road Films

SHAWN

"The Loft" is one heck of a guilty pleasure. It starts off with a simple but nifty plot device but then proceeds to deliver aseries of twist and turns that are so clever the movie will have you twisted up like a pretzel. It's sexy and stylish and provides the type of Friday-night date

 

RUSS: Did not screen

SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

 

Also opening this week:

-Tivoli Theatre presents the “Oscar Nominated Short Film Showcase.” The animated, live action and documentary picks will be shown in three separate programs. Info is available at www.tivolikc.com.

-Jude Law stars in the action thriller “Black Sea” about a submarine crew after sunken treasure.

-“Amira & Sam” is a comic drama about an American veteran of the Iraq War and his unlikely stateside romance with an Iraqi woman.

-Panic Fest KC, the annual horror and thriller festival runs Jan. 30th through Feb. 1st at Screenland Armour. More information is available at www.screenland.com.

 

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Follow on Twitter: @fox4kc @RussSimmons1 @sedwardskc

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