Sunday, December 8 2013, 02:39 PM MST
Box Office: Recommended Films For The Week Of December 6-12, 2013
Recommended films showing in Salt Lake City for the week of November 14 20, 2013
1. Out of the Furnace (R)
2. Frozen (PG)
3.The Huger Games: Catching Fire (PG-13)
4. The Book Thief (PG-13)
5. About Time (R)
1. Frozen (PG)
2. The Book Thief (PG-13)
3. Monsters University (PG)
4. Enders Game (PG-13)
5. Despicable Me 2 (PG)
1. 12 Years a Slave (R)
2. Dallas Buyers Club (R)
3. Out of the Furnace (R)
4. All Is Lost (PG-13)
5. The Armstrong Lie (R)
The Armstrong Lie
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Alex Gibney
Recommended To: Those who haven't had their fill of the Lance Armstrong saga
Synopsis: Originally planned to be a documentary about Lance Armstrong's return to cycling after years of retirement Alex Gibney's documentary became a documentary about Armstrong's fall from grace.
Review: Watching The Armstrong Lie was an excruciating experience. This is partly due to the sow and grinding pace of the film, but more so because at one point I believed Lance Armstrong and to hear him recant after years of publicly destroying those who tried to expose him is disheartening (to say the very least). Whats worse is that Armstrong isn't particularly sorry about it. He's certainly sorry he was caught, but he'd like you to keep in mind that everyone who was standing on or near the award podium was cheating as well and somehow this makes everything hes done justifiable. He refuses to see what he has done as wrong. Its not about truth; its about giving the world the best story possible. Even if that story is a lie.
Director Alex Gibney has made some wonderfully compelling films. He has a knack for finding subjects that are timely and challenging (My Trip to Al-Qaeda, Taxi to the Dark Side and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room come to mind). The problem with The Armstrong Lie is that Gibney is so torn between wanting to pay tribute and raze Armstrong to the ground that the narrative is muddied and conflicted and never really gets beyond the surface of the story. This isn't completely Gibney's fault; Armstrong isn't remotely ready to admit to, or even share, the complete truth and that keeps the film from giving audiences the payoff they desperately want.
Out of the Furnace
4 out of 5 Stars
Director: Scott Cooper
Starring: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Recommended To: Fans of well-executed dramas with strong characters and a brooding bleakness.
Synopsis: When Rodney Baze (Casey Affleck) descends into the darkness of an underground fighting circuit and doesn't resurface his brother, Russell (Christian Bale), breaks from his gentle ways to find him.
Review: From its opening scene it is quite clear that director/writer Scott Cooper's Out of the Furnace is going to be a challenging and often brutal journey into the bleakness of contemporary America. Set against the rotting carcass of the American steel industry the film, co-written by Brad Ingelsby, touches on topics like the disintegrating worth of blue collar workers, the disregard for soldiers suffering from PTSD and the violence and drugs that fill the void of meaningless lives. It is cold, gritty, lawless and menacing. The heart of this darkness is Harlan DeGroat, a backwoods king played brilliantly by Woody Harrelson. He is ruthless, even when judged by a society without a moral center. Its not new territory for Harrelson, but he outdoes himself and the results are paralyzing. Bale and Affleck nearly match Harrelson's ferocity while also adding layers of emotional scarring and dismissed ambition.
Out of the Furnace is an unsettling experience. It begins with a promise of violence, both psychological and physical, and delivers in spades. Yet, somewhere beneath its visceral skin, exists themes of love and devotion, which is what makes the movie all the more interesting.
-Ryan Michael Painter
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)