The constant wrangling we see in The Romantics, directed and adapted from her own novel by Prozac Nation screenwriter Galt Neiderhoffer, might leave us emotionally drained if only we cared more, or perhaps knew more, about the characters at the heart of her talky melodrama.
This much we do know: A group of well-to-do Yalies have gathered along the picturesque Long Island shore for the marriage of ruggedly handsome Tom (Josh Duhamel) and his spoiled, emotionally distant bride-to-be Lila (Anna Paquin).
It sounds impressive, all this talk of universal logic, rule-following paradoxes and absolute certainties, rolling so melodically off the tongue of John Hurt, who could bring gravitas to a reading of the phone book. Yet even Hurt, cheerfully chewing the scenery as curmudgeonly Oxford professor Arthur Seldom, cannot save Álex de la Ingelsia’s arbitrary murder mystery from its own miscalculations.
Adapted from a novel by mathematical logician Guillermo Martínez, The Oxford Murders works best as a showcase for Hurt, who preaches the gospel of Wittgenstein before lecture halls packed with disciples, and Elijah Wood’s blue eyes, ablaze with earnest agitation even when his delivery falls flat.
There is no denying the technical wizardry of 9, Shane Acker’s feature-length reimagining of his own Oscar-nominated short from 2005. Backed by producers Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted), the young director has assembled a superior voice cast, led by the wonderfully expressive Christopher Plummer, to breathe life into a familiar post-apocalyptic fable distinguished by its exquisite artistry.
Does it detract from Pamela Pettler and Acker’s story that we’ve seen variations of it so often before, most recently in Terminator Salvation? It does, but hardly enough to dull the luster of its most innovative flourishes.
Highly-caffeinated film gurus--you'd have to have consumed a couple cappucinos to make it out that late--convened at the stylish W Hotel on Saturday night as the clock struck 12 to catch a glimpse of big-screen starlets Evan Rachel Wood and Elijah Wood. As part of the San Francisco International Film Festival's opening weekend, each was a recipient of a Midnight Award (hence the twilight hour) for their individual achievements in film.