Jake Gyllenhaal is no stranger to working with mad scientists – or, at least, mad science. It was a decade ago that he played schizophrenic teen Donnie Darko in Richard Kelly’s memorably offbeat feature about wormholes, time travel, a diabolical rabbit and an impending apocalypse.
Now Gyllenhaal, 30, is back on semi-familiar ground, playing Air Force Colonel Colter Stevens, badly wounded in the Middle East but kept alive as the star guinea pig in a top-secret – aren’t they all? – government experiment. The movie is Source Code, the second offering (after 2009’s Moon) from sci-fi surrealist Duncan Jones.
Here’s the dilemma. On the one hand, Prince of Persia is everything you’d expect from a sprawling, two-hour fantasy inspired by a video game: frivolous and predictable, a collection of high-wire set pieces loosely strung together in a convoluted story.
On the other, it is handsomely shot and surprisingly ambitious, with an impressive cast led by a bulked-up Jake Gyllenhaal, whose scrappy hero recalls a better-humored Hamlet, and Ben Kingsley as his beguiling mentor. And there’s the rub.
With Christmas, Kwanzaa and Festivus just a week away, the holiday season is in full swing, the malls are packed with last-minute shoppers, and the city's indie theaters are playing host to some of the year's most satisfying films.
Whether you're more enticed by the sound of screaming guitars or the terrified shrieks of Nazis under siege, the city's indie theaters have movies perfectly suited to your tastes. Among them:
With the Dec. 31 deadline for 2009 Academy Award consideration fast approaching and at least one surefire Best Picture contender – Jason Reitman's Up in the Air – arriving at theaters this weekend, it's a perfect time to catch a movie. As always, here's a list of the finest films now playing at your local indie theaters.
Based on Danish director Susanne Bier’s 2004 drama, Jim Sheridan’s sure-handed remake is not about a torrid love triangle, as the film’s ad campaign provocatively suggests. It is about Sam, a dedicated husband, father and Marine whose experiences as a Taliban prisoner in Afghanistan leave him bitterly withdrawn from his family and tortured by guilt.
Sam (Tobey Maguire) is his father’s golden child, a onetime football star who married his high-school sweetheart (Natalie Portman) and went on to serve his country. He prepares for a fourth tour in Afghanistan without complaint, not because he misses the heady rush of combat but because he takes pride in his work.