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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Film Clips: Mar. 7

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  Dead Man Down R

A pair of New Yorkers unites for the purpose of seeking revenge. Colin Farrell appears as Victor, infiltrating a crime empire in order to get close to kingpin Alphonse (Terrence Howard), responsible for destroying Victor's happy home. From his high-rise apartment, Victor notices Beatrice (Noomi Rapace), a mysterious woman living across the street. She sees Victor carry out a gangland killing and decides he is the man to help her. Beatrice first seduces and then extorts his help to obtain retribution of her own. Beatrice appears fragile, but even as their feelings for one another grow, she devises a plan that puts their lives and affections at risk. Interesting casting and a taut storyline should be the right ticket for this film that reunites The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s star with its director, Niels Arden Oplev. (Lisa Miller)

 

Emperor PG-13

Fictionalizing history does little to improve this examination of Gen. MacArthur's sojourn in Japan after World War II. Before deciding to try him as a war criminal, President Truman orders an investigation into whether Japan's emperor was behind the Pearl Harbor attack. MacArthur (a flinty Tommy Lee Jones) travels to Japan where he surprises many by appointing Gen. Bonner Fellers (Matthew Fox) to conduct the investigation. Fellers, known to think highly of Japanese culture, interviews many officials, including Hirohito, but spends any time he can glean searching for the Japanese girl he romanced in college and whom he still loves. The film ably recreates the period, but uses Jones less than it might, while asking more of Fox than the actor can deliver. (L.M.)

Opens March 8, Oriental Theatre.

 

Oz the Great and Powerful PG

Disney is blitzing TV with a $100 million campaign to promote this $200 million Sam Raimi-directed production. The film falters with a bland script that depends on recycling elements from the 1939 classic. This story positions itself as a prequel, bringing a snake-oil salesman to Oz in a Kansas tornado that lacks the excitement of the one that brought Dorothy to the Emerald City. It's the wrong location for James Franco, who is short on the changeling qualities that would bring his Wizard of Oz to life. Michelle Williams displays a sweet touch as the Good Witch of the West, while Rachel Weisz does an electrifying turn as the Wicked Witch of the East, saddled with a problematic sister oddly portrayed by Mila Kunis. Given its budget, and Raimi's visionary talents, it's tough to understand the film's unremarkable CGI landscapes and visually dull passages. Though this prequel fails to enliven the L. Frank Baum mythology, at least Disney's theme park Oz rides will be new. (L.M.)