- RFT'S 2014 Best Movie Theater
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"Joker" centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone fictional story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips' exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, is of a man struggling to find his way in Gotham's fracturedsociety. A clown-for-hire by day, he aspires to be a stand-up comic at night...but finds the joke always seems to be on him. Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study.
Joaquin Phoenix creeps us out in an intense, bloody character study that never glorifies the violence.
Three Stars (out of four)
Richard Roeper / Chicago Sun-Times
As embodied by an emaciated, maniacal, wild-eyed Joaquin Phoenix, who dances like a life-size marionette, laughs uncontrollably at the most inappropriate times and feels alive for the first time in his life only after he kills, “Joker” is a chilling character study centered around the series of events in Gotham City that resulted in the transformation of the sad loner Arthur Fleck into one of the most storied (and psychopathic) comic book supervillains of all time. Director and co-writer Todd Phillips (best known for comedies such as the “Hangover” movies and “Old School”) has delivered a dark, intense, well-photographed examination of a damaged and dangerous soul who lashes out at a society that has stepped over him and looked right through him his entire life — that is, when they’re not making him the butt of their jokes. Borrowing elements from “Taxi Driver” and “The King of Comedy”, “Joker” is bathed in dark, ominous tones of brown and deep blue and shades of gray — in sharp contrast to Arthur Fleck/Joker’s increasingly splashy wardrobe. With Phoenix appearing in virtually every minute of this movie and dominating the screen with his memorably creepy turn, “Joker” will cling to you like the aftermath of an unfortunately realistic nightmare.
This fall, the worldwide phenomenon DOWNTON ABBEY, becomes a grand motion picture event, as the beloved Crawleys and their intrepid staff prepare for the most important moment of their lives. A royal visit from the King and Queen of England will unleash scandal, romance and intrigue that will leave the future of Downton hanging in the balance.
Due to studio restrictions, complimentary passes will not be accepted for any preview screenings or during opening weekend of this film.
On the big screen, the highbrow soap opera’s improbabilities seem sillier and the highlights seem even more brilliant.
Three Stars (out of four)
By Richard Roeper / Chicago Sun-Times
A few years after all those memorable early 20th century British period-piece characters took their curtain call (or so we thought) in an audience-pleasing, unabashedly sentimental series finale, now arrives the “Downton Abbey” movie, which is the cinematic equivalent of taking a trip to Highclere Castle for old times’ sake and taking one last look around.
It’s an extravagant dessert after a six-course meal. Absolutely unnecessary, but still a real treat.
For all its sophistication and pinpoint attention to detail, for all the wonderful performances from one of the great ensemble casts in television history, for all the sharp-tongued dialogue and gorgeous visuals, “Downton Abbey” embraced its soap opera core from the very start — complete with arbitrary deaths, lurid affairs, dramatic marriage proposals, devious criminal doings, multiple instances of elaborate cover-up efforts to hide the biological truth about a child, etc., etc. Magnified to the big screen, some of the more implausible moments seem even more ridiculous.
But that also holds true for the highlights, from a genuinely moving conversation between the Dowager Countess and Lady Mary that reinforces their respective standings as perhaps the two most powerful, take-charge characters in the “Downton” canon, to the visual splendor of Downton Abbey aka Highclere Castle on the big screen.
What a lovely and welcome encore.
When her idyllic vacation takes an unthinkable turn, Ellen Martin (Academy Award winner Meryl Streep) begins investigating a fake insurance policy, only to find herself down a rabbit hole of questionable dealings that can be linked to a Panama City law firm and its vested interest in helping the world's wealthiest citizens amass even larger fortunes. The charming -- and very well-dressed -- founding partners Jürgen Mossack (Academy Award winner Gary Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Golden Globe nominee Antonio Banderas) are experts in the seductive ways shell companies and offshore accounts help the rich and powerful prosper. They are about to show us that Ellen's predicament only hints at the tax evasion, bribery and other illicit absurdities that the super wealthy indulge in to support the world's corrupt financial system.
In a film about the Panama Papers scandal, Steven Soderbergh convenes a seminar in international finance, with Antonio Banderas, Gary Oldman and Sharon Stone.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
“The Laundromat” is like an enthusiastic high-school teacher — maybe you know the type — who tries to liven up dry material with skits, games and funny costumes. The film’s subject matter could hardly be more urgent: the deep and pervasive corruption of the global financial system, as documented in the 2016 data leak known as the Panama Papers. But the movie, directed by Steven Soderbergh from a screenplay by Scott Z. Burns, conducts its business with brisk, breezy irreverence. It’s a didactic comedy, an earnest lesson in political economy dressed up as a farce. Rather than trying to elicit horror or pity, “The Laundromat” aims to provoke a sense of spirited outrage, the sort of righteous disgust that might express itself through reform-minded citizen action. But for a movie about how awful the world is and how it got that way, “The Laundromat” is kind of a lark.
An understated and wonderful St. Louis gem, the Hi-Pointe Theatre was built in 1922 at the incredible intersection of Interstate 64, Clayton Road, Clayton Avenue, McCausland Avenue, Forest Avenue, Oakland Avenue and Skinker Boulevard, today also the home of the world’s largest Amoco sign and just at the southwest corner of Forest Park. Continue Reading