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After the death of his older brother Joe, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is shocked that Joe has made him sole guardian of his teenage nephew Patrick. Taking leave of his job as a janitor in Boston, Lee reluctantly returns to Manchester-by-the-Sea, the fishing village where his working-class family has lived for generations. There, he is forced to deal with a past that separated him from his wife, Randi (Michelle Williams), and the community where he was born and raised.
'Manchester by the Sea' is one of the year's best films
With “Manchester by the Sea,” writer-director Kenneth Lonergan (“You Can Count on Me”) confirms his status as a major American filmmaker. Lonergan made his reputation as a playwright, but he understands what works — and what doesn’t work — in film. His skill at delineating characters and placing them in situations that get to the essence of their dreams and disappointments is breathtaking, and he has a way of eliciting sheer brilliance from actors.
Affleck delivers his most compelling performance since his Oscar-nominated turn in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” And as Randi, Williams is poignantly memorable.
“Manchester by the Sea” is one of the best films of the year.
- - - Calvin Wilson / St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Four stars out of four •
The story of intelligence officer Max Vatan (Brad Pitt), who in 1942 North Africa encounters French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Reunited in London, their relationship is threatened by the extreme pressures of the war.
'Allied' is a stylish romantic thriller
An old-fashioned film that slyly nods to contemporary sensibilities, “Allied” is an engaging showcase for Pitt and Cotillard. Working from a screenplay by Steven Knight (“Eastern Promises”), director Robert Zemeckis (“Flight”) delivers a romantic thriller that’s reminiscent of those that were made during the period in which it’s set.
Pitt is fine as a guy who wants to do the right thing but wants Marianne even more. And Cotillard, who couldn’t be more perfectly cast as a femme fatale, brilliantly keeps us guessing about her character’s true motives.
Some moviegoers may find “Allied” too different from the usual multiplex fare. But those who are capable of appreciating the virtues of classic moviemaking will be swept away.
- - -Calvin Wilson / St. Louis Post-Dispatch • 3½ stars out of four •
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