Sunday, April 8, 2012

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in "THE IRON LADY"

By Jay Bobbin
Tribune Media Services

"THE IRON LADY": All you had to do was hear the phrase "Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher" to know the performance would be Oscar-worthy, and indeed, it ended up earning the actress her third Academy Award. In reteaming with "Mamma Mia!" director Phyllida Lloyd, the actress plays the only female prime minister England has had to date ... a situation that posed multitudes of challenges in dealing with those who were used to British rule as it had long existed. Jim Broadbent appears as Thatcher's husband, whose spirit helped guide her, in a supporting cast that also includes Richard E. Grant and Anthony Head. DVD extras: five "making-of" documentaries. *** (PG-13: AS, N) (Also on Blu-ray and Movies on Demand)


"THE DARKEST HOUR": True, it doesn't get much darker than being under alien attack, and that's the plight of several teens who are in Moscow when the assault begins in this sci-fi tale. Emile Hirsch ("The Girl Next Door") and Joel Kinnaman, who was cast recently for an upcoming remake of "RoboCop," are among those caught up in the mayhem as landmarks explode around them. Rachael Taylor ("Charlie's Angels"), Olivia Thirlby and Max Minghella also star in the tale that clearly was engineered for the 3-D effects that enhanced it in theaters. ** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and Movies on Demand)


  "MISS REPRESENTATION": The effects of media messages about women's roles in contemporary society are considered by director Jennifer Siebel Newsom's documentary. Along with relevant footage illustrating such messages, many interviews reveal the related impact being felt by female teens today. Also offering comments are Gloria Steinem, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, among many others. *** (Not rated: AS, P)


  "LOGAN'S RUN: THE COMPLETE SERIES": After the 1976 movie that cast Michael York as a "Sandman" - or policeman - charged with stopping "Runners" who tried to escape a futuristic world where people weren't allowed to live past the age of 30, MGM decided to get more use out of the sets and costumes by making a weekly version for CBS. A pre-"Trapper John, M.D." Gregory Harrison plays Logan, who suddenly goes from pursuer to pursued. Heather Menzies ("The Sound of Music") and Donald Moffat ("Clear and Present Danger") also star. *** (Not rated: AS, V)


  "NIGHT GALLERY: SEASON THREE": Though he remained host of - and contributed a couple of scripts to - this final season of the NBC suspense anthology, "Twilight Zone" icon Rod Serling separated himself from it as much as possible, having become frustrated by creative battles over it. Still, in what turned out to be its home stretch, the series continued to attract notable talent to star in the stories ... everyone from Leonard Nimoy (who also directed an episode) and Sally Field to Vincent Price and beloved television couple Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)


  COMING SOON: "MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL" (April 17): When the Impossible Missions Force is blamed for an attack on the Kremlin, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team covertly try to clear their names. (PG-13: AS, V)

  "SHAME" (April 17): Sharing quarters with his sister (Carey Mulligan) drives a New York womanizer (Michael Fassbender) to face painful memories in director Steve McQueen's drama. (NC-17: AS, N, P)

  "CONTRABAND" (April 24): An ex-smuggler (Mark Wahlberg) reluctantly gets back into the business to try to ensure an endangered relative's safety. Kate Beckinsale also stars. (R: AS, P, V) 

  "HAYWIRE" (May 1): Mixed Martial Arts veteran Gina Carano plays a vengeful covert operative in director Steven Soderbergh's action tale. Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas also star. (R: V)

  "NEW YEAR'S EVE" (May 1): Various people mark Dec. 31 in director Garry Marshall's comedy. The huge cast ranges from Hilary Swank and Robert De Niro to Lea Michele and Jon Bon Jovi. (PG-13: AS, P)

  "ALBERT NOBBS" (May 15): Glenn Close was an Oscar nominee for reprising her stage role as a woman who poses as a man to secure employment in 1800s Ireland. (R: AS, N, P)

  FAMILY-VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.


This was printed in the April 8, 2012 - April 21, 2012 Edition


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