From her first superheroine role in 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider' - which earned $275 million globally in 2001, back when that was real money - Jolie has been the one actress who can stand up to any male star and stare him down.
Musical chairs or Russian roulette? Sometimes there's as much tense drama in the casting of a Hollywood movie as there is in the finished product.
Starring Russell Crowe as the Patron of the First Ark, 'Noah' had affronted some Christian literalists with its giant rock men, its weird visions, and the occasionally dark motives of its protagonist. But the film corralled enough religious leaders, including Pope Francis (with whom Crowe snagged an audience), to salve canonical objections.
Innocent parents might have thought that a musical cartoon version of a fairy tale would be a child's ideal introduction to movie magic. Yet Walt Disney taught moral lessons in the most useful way: by scaring the poop out of the little ones.
'The Birth of a Nation' occupies a view of the South not far from Scarlett O'Hara's in 'Gone With the Wind,' and modern audiences have to wrestle with that beloved movie's romanticizing of racism.
'Under the Skin' is handsome, in a dour way, but inert - a cunning experiment that died in the shooting or on the editing table. You'll want to get the DVD, though, and not just for its study of Scarlett. Odds are that the Making-Of documentary will be far stranger and more fascinating than the movie that was made.
Almost any football play, even an off-tackle slant by a running back, offers the balletic beauty of athletic skill and the punishing drama of physical collision.
In 'Blade Runner,' the here is quite enough: a vision of dark, cramped, urban squalor. This is Los Angeles in the year 2019, when most of the earth's inhabitants have colonized other planets, and only a polyglot refuse heap of humanity remains. Los Angeles is a Japanized nighttown of sleaze and silicon, fetid steam, and perpetual rain.
The movie truism is that stars play themselves, while actors play other people - troubled or toxic, and memorably strange. By that definition, Philip Seymour Hoffman, who disappeared into the rabbit hole of his characters' souls, was our generation's anti-star and the chameleonic film actor of his age.
We all recall what is or was important to us and are astonished when it slips other people's minds. Perhaps we dismiss as irrelevant matters of crucial concern to those we love. That's life as most of us experience it, and which few movies document with such understated acuity as 'Boyhood' does.
Nixon's shifty eyes and perpetual 5 o'clock shadow made him a natural fit for caricatured villainy.