The Week in Film: A Dickens of a Time edition (Part 2)


In Theaters

The Invisible Woman
(Sony Pictures Classics)

Ralph Fiennes can’t leave Charles Dickens alone.  Following his superb turn as Magwitch in last fall’s Great Expectations, the actor goes in front of and behind the camera for The Invisible Woman, about the revered author (Fiennes) and his young secret lover (Like Crazy‘s Felicity Jones).  Kristin Scott Thomas co-stars and About Time scene-stealer Tom Hollander pops up as fellow novelist Wilkie Collins.  This could be the start of a big year for Fiennes, who’s also the star of Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, slated for release in March.

I, Frankenstein

More in line with January releases is I, Frankenstein, a $68 million fantasy extravaganza that perpetuates the misconception that Frankenstein was the monster and not the scientist.  Based on the graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux, the film is set some 200 years after all that “It’s alive!” business with the monster (Aaron Eckhart, with a scowl and copious stitches) caught in the middle of an ancient supernatural war.  It’s written and directed by Stuart Beattie, whose credits include penning Collateral and Australia, plus story credit for the first Pirates of the Caribbean, and also stars Bill Nighy, Miranda Otto (Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings), Yvonne Strahovski (TV’s Chuck), and Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard).  If you must see it, and if you must see it in 3D, be warned that the added dimension is a conversion job and not the real thing.

Fleeing the Scene

The Legend of Hercules, we hardly knew ya!  Otherwise, everything sticks around, but if you’re dragging your feet on seeing the Oscar nominees, be warned that the likes of Saving Mr. Banks and The Wolf of Wall Street are having their screenings reduced and won’t be around much longer.


The deservedly Oscar-nominated Blue Jasmine and Captain Phillips are ready for home viewing, as is the under-seen Lake Bell comedy In A World… and the thoroughly fun Machete Kills, which was critically maligned because, for whatever reason, people didn’t understand they were seeing a movie called Machete Kills.

On Netflix Instant

Oscar nominees for Best Documentary: The Act of Killing and The Square join fellow finalists Cutie and the Boxer and Dirty Wars.  All that’s left is 20 Feet from Stardom, which you’ve already seen.

A surprise Oscar snub in Best Foreign Langauge Film is Captain Phillips companion A Hijacking.  Joining it is The Bicycle Thief, which won a special Oscar in 1950 for the best foreign language film, seven years before the Academy added that category.  And continuing the overseas theme are three seasons of An Idiot Abroad, featuring Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Karl Pilkington

Lastly, there’s the loathed-by-the-faithful Rent movie and, highlighting Machete Kills director Robert Rodriguez’s range, the PG-rated Spy Kids 3: Game Over.