Peter Howell

DVD Review: U2: From the Sky Down

U2: From the Sky DownGenre: DocumentaryDirector: Davis GuggenheimStars: Bono, The Edge, Adam ClaytonRate: ** 1/2Davis Guggenheim’s TIFF-opening doc is not strictly a history of this legendary Irish rock band, although much is packed into 90 minutes.The film instead concentrates on lessons learned...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 5:32 AM

DVD Review: Afghan Luke

Afghan LukeGenre: DramaDirector: Mike ClattenburgStars: Nick Stahl, Stephen Lobo, Ali LiebertRate: ** 1/2Afghan Luke is a bright and bold Canadian film about war, but it’s neither complete farce — there are darkly comic moments — nor earnest flag-waver.It’s not at all what you’d expect from Trailer...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 5:30 AM

DVD Review: Breakaway

BreakawayGenre: ComedyDirector: Robert LiebermanStars: Vinay Virmani, Russell Peters, Anupam KherRate: **A hockey star whose dad is upset that his son doesn’t aspire to be a trucker? An all-Sikh team that can’t hit the ice because the players won’t swap their turbans for helmets? Cue the canned...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 5:27 AM

DVD Review: Drive

DriveGenre: DramaDirector: Nicolas Winding RefnStars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan CranstonRate: *** 1/2You might not notice the car he drives on the streets of Los Angeles — a bland Chevy Impala — but you won’t be able to take your eyes off Ryan Gosling in Drive. Gosling, playing a...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 4:56 AM

DVD Review: Paranormal Activity 3

Paranormal Activity 3Genre: HorrorDirectors: Henry Joost and Ariel ShulmanStars: Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown and Christopher Nicholas SmithRate: ** 1/2The makers of this creepy cash cow happily resisted the impulse to call this “prequel threequel” something awkward like Paranormal Activity...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 4:52 AM

DVD Review: The Ides of March

The Ides of MarchGenre: DramaDirector: George ClooneyStars: Paul Giamatti, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ryan GoslingRate: ** 1/2George Clooney’s presidential campaign drama traverses familiar political corridors, tut-tutting over backroom manoeuvres and minor loyalty tests as if this...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 4:07 AM

DVD Review: Poetry

PoetryGenre: DramaDirector: Chang dong-LeeStars: Jeong-hie Yu, Da-Wit Lee, Hira KimRate: *** 1/2In South Korean director Chang-Dong Lee’s well-observed drama, a lovely grandmother just wants peace to write poetry, her new passion, but the world won’t let her.Mija, superbly played by Yun Jung-hee,...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 4:04 AM

DVD Review: Killer Elite

Killer EliteGenre: ActionDirector: Gary McKendryStars: Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert DeNiroRate: * 1/2In director Gary McKendry’s latest eruption, Jason Tatham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro play professional score-settlers of various vintages and shifting motivations. But what we see on the...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 4:01 AM

DVD Review: Higher Ground

Higher GroundGenre: DramaDirector: Vera FarmigaStars: Vera Farmiga, Joshua Leonard, Dagmara DominczykRate: ** 1/2Higher Ground sees acclaimed actress Vera Farmiga (The Departed) directing for the first time in a film that explores organized religion. The title of the source book gives a clue to...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 3:23 AM

DVD Review: Moneyball

MoneyballGenre: DramaDirector: Bennett MillerStars: Brad Pitt, Robin Wright, Jonah Hill Rate: *** 1/2In 2002, Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s general manager, reversed his struggling team’s fortunes by choosing players on the basis of their deeply analyzed playing skills, rather than what a scout...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 3:19 AM

DVD Review: Contagion

ContagionGenre: ThrillerDirector: Steven SoderberghStars: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law Rate: ** 1/2Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion is the feel-bad movie of 2011. A star-studded thriller, it’s reminiscent of 1970s disaster movies, yet it’s more grounded in reality. The film details the rapid...

Monday, January 2, 2012, 5:54 PM

DVD Review: Our Idiot Brother

Genre: ComedyDirector: Jesse PeretzStars: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel***Comic smartie Paul Rudd is theoretically out of his comfort zone in this wry comedy, in which he’s called upon to play a gentle soul, Ned by name, who is utterly without guile and thus always getting himself in...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011, 8:24 AM

DVD Review: Sarah’s Key

Genre: DramaDirector: GillesPaquet-BrennerStars: Kristin Scott Thomas, Melusine Mayance,Niels Arestrup***In this potent Holocaust drama, Julia (Kristin Scott Thomas) is an American investigative journalist working at a contemporary magazine in Paris. She seeks elusive facts regarding the infamous...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011, 8:24 AM

DVD Review: Another Earth

Genre: DramaDirector: Mike CahillStars: Brit Marling, William Mapother, Matthew-Lee Erlbach***Starring director Mike Cahill’s co-writer Brit Marling, this Sundance prize winner tells a sci-fi story within the realm of intense human emotion, and with minimal special effects. A double of planet Earth...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011, 8:24 AM

DVD Review: Starbuck

Genre: ComedyDirector: Ken ScottStars: Patrick Huard, Julie LeBreton, Antoine Bertrand***A one-joke premise about a sperm-selling slacker forced to confront his own fertility gets a surprisingly moving treatment in this Quebec comedy by Ken Scott.David Wozniak (Patrick Huard) is a good-time Charlie...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 3:24 AM

DVD Review: The Devil's Double

Genre: DramaDirector: Lee TamahoriStars: Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier, Raad Rawi***The Devil’s Double tells recent Iraqi history through a doppelganger’s dilemma: does he destroy his family or his soul?Director Lee Tamahori’s dynamic thriller is based on the true story of Latif Yahia, the...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 3:19 AM

DVD Review: Super 8

Genre: Sci-FiDirector: J.J. AbramsStars: Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka, Kyle Chandler**1⁄2Is it possible to be fake and sincere at the same time?J. J. Abram’s Super 8 pays homage to the popcorn pics Steven Spielberg (who gets a producer credit here) cranked out a few decades back.It’s also a grab...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 3:15 AM

DVD Review: Larry Crowne

Genre: ComedyDirector: Tom HanksStars: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Sarah Mahoney *1⁄2Somewhere in a dark corner of hell, a satanic film class is waiting to study Larry Crowne.Can there be a better textbook example of soulless Hollywood product than this Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts vehicle? It’s a movie...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011, 1:00 AM

DVD Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Genre: AdventureDirector: David YatesStars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint***1⁄2Ten years and eight films after Harry Potter’s cinematic adventures began, the saga resolves in ways suspenseful, romantic and thrilling.In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, returning director...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011, 12:51 AM

DVD Review: Page Eight

Genre: MysteryDirector: David HareStars: Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Tom Hughes **1⁄2Page Eight is an absorbing British thriller, exploring timely and believable themes that aren’t the preserve of most such movies — which may explain why it’s going straight to DVD following its TIFF gala debut in...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011, 4:28 AM