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Movies: November 8,2013

Capsule reviews of ”All Is Lost,” ”Blue Is the Warmest Color,” and more

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12 Years a Slave
R, 2 Hrs., 14 Mins.
Agonizingly magnificent. As a free black man sold into slavery, the great Chiwetel Ejiofor places us right inside his skin. AOwen Gleiberman

All Is Lost
PG-13, 1 Hr., 47 Mins.
A man-stranded-at-sea film, starring an amazing Robert Redford in a role with almost no dialogue. AOwen Gleiberman

American Promise
Not Rated, 2 Hrs., 15 Mins.
This documentary follows two African-American students at New York’s elite Dalton School. It presents itself as a Hoop Dreams of education, yet it was made by one of the kids’ parents, and their blend of inquiry, defensiveness, and sloppy POV renders the film as unilluminating as it is ambitious. COwen Gleiberman

Blue Is the Warmest Color
NC-17, 2 Hrs., 59 Mins.
Yes, this is the French One With All the Lesbian Sex Scenes. And oui, they are graphic, but the film’s raw portrayal of infatuation and heartbreak between two women is devastating and sublime. A-Leah Greenblatt

The Broken Circle Breakdown
Not Rated, 1 Hr., 50 Mins.
It’s got some deeply spirited bluegrass music, but the Belgian awards- bait drama is still a rather arduous downer. It’s about a banjo- picking hippie farmer (Johan Heldenbergh), his free-spirited tattoo-artist wife (Veerle Baetens), and what happens after their little daughter dies of cancer. The couple’s unraveling is difficult to watch, yet predictable. C+Owen Gleiberman

The Counselor
R, 1 Hr., 53 Mins.
Considering the talent involved, screenwriter Cormac McCarthy and director Ridley Scott’s Southwestern noir is a monumental misfire. Michael Fassbender stars as a crooked lawyer who sells his soul by saddling up with a couple of cartoon lowlifes (Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt) for a quick drug-deal score. The dialogue is laughably pretentious, the plotting is nonexistent, and poor Cameron Diaz delivers one of the year’s most insane (not in a good way) performances as a sex-crazed, man-eating harpy. Objection! D+Chris Nashawaty

Diana
PG-13, 1 Hr., 47 Mins.
From the layered blond ‘do to the furtive gazes and deer-in-the-headlights facial expressions, Naomi Watts comes reasonably close to capturing the iconic look of the late Princess of Wales. But director Oliver Hirschbiegel’s biopic, recounting the last two years of the British royal’s life and her supposedly grand affair with a Pakistani-born heart surgeon (Naveen Andrews), is simultaneously tawdry and opaque. And the dialogue is clunkier than a Bond villain’s. D+Thom Geier

Free Birds
PG, 1 Hr., 31 Mins.
Not even Amy Poehler can save this bird-brained, visually drab animated tale about two time-traveling turkeys trying to take poultry off the menu of the first Thanksgiving feast. CStephan Lee

Gravity
PG-13, 1 Hr., 31 Mins.
Two astronauts are lost in space in Alfonso Cuarón’s awesome technological daydream of a movie. AOwen Gleiberman

I Am Divine
Not Rated, 1 Hr., 26 Mins.
A lively documentary about the underground drag superstar Divine. It chronicles how Harris Glenn Milstead, a sandy-haired teen in early-’60s Baltimore, turned himself into a cross between Jayne Mansfield and the Wicked Witch of the West, with a touch of Godzilla. It also conveys the surprise reach of his crossover celebrity. B+Owen Gleiberman

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
R, 1 Hr., 32 Mins.
A candid-camera stunt comedy, with Johnny Knoxville as a rudely inappropriate old coot. It’s hilarious at moments, but mostly it’s safe enough to chuckle at. B-Owen Gleiberman


Cameron’s Career of Crude
We compare her highest and lowest moments in onscreen raunch. —Missy Schwartz

BEST: There’s Something About Mary (1998)
Diaz mistakes the, uh, white goo hanging off Ben Stiller’s ear for hair gel and giddily works it into her bangs. It’s classic Farrelly brothers gross-out humor — and no worse than Stiller getting his junk caught in a zipper.

WORST: The Counselor (2013)
She masturbates against the windshield of Javier Bardem’s Ferrari. He’s aghast that a woman has a sexual appetite (for shame!) and likens her genitals to a “catfish.” It’s the most offensive scene in a movie that thrives on misogyny.

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