In this week’s new movies, "All Is Lost" starring Robert Redford is a stranded survivor narrative made all the more engaging by the actor's performance. The film leads the pack with four stars. Ann Hornaday describes "The Counselor" as "phony, talk and dull" and gives the film a star and a half. "God Loves Uganda" examines the anti-homosexuality bill being proposed by Ugandan parliament and receives three stars.
★★★★ "All Is Lost" (PG-13) “‘All Is Lost’ pivots on a random, ultimately terrifying encounter between one person and the mechanistic forces of globalization. But the presence of Redford adds a layer of pathos that surely won’t be lost on the filmgoers who came of age with his golden good looks, as the avatar of a generation contemplates mortality that looms closer by the minute.” – Ann Hornaday
★1/2 “The Counselor” (R) “‘The Counselor’ treats viewers to at least two baroquely staged beheadings and countless courtly disquisitions on morality, mortality, regret and heaven knows what else. It’s an actor’s paradise, all this poetic, run-on musing, but it results in a movie that, despite its strenuous efforts to appear hardened and sexy and sleek, is unforgivably phony, talky and dull.” – Ann Hornaday
★★ “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” (R) “Yes, I laughed. That is to say, the 13-year-old-boy who lives inside me — and who sometimes comes out, despite my best efforts to shackle him in the attic of my psyche, where he is denied food and water — laughed. Consider this: I also gave ‘Movie 43’ 3 1/2 stars.” – Michael O’Sullivan
★★★ "God Loves Uganda" (Unrated) “Whatever the state of homophobia in Uganda — which Kaoma likens to an incipient wildfire — 'God Loves Uganda' clearly lays the blame for it at the feet of the American evangelical movement. The movie doesn’t really argue its case, preferring to stand back, in quiet outrage, as the representatives of that movement are shown with the match in their hands.” – Michael O’Sullivan
★1/2 “House in the Alley” (Unrated) “Made in Ho Chi Minh City by the Vietnam-born, California-raised Kiet, 'House in the Alley' evocatively depicts a land of warm nights, milky sunlight and sudden rains. There are scenes in the movie’s relatively quiet middle section that recall the gentle films of the great Franco-Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung. But this story begins and ends with bloodbaths.” – Mark Jenkins
★1/2 "Chinese Zodiac" (PG-13) "The opening action sequence is one of the movie’s best, even if its connection to the plot is murky. JC infiltrates a military base in a former Soviet republic, then escapes down a windy road by using a wheel-studded Buggy Rollin’ suit that turns his entire person into a rollerblade." – Mark Jenkins