When we first meet Mary (Debra Winger) and Michael (Tracy Letts), their dull, lifeless marriage has turned them into despondent roommates who can barely hide their indifference for one another. They have fallen into a series of routines, both of them involving committed affairs. As their son (Tyler Ross) is on his way home from college, Mary and Michael find themselves rekindling a spark of affection, as they cheat on their lovers with each other in a beautifully quiet film that highlights the delicate eccentricities of romance.
Sadly making no reference whatsoever to Pink Floyd’s classic rock opera, The Wall attempts to humanize the war film genre by shrinking back in scale. Following in the footsteps of such films as Phone Booth and both versions of Sleuth, director Doug Liman’s latest effort is a single-location tête-à-tête thriller that essential boils down to a cat maliciously playing with the mouse it is about to feast upon. While it is difficult to generate a continuous stream of suspense around this basic premise, Liman (drawing from Dwain Worrell’s debut script, set in 2007 at the “end” of the Iraq War) is mostly able to pull it off.
A major player in the world of action-packed shoot ’em ups, director Guy Ritchie has made a name for himself with testosterone-filled joy rides. With more recent films like RocknRolla and the Sherlock Holmes series, the former Mr. Madonna was already morphing into a caricature of himself, but in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, he finds a way to take the action one step further, with a movie that makes a point of displaying characters shooting arrows while in mid jump. Perhaps Ritchie’s issue is that he keeps watching the films of other directors, because once again, he has proven that he has learned all of the wrong lessons from such movies as Ocean’s Eleven and 300.