Can music’s charms soothe a savage breast?

Bel
 Canto
 (15A)   Julianne Moore may not be Maria Callas in the singing department but she’s no slouch as an actress. In this ambitious adaptation of Ann Patchett’s acclaimed novel of the same name she plays soprano Roxane Coss. She’s interrupted in the middle of a private concert she’s giving to international dignitaries in a palace…

When emotion boils over into a desperate act

The
 Limit
 Of
 (15A)   It’s often said that modern bank robbers don’t go into buildings with their guns blazing anymore. No, they stand behind the counter in sharp suits clicking keys. In other words, they’re the banks themselves. We all know how badly they behaved when they were throwing 100% mortgages at people during Ireland’s boom years.…

Anguished final years of a post-impressionist artist

At
 Eternity’s
 Gate
 (12A)   Hollywood has never really understood artists. Kirk Douglas won an Oscar nomination for essaying the role of Vincent van Gogh in Vincente Minnelli’s Lust for Life  in 1956 but his performance was way over the top. Jacques Dutronc presented him in a much more nuanced manner in Maurice Pialat’s Van Gogh in 1991.…

Mother-to-be rocked by fiancé’s arrest

If 
Beale
 Street
 Could
 Talk
 (15A)   Anyone who saw Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight would have been impressed by the quiet charm Trevante Rhodes  brought to the role of the character  called Chiron. (As you may remember, three actors played him  in various stages of his life). Stephan James reminded me a lot of him as Alonzo in Jenkins’ latest opus.…

Ebony-ivory bonding in the segregated south

Green
 Book
(PG)   Dull would he be of soul who could fail to warm to the black and white communion of Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali)  and Tony Lip (Viggo Mortenson) in this feelgood road movie. As a treatise on racism, though, it’s hackneyed. Likewise as a buddy-buddy feature, the tropes are overly familiar. I didn’t admire…