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'Coriolanus,' 'We Need to Talk About Kevin': Betsy Sharkey's picks

January 25, 2012 |  5:50 pm

 

"Coriolanus" and "We Need to Talk About Kevin" -- two exceptional dramas that dropped in briefly in December to qualify for Oscar consideration -- are back in theaters for their real run. And they are certainly worth your consideration as well.

On the one hand there is "Coriolanus," Ralph Fiennes’ modern-day take on Shakespeare’s great war story with its brash mix of fighting, politics, economics and clashing egos.

Fiennes has proven to be as superb a director as an actor; he does both in "Coriolanus." With a talent-packed cast that includes Vanessa Redgrave, Gerard Butler and Jessica Chastain and a truly exceptional Brian Cox, it’s a sprawling story filled with big ideas and bigger action, and definitely worth the big screen.

On a more intimate level, there is the tragedy of Greek proportions with its family betrayals and loyalties stretched to the breaking point in "We Need to Talk About Kevin." It features yet another searing performance by Tilda Swinton, one of the top actresses working in the field today, and a fine job by the talented teenager Ezra Miller.

They play mother and son in this dark, stark disaster. Saturated with despair, it is not easy watching, but it couldn’t be more affecting. Sometimes you just have to let a film break your heart.

RELATED:

Betsy Sharkey's best film picks of 2011

The thrill of 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'

'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo': Wow

-- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times film critic


 
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