The screenwriter of the Ryan Reynolds thriller Buried unsuccessfully goes to the well again with this claustrophobic story of three co-workers who make a visit to a remote ATM kiosk in the middle of a chilly night, then wind up trapped and fighting for their lives when an unknown man in a parka begins terrorizing them. The idea is dubious to begin with, and screenwriter Chris Sparling and rookie director David Brooks don’t generate enough suspense to sustain it for feature length, resorting to incoherent contrivances involving characters who lack basic common sense. The cast includes Josh Peck, Alice Eve and Brian Geraghty. (Rated R, 90 minutes).
The latest from eccentric Canadian director Guy Maddin is another intriguing but typically aloof compilation of powerful images revolving around the story of a gangster (Jason Patric) who returns home to find his family in disarray, and his house haunted by ghosts from the troubled memories of his own past. While on the surface it might seem more accessible, Maddin’s films are usually difficult to decipher, and this one is no different. The black-and-white cinematography has a certain flair, yet the film is wildly uneven and has a defiant sense of impenetrability, creating a frustrating emotional chasm between the characters and the audience. (Rated R, 93 minutes).
We Have a Pope
Legendary French actor Michel Piccoli gives a terrific performance in this otherwise uneven Italian comedy about a newly elected pope who has a nervous breakdown just as he is about to address the faithful for the first time from his Vatican balcony. A psychoanalyst (Nanni Moretti) is called in to help solve his crisis of faith to little avail. Moretti, who also directed, introduces two compelling storylines but struggles to bring them together. As a result, the film becomes caught between its satire of Vatican procedure (complete with quirky cardinals) and a tender, more dramatic examination of a man haunted by memories of his past. (Not rated, 102 minutes).