|6:30 & 8:30 each evening|
Rated R; 106 minutes
Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post (excerpted)
The Drop is a taut, atmospheric, exceedingly well-written thriller adapted by Dennis Lehane from one of his short stories. Lehane’s screenplay, directed by Michael R. Roskam, sports a superb cast led by the masterful Tom Hardy. Lehane — best known to moviegoers as the author of the Boston-set Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone — here brings his acute eye to Brooklyn, where he displays his usual command of local vernacular and tribal rituals, as well as unsentimental moral inquiry.
As Hardy’s character, a bartender named Bob Saginowski, explains in the film’s introduction, there are corners of his neighborhood “that no one ever thinks about.” He occupies one such corner, a tavern owned by his Cousin Marv (James Gandolfini in a fitting final role). Known as a “drop bar,” the neighborhood hangout is used by the local crime syndicate to transfer its cash in a seemingly endless loop of well-thumbed ill-gotten gains.
Bob, meanwhile, keeps his head down, buying rounds for his regulars while Marv scowls in the background — at one point he orders Bob to take down the Christmas decorations because it’s Dec. 27. But Bob’s watchful solitude is punctured one night when he encounters an irresistible little pit bull. With the help of a pretty neighbor named Nadia (Noomi Rapace), Bob begins to care for the dog, simultaneously becoming involved in a years-old crime investigation and perhaps running afoul of the Chechen gang with whom Cousin Marv has become entangled.
Love is Strange
|6:00 & 8:00 each evening|
|1:00 & 3:30 matinees Sat & Sun|
Rated R; 98 minutes
Joe McGovern, Entertainment Weekly (excerpted)
George (Alfred Molina) and Ben (John Lithgow) have finally tied the knot after 39 years as a couple, but with consequences. George is let go from his job as a music teacher at a Catholic school for violating the moral code (i.e., marrying a man), and he and Ben are forced to sell their Manhattan apartment and bunk with separate friends before they can reunite.
Indie filmmaker Ira Sachs (Forty Shades of Blue, Keep the Lights On) takes an impeccably balanced approach to the film. His ironic title refers to all tough relationships, including the one that the characters have with New York City. In how it mirrors life's joys and disappointments, and charges a minimum of $1,500 per month for the privilege, the city is as much a leading player here as Molina and Lithgow — both of whom, in their many decades as actors, have rarely been as beguiling or moving on screen.
The story is elusive, with unexpected leaps in time but Love Is Strange is hardly plotless. The final act is punctuated by a major event, yet Sachs is too smart a director to dwell on it. Instead he aims away from the obvious and toward a poignant wordless denouement involving Ben's 15-year-old great-nephew (the revelatory Charlie Tahan). It's one final nuanced decision in a movie loaded with them. Sachs, Molina, and Lithgow have given adult moviegoers a perfect piece of summer counter-programming — a warm, humane, resplendent romance to savor while our days are still long.