Mark JenkinsMark Jenkins reviews movies for NPR.org, as well as for reeldc.com, which covers the Washington, D.C., film scene with an emphasis on art, foreign and repertory cinema.
Viorel (Cristi Puiu), a divorced, bitter malcontent, is plotting to turn his simmering rage into action. The film depicts his arduous preparations in a stately, unhurried manner, using long takes and shots framed at a distance.
Enter Sandmen: Musical performances make up the bulk of Passione, and director John Turturro often can't resist getting in on the action. Max Casella (from left), Fiorello, an unnamed dancer and Turturro search for Neapolitan oil in the song "Caravan Petrol."
Stomp The Yards: Graphic designer Daniel Goldstein turned neighborhood rabble-rouser to take on Brooklyn's proposed Atlantic Yards project, which would have demolished his condo to make room for 16 skyscrapers and a new basketball arena.
Trunk Show: Circus ringmaster David Balding treated his teenage elephant, Flora, like a surrogate daughter. Lisa Leeman followed their saga for 10 years as Balding traveled from Tennessee to Botswana to find Flora an acceptable retirement home.
Natural Born Puzzler: Bored housewife Maria (Maria Onetto) discovers a knack for jigsaw-solving and befriends an enthusiast (Arturo Goetz) who helps her hone her craft — and rediscover herself in the process.
A Prodigal Girlfriend: Opportunistic beauty Peiru (Shu Qi) exploits Beijing policeman Zhendong (Liu Ye) financially and emotionally, only to discover — too late? — that she's in love with him.
China Lion Films
Honor among 'Assassins': A one-time student (Tsuyoshi Ihara, left) and a young warrior-in-training (Masataka Kubota) join the former's teacher, Shinzaemon, in a quest to rid 19th-century Japan of a sadistic warlord.
Peter Pandemonium: As Sino-Japanese tensions escalate after World War I, Donnie Yen's Chen Zhen flies (and kicks, and rolls) in the face of many a peril in Legend of the Fist.
Until proven guilty: Charged with treason and tried by a military tribunal in the Lincoln assassination plot, Confederate sympathizer Mary Surratt (Robin Wright) is defended in court by former Union soldier Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy).
Claudette Barius/Roadside Attractions
Sugar and spice: Raised in a remote cabin in Finland, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is fluent in multiple languages — and fighting styles. But though she can dispatch spies and assassins with ease, there's a lot she doesn't know about the world.
Alex Bailey/Focus Features
The Old Block, Chipping: Three generations of the Ponce family — including Reyna, a young acrobat who grew up in the family business — make up the venerable but vulnerable Gran Circo de Mexico.
First Run Features
Subito Accelerando: After taking an experimental "smart drug," Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) becomes a bona-fide genius, able to finish a long-stalled novel, learn new languages — even compose music.
John Baer/Relativity Media