From two who brought us those sensitive little human dramas, Star Trek and Transformers, comes a sensitive, decent, well-crafted little drama about frailty and forgiveness.
No, really: In his first outing as a director, writer-producer Alex Kurtzman has filled in a heavily worn premise with wit, heart and — along with Roberto Orci and Jody Lambert — a lively way with ordinary speech.
Actress Sarah Polley's 2006 directorial debut, Away From Her, was a bit of a shock: an unexpectedly tonic drift into adultery and Alzheimer's that somehow found a way to move us without resorting to the maudlin. What was exciting about that film was its voice — clear, confident and emotionally complex — and many wondered if it might be a fluke.
The parents of director Benh Zeitlin are folklorists, which is as good a way as any to account for the ambitions of his first feature, Beasts of the Southern Wild. The film is a mythic odyssey laced with modern ecological anxieties, captured in a free-form, image-driven narrative that recalls Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. It's clear from the outset that Zeitlin aims to take the family folklore business to the next level.
Marcus Samuelsson owns two restaurants in New York City and two restaurants in Sweden. He's cooked for President Obama and prime ministers, served as a judge on Top Chef and Chopped, and recently competed against 21 other chefs on Top Chef Masters. (He won.) He's the youngest chef ever to receive two three-star ratings from The New York Times.