Scott Marks 3:30 p.m., Dec. 24
Fueled by implausibility, and for a good portion of the ride much better for it, Bong-Joon Ho’s (The Host) Snowpiercer posits a non-stop, earth-encircling train containing the microcosmic survivors of a society killed off by a global warming-induced deep freeze. Much of the ingenuity is housed in the bullet-train-paced first half. But like a fish past its expiration date, this train stinks from the head, and the closer the steerage-based rebels (led by Chris Evans and Jamie Bell) get to the “Sacred Engine,” the more excess baggage — backstory, watered down satire, a predictable third act reveal — gets thrown on the tracks. As Mason, a right-wing conductor of sorts bent on keeping those in coach from ever upgrading, Tilda Swinton merits a prequel of her own. Her chops-licking, phlegm-stalled delivery coughs up the most uniquely pitched dialect in a career defined by its vast array of unfaltering accents. 2014.
- "Excess baggage" • July 2, 2014