Matthew Lickona 8 p.m., Dec. 17
Words and Pictures
A marinated-in-vodka high school English teacher (Clive Owen) and an imperious art instructor (Juliette Binoche) suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (has Hollywood finally run out of quality diseases to exploit?) are almost done in by Gerald Di Pego’s (Phenomenon) gabby script — one of the worst scripts top-shelf director Fred Schepisi (Iceman, Last Orders) has had his name attached to. But with Schepisi and long-time cinematographer Ian Baker calling the shots, pictures trump words with every turn of the camera. The single image of Binoche standing before her latest creation or a big screen TV strategically placed to eclipse a chalkboard say more than all of Di Pego’s subordinate prose combined. It ain’t Tracy & Hepburn, but at a point in movie history where romantic couplings are defined by Pettyfer & Wilde and Sandler & Barrymore, be grateful for what you have. With Bruce Davison providing exceptional background work. 2014.