Quite an eclectic mix of films are on offer this weekend, from the charming young love saga Like Crazy, which has been building buzz for stars Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones ever since director Drake Doremus premiered the intimate romance at Sundance (it’s indieWIRE’s Pick of the Week), to Roland Emmerich’s anti-Shakespeare digital costume drama Anonymous, starring Rhys Ifans and Vanessa Redgrave, to Dreamworks’s Puss in Boots — the new franchise spawned by Shrek— and Johnny Depp’s disappointing return to Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary. Topliners Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried fail to carry In Time, which boasts a strong sci-fi premise that its writer-director, Andrew Niccol, can’t adequately serve. Indie releases Janie Jones (think Somewhere meets Crazy Heart) and The Double (think The Recruit, but with Topher Grace and Richard Gere instead of Colin Farrell and Al Pacino) are both coming up rotten on the Tomatometer.
Like Crazy, Paramount Vantage, US | Director: Drake Doremus; Cast: Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Messina, Alex Kingston | B+ criticWIRE | TOH!’s Sundance Interview with Doremus | 81% Tomatometer | THR: “Deeply felt first-love tale offers convincing performances and a fine-tuned storytelling sensibility.”
Anonymous, Columbia, UK/GER | Director: Roland Emmerich; Cast: Rhys Ifans, Xavier Samuel, Jamie Campbell Bower, Vanessa Redgrave, David Thewlis | B- criticWIRE | 56% Tomatometer | NY Observer: “Historians are already calling Anonymous preposterous humbug, but I found it a complex cornucopia of ideas and panache. You go away sated.” / TOH iinterviews screenwriter John Orloff.
Puss in Boots, Dreamworks, US | Director: Chris Miller; Cast: Antonio Banderas, Zach Galifianakis, Salma Hayek, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris | 80% Tomatometer | Variety: “Puss’ origin story could easily stand on its own — a testament to clever writing on the part of its creative team and an irresistible central performance by Antonio Banderas.”
Janie Jones, Tribeca Films, US | Director: David M. Rosenthal; Cast: Breilen Bauer, Abigail Breslin, Richard Cotovsky, Rodney Eastman, Frances Fisher | 42% Tomatometer | Village Voice: “Nivola and Breslin sing and perform the original numbers, welcome interludes that provide respite from Rosenthal’s lousy script.”
The Double, Image Entertainment, US | Director: Michael Brandt; Cast: Stephen Moyer, Topher Grace, Richard Gere, Odette Yustman, Stana Katic | C+ criticWIRE | 8% Tomatometer | The Village Voice: “Whether it’s the clumsy use of flashbacks, the air of manufactured portentousness, or the completely unbelievable casting of Grace in a role that requires a certain authority utterly lacking in the actor’s performance, almost every move seems a misstep.”
In Time, Twentieth Century Fox, US | Director: Andrew Niccol; Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Justin Timberlake, Alex Pettyfer, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde | 39% Tomatometer | Miami Herald: “But even though the story doesn’t grab you, the world of In Time still fascinates. If nothing else, the film sets a record for the number of scenes in which characters are racing against a ticking clock, and every one of those moments works you up. Seconds have never felt as precious.”