Happy almost 2012 to you! It seems studios don’t expect many moviegoers at the theaters this weekend, knowing that we’ll all be out partying it up with friends, rather than hitting up the multiplex with family like last week. Only a few new releases this week, so you’ll be able to catch up on “We Bought a Zoo,” “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and other big Christmas releases that may have missed your favor last week. That’s if you’re heading out to the theater at all this weekend. There are a couple of high-profile pics worth checking out if you’re looking for something fresh: Sundance hit “Pariah” opened on Wednesday and Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady” is in select theaters today.
The Oscars will come a’running for Meryl Streep positively channeling Margaret Thatcher in The Weinstein Co.’s “The Iron Lady,” a biopic of the formidable former prime minister. Outfitted with some kind of tooth prosthetic, Streep looks to be in top form in this film, directed by Phyllida Lloyd (Streep’s “Mamma Mia!” director) and co-starring Jim Broadbent (as all British films must). Our review says Streep’s “dissection of Thatcher’s every turn and twitch is the motion-capture performance of the year, albeit one given by an actual human,” but that “there’s no heart here, just the hollow clockwork of a director grinding the gears of a script that’s trying to go too far with too little new fuel in its rusty standard-issue bio-pic tank.” Rotten Tomatoes: 58% Metacritic: 52
Sundance 2011 hit “Pariah” hit select theaters on Wednesday, telling the tale of a young closeted lesbian woman in New York City, grappling with her identity and her relationships with her family, directed by Dee Rees and featuring a lead performance by breakout star Adepero Oduye. Our review from TIFF says it’s “a film that is warm and raw, sometimes both at the same time, and is easily one of our favorites of the year,” “is refreshing in its authentic feeling,” and that “Oduye is nothing short of a revelation.” RT: 98% MC: 75
Iran’s Oscar entry this year, “A Separation,” is hitting U.S. theaters today, documenting a family in turmoil, directed by Asghar Farhadi and starring Leila Hatami, Peyman Maadi, and Sareh Bayat. Opinions have been mixed around the Playlist offices, but our review says it “is the finest film of this awards season and one of the best of the year, a domestic drama that in its deliberately restricted focus nevertheless opens up a nuanced, multifaceted view of life in contemporary Iran”; “an involving, wrenching tale of duty, love, appearances versus actualities and how some differences turn out to be irreconcilable.” RT: 100% MC: 93
Also opening this weekend, the animated Cuban musical romance, “Chico and Rita” RT: 95%; Thomas Dekker and Jeremy Piven in the drama “Angel’s Crest” RT: 27%; Mexican hitman documentary “El sicario: Room 164” directed by Gianfranco Rosi RT: 100% MC: 76