The re-release of “Titanic” in 3-D and the return of the “American Pie” gang in “American Reunion” will take a big bite of the pie at theaters this weekend, where “The Hunger Games” is still going strong with $378 million worldwide. (All three are expected to score about $25 million.) But several smaller films, home-grown and foreign, are also arriving. Australia’s thriller “The Hunter,” Guy Maddin’s dreamlike “Keyhole,” Morgan Spurlock’s geek-tastic “Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope” and documentary “Surviving Progress” are among critics’ Fresh picks, while Whit Stillman’s “Damsels in Distress” will charm or disgust depending on your taste.
“Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope” Wrekin Hill, US | Dir: Morgan Spurlock | 85% Fresh | EW calls it “the most entertaining geek lovefest since 1997’s Trekkies,” but AP warns; “You won’t appreciate the film fully unless you’re already a member of the choir to which it’s preaching.”
“Surviving Progress” First Run Features, CANADA | Dir: Mathieu Roy | 82% Fresh | Shadow & Act calls it Muddled with No Definite Motivation | Toronto Star declares it “Crucial, captivating and profoundly disturbing.”
“Damsels in Distress” Sony Pictures Classics, US | Dir: Whit Stillman; Cast: Greta Gerwig, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Carrie MacLemore, Analeigh Tipton, Ryan Metcalf | 81% Fresh | Stillman’s Nostalgic Kudos and Review Round-up | Stillman Q & A | EW says: “Whatever imaginary era writer-director Whit Stillman has in mind, the customs he explores in this wan, self-consciously talky little drama intrigue him more than they do his audience.”
“Keyhole” Monterey Pictures, CANADA | Dir: Guy Maddin; Cast: Jason Patric, Isabella Rossellini, Udo Kier, Brooke Palsson | 80% Fresh | ThePlaylist calls it Beautiful and Brassy | Maddin shares his Favorite Scene with Indiewire | The Village Voice says “The film is infectiously somnambulant, so convincingly and unrelentingly dreamlike that its sudden end mimics the sensation of snapping awake from deep sleep.”
“The Hunter” Magnolia, AUSTRALIA | Dir: Daniel Nettheim; Cast: Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, Frances O’Connor, Sullivan Stapleton | ThePlaylist calls it Eery and Deeply Affecting; Clip | 76% Fresh | SF Chronicle calls it “A thriller brooding with disquiet and dread.”
“We Have a Pope” Sundance Selects, ITALY/FRANCE | Dir: Nanni Moretti; Cast: Michel Piccoli, Jerzy Stuhr, Renato Scarpa, Franco Graziosi | TOH talks to Moretti | Indiewire says it Can’t Connect | ThePlaylist says it’s about Finding Faith and Losing Yourself | 37% Rotten | Variety says: “There are only so many yuks Moretti can milk from the sight of old men in clerical robes.”
“The Assault” Screen Media Films, FRANCE | Dir: Julien Leclercq; Cast: Vincent Elbaz, Grégori Derangère, Mélanie Bernier, Philippe Bas | 33% Rotten | Village Voice calls it “so tense, it seems to pass in a single held breath-so quickly, in fact, that you don’t register its narrative flimsiness until later on.”