Believe it or not, there’s more than just the epic conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy arriving in theaters this weekend. If you’re not interested in (or, more likely, can’t get tickets to) “The Dark Knight Rises,” instead consider two great docs, “The Queen of Versailles” and “Shut Up and Play the Hits,” or French romance “The Well-Digger’s Daughter” or Japan’s “Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai,” all of which are earning strong reviews.
Director Lauren Greenfield won the directing prize at Sundance for “The Queen of Versailles,” her timely portrait of an uber-wealthy family before and after the financial crisis; the American Dream has never looked so bad (or so disturbing). “Shut Up” documents the final show of LCD Soundsystemt and frontman James Murphy. If you’ve never heard the band, there’s no time like the present (you’ll just be sorry when the reality that they’ll never play again sets in).
Details, trailers and reviews below:
“The Dark Knight Rises” Warner Bros. US | DIR: Christopher Nolan CAST: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt | Early Review Round-up | 87% Fresh | Andrew O’Hehir calls it “Arguably the biggest, darkest, most thrilling and disturbing and utterly balls-out spectacle ever created for the screen.” | “The Dark Knigh Rises” from Inception.
“The Queen of Versailles” Magnolia, US | DIR: Lauren Greenfield | 89% Fresh | Roger Moore: “With every shopping spree, every limo ride to McDonald’s, Mrs. Siegel underlines the cliche that money cannot buy you taste. Or class.” HitFix: “Turns the ‘Real Housewives’ formula upside down and it becomes possibly the least tragic epic tragedy ever constructed.” | toh! Interviews Greenfield.
“The Well Digger’s Daughter” Kino Lorber, FR | DIR: Daniel Auteuil CAST: Daniel Auteuil, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Kad Merad, Nicolas Duvauchelle | 92% Fresh | Variety: “The humanist spirit of Gallic novelist-director Marcel Pagnol is alive and well in the old-fashionedly sincere ‘The Well-Digger’s Daughter.'”
“Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai” Tribeca Films, JAP/UK | DIR: Takashi Miike CAST: Ebizô Ichikawa, Eita, Hikari Mitsushima, Kôji Yakush | 81% Fresh | Village Voice: “It may well be Miike’s best film, a patient, ominous piece of epic storytelling that conscientiously rips the scabs off the honorable samurai mythology.” | ThePlaylist reviews the film at Cannes.
“Shut Up and Play the Hits” Oscilloscope Pictures, UK | DIR: Dylan Southern, Will Lovelace | 100% Fresh | Variety: “Much like the band’s self-conscious synth-pop itself, Shut Up is initially satiric but ultimately disarming in its emotional resonance.” | ThePlaylist reviews from Sundance.