A strong selection of films arrive in theaters this weekend. Not only are "Frankenweenie," "Taken 2" and "V/H/S" fighting for audience attention, there's also Switzerland's powerful Foreign Language Oscar entry from Ursula Meier, "Sister," and Andrea Arnold's "Fish Tank" follow-up, the painfully beatiuful and audacious "Wuthering Heights." Both are must-sees, along with two docs, Eugene Jarecki's Sundance winner, "The House I Live In," an absorbing look at the failed "war on drugs," and "Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare."
Also arriving are SnagFilms' "Decoding Deepak," "Trade of Innocents" and Lee Daniels' sweaty and star-packed southern gothic "The Paperboy," generally considered the hottest mess to ever come out of Cannes. Indiewire has more reviews on this week's indie releases.
More on our coverage of the above films, plus reviews, trailer and a few exclusive clips below:
"Sister" Adopt Films, SWISS/FR | DIR: Ursula Meier CAST: Léa Seydoux, Kacey Mottet Klein, Martin Compston, Gillian Anderson | Our interview with Meier & Mottet Klein | LAFF Review | 100% Fresh | Guardian: "Meier explores the cruel physical and atmospheric contrasts between the two worlds, high and low, dwelling on the cloudy skies, grimy slush and the shadow cast by the peaks, which brings semi-darkness to the valley bottom."
"The House I Live In" Abramorama, US/etc | DIR: Eugene Jarecki | Trying to Reach 'As Many Americans As I can' with truth about War On Drugs | Our interview with Jarecki | 93% Fresh | Slant: "A powerful indictment of a program that has decimated communities, cost taxpayers roughly a trillion dollars, and hasn't reduced the amount of drugs being consumed one iota."
"Frankenweenie" Disney, US | DIR: Tim Burton CAST: Martin Short, Winona Ryder, Charlie Tahan, Martin Landau | Fantastic Fest Review | Immersed in Movies Consider's Burton's Oscar chances | Touring the Art of 'Frankenweenie' at Comic-Con | 83% Fresh | USA Today: "A beautifully crafted homage to classic horror films, a study of grief and a commentary on the mysteries of science and those who narrow-mindedly fear its advances."
"Wuthering Heights" Oscilloscope, UK | DIR" Andrea Arnold CAST: Solomon Glave, Shannon Beer, James Howson, Kaya Scodelario, Oliver Milburn, Nicola Burley, Paul Hilton | Arnold talks Class, Race, Gender & Being a Woman Director | Seattle Review | 80% Fresh | THR: "As refreshing as a dawn walk in winter on the Yorkshire moors, [it] shows how 21st century cinema can — and should — go about boldly revitalizing even the most familiar literary properties,..[it is] is her most successful and satisfying feature to date. Indeed, so audaciously cutting-edge does it feel,..that it suddenly makes Cary Fukunaga’s current (Charlotte) Brontë adaptation, the solidly respectable 'Jane Eyre,' look almost [old-fashioned]."
"V/H/S" Magnet, US | DIR: Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Radio Silence CAST: Joe Swanberg, Calvin Reeder, Adam Wingard, Sophia Takal, Kate Lyn Sheil | 67% Fresh | AV Club: "All told, V/H/S brings some cohesion to the Wild West of indie horror filmmaking, and seems destined to become a key artifact of a DIY era."
"Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare" Roadside, US/CH/GER | DIR: Matthew Heineman, Susan Froemke | "The Perverse Economic Incentives that Drive American Healthcare" | 50% Rotten | Variety: "Like a doctor's carefully structured analysis of a patient's condition, the film breaks down its massive subject into manageable, clear, but not simplified parts."
"Decoding Deepak" SnagFilms, US | DIR: Gotham Chopra | SnagFilms Acquisitions | 50% Rotten |Spirituality & Practice: "Fans of this self-help guru will find this documentary directed by his son Gotham to be helpful. It amply illustrates the global appeal of Chopra's message of raising consciousness. Those skeptical about this roving spiritual teacher are sure to concur with Gotham's criticism of his father's love of material things (as demonstrated by his penchant for staying in the best hotels and constantly shopping), his arrogance as he puts down the intelligence of some Buddhist monks, and his egocentric needs for fame, adoration from fans, and the devotion of celebrities."
"The Paperboy" Millenium, US | DIR: Lee Daniels CAST: Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, Matthew McConaughey | Nasty Cannes Reviews in a Found Poem | ThePlaylist calls it A Disastrous Flop | 49% Rotten | NY Times: "To attempt a simple description of “The Paperboy” is to risk exhausting the normal critical vocabulary,..a domestic melodrama, a Southern Gothic, a legal thriller, a coming-of-age-story, a high-toned sexploitation picture and an earnest lesson in journalistic ethics and race relations. None of that quite captures it, I’m afraid. 'The Paperboy' is what cinema scholars (and speakers fluent in the film’s native idiom) might call a hot mess."
"Taken 2" Twentieth C. Fox, FR | DIR: Olivier Megaton CAST: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen | 16% Rotten | Roger Ebert: "The cast is uniformly capable and dead serious, and if you're buying what Luc Besson is selling, he's not short-changing you."
"Trade of Innocents" Monterey Media, US/THAI | DIR: Christopher Bessette CAST: Dermot Mulroney, Mira Sorvino | Creative Coalition Spotlight Initiative | Village Voice: "Not for the first time in films, noble intent is at odds with aesthetics."
"Butter" Radius-TWC, US | DIR: Jim Field Smith CAST: Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Olivia Wilde, Alicia Silverstone, Ashley Greene | 37% Rotten | LA Times: "Given the talent assembled for this diversion, you can't believe it's not better."