Sam Mendes' "Skyfall" and Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" are both scoring high with critics and look to dominate the weekend box office. If American history and the Bond universe aren't to your taste, there's Sean Baker's significantly more down-to-earth "Starlet," which is in tune with the lives and emotions of two very different women (Dree Hemingway and Besedka Johnson), living in the San Fernando Valley. French import "Cafe de Flore" starts out thoroughly engaging, but clever cutting, sumptuous sounds and a beautiful cast can't save the film's second half.
Also arriving in theaters: South Korea's "In Another Country," low-budget infidelity/relationship drama "28 Hotel Rooms" and a Chinese take on "Dangerous Liaisons." Reviews, trailers and more below:
"Skyfall" Columbia Pictures, UK/US | DIR: Sam Mendes CAST: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe, Ben Whishaw, Albert Finney | Killing it Overseas | Immersed in Movies | Mendes talks to Immersed in Movies | 93% Fresh | Rolling Stone: "This is Bond like you've never seen him and a dynamite Daniel Craig, never better in the role, nails Bond's ferocity and feeling. Skyfall is smashing, just smashing."
"Lincoln" Touchstone, US | DIR: Steven Spielberg CAST: Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, David Stathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt | Honored at Britannias | Oscar Talk | 93% Fresh | Kirk Honeycutt: "A brilliantly articulated, rigorously accurate, tough-minded historical drama that focuses on character and meaning over spectacle."
"Starlet" Music Box, US | DIR: Sean Baker CAST: Dree Hemingway, Besedka Johnson, James Ransone, Stella Maeve | The Other Starlet, Boonee | Baker talks to TOH | 80% Fresh | Marshall Fine: "Small but precise, a bitter little pill of a movie wrapped in a sugary coating. It's enigmatic enough to keep you watching – and thinking about it long afterward."
"In Another Country" Kino Lorber, SK | DIR: Hong Sang-soo CAST: Isabelle Huppert, Kwon Hye Hyo | ThePlaylist Review | 73% Fresh | Village Voice: "The cumulative impression is of figures being lightly traced in the sand only to be inevitably washed away, intentionally ephemeral and quite charming for it."
"Cafe de Flore" Adopt Films, FR | DIR: Jean-Marc Vallée CAST: Kevin Parent, Vanessa Paradis, Evelyn Brochu, Hélène Florent | Indiewire Review | 70% Fresh | Flicks: "A well-acted, visually arresting and artfully structured romantic endeavour."
"28 Hotel Rooms" Oscilloscope, US | DIR: Matt Ross CAST: Chris Messina, Marin Ireland | ThePlaylist's Clip | AV Club: "In its own small way, in documenting two people who want to be together but are too scared to commit, Twenty-Eight Hotel Rooms is masterful."
"Dangerous Liaisons" Well Go, CH | DIR: Hur Jin-ho CAST: Zhang Ziyi, Cecilia Cheung, Hang Dong-gun, Shawn Dou | Indiewire Review | 43% Rotten | THR: "…essentially a deluxe soap opera. But with its beautiful cast and gorgeous production design, it is still a highly enjoyable way to waste two hours."