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Weekend Preview: Must-See ‘Silver Linings Playbook,’ Wright & Knightley’s Beautifully Mounted ‘Anna Karenina’

Weekend Preview: Must-See 'Silver Linings Playbook,' Wright & Knightley's Beautifully Mounted 'Anna Karenina'

The Oscar race is about to get real now that David O. Russell’s crowd pleaser “Silver Linings Playbook” is hitting theaters. The satisfying film stars Bradley Cooper at his all-time best and Jennifer Lawrence on form. Joe Wright’s “Anna Karenina” has proved more devisive among critics, who praise the lavish costumes and cleverly theatrical set, but also cite a lack of chemistry and depth from the leading players.

Also arriving this weekend are acclaimed documentaries “Chasing Ice,” about the stunning and worrying melting of Artic glaciers; and “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” about pedophilia in the Catholic church. Indies “Price Check” and “Funeral Kings” are also in select theaters. Reviews, trailers and more below:

“Silver Linings Playbook” Dir. David O. Russell, USA 87% Fresh | Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver | At AFI | Weinsteins Pushing for Oscar. | TOH Interviews Lawrence.

Film: “With great pacing, a great sense of the moment and some of the most entertaining one-liners you’ll find this side of a Coen brothers’ film, there’s much to like about Silver Linings Playbook.”

“Anna Karenina” Dir. Joe Wright | Focus, UK 64% Fresh | Cast: Keira Knightley, Aaron Johnson, Jude Law, Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson | Review round-up | TOH Interviews Knightley.

EW: “In making the radical artistic choice to tell the story as if it were being enacted by players on a stage, Wright falls passionately in love with his own fanciful artifices.”

“Funeral Kings” Dir. Kevin & Matthew McManus | Freestyle, USA RT | Cast: Dylan Hartigan, Alex Maizus, Jordan Puzzo, Charles Odei

Variety: “A raggedy but refreshing yarn about the near-terminal condition known as male adolescence.”

“Price Check” Dir. Michael Walker | IFC, USA 64% Fresh | Cast: Parker Posey, Eric Mabius, Annie Parisse, Josh Pais

Twitch: “You can usually count on Parker Posey. That said, it’s a real shame to watch her admirable talents dry up in the easily forgettable Price Check.”

“Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God” Dir. Alex Gibney | Content Media, USA  93% Fresh | TOH Interviews Gibney.

AV Club: “Primed to deliver a heady dose of outrage via a broad overview of systemic cover-ups tracing to the Vatican, as well as a specific and heartbreaking case in Wisconsin.”

“Chasing Ice” Dir. Jeff Orlowski | Submarine Deluxe, USA 100% Fresh | Scoring in Limited release. | TOH Interviews Orlowski.

NY Daily News: “You won’t want to look away – not only because of the gorgeous images, but also because of the reality it presents.”

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Keira Knightley cannot act.

David Lean Fan

Anna Karenina is truly a cinematic experience. WOW! Is all I have to say. I absolutely do not understand why the reviews are divisive. As Peter Travis said, let Anna Karenina work its strange and exciting magic on you. Film critics are always bemoaning the lack of challenging and inventive movie making. When they are confronted with something that excites the imagination, however, they lash out like jilted lovers. A massive contradiction, if I ever did see one. We need new voices in the world of film criticism because this old age rigid mentality is not cutting it anymore.

With that said though, Keira Knightley is receiving career best reviews with strong mentions from Time, Rolling Stone, Esquire etc I really do hope she snags a nomination: the performance is truly an actress at her zenith, tackling such a prickly and unlikable character with fearlessly. It would be a shame with AMPAS resorted to good but safe picks like Helen Mirren in Hitchcock and Naomi Watts' excessive actressing in The Impossible. Reward Keira with a nomination; she's earned it.

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