What Are You Seeing This Weekend? ‘Would You Rather’ ‘Glimpse Inside The Mind’ Of ‘Side Effects’ Or ‘Identity Thief’?
What Are You Seeing This Weekend? 'Would You Rather' 'Glimpse Inside The Mind' Of 'Side Effects' Or 'Identity Thief'?
It's a big weekend for names. Steven Soderbergh is back for one last go-round on the theatrical circuit (read our retrospective of his work here). Indiewood favorites of this past fall, John Hawkes and Bill Murray, show up to remind us how fantastic they are (and why they should have gotten Oscar noms). Even Charlie Sheen makes a (rather central) appearance. It's a big weekend for experiments too: surrealism, wuxia, and modern-day Shakespeare are here in full force. And, of course, no theatrical release bundle is complete without the "torture porn" of a middle school game gone adult and awry. So, uh, get ready. And let us know what you'll be seeing in the comments below! (And if you're on the East Coast facing Nemo, stay warm and safe!)
"Identity Thief." Directed by Seth Gordon. Starring Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Amanda Peet and Jon Favreau. Our review: "With long stretches (we're talking 20-30 minutes) without a single guffaw, 'Identity Thief' is aggressively dull, and will joylessly steal two hours of your life that you will never get back." Metacritic: 41 Rotten Tomatoes: 26% The Playlist: D
"Side Effects." Directed by Steven Soderbergh. Starring Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Channing Tatum, Vinessa Shaw and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Our review: "Ultimately, 'Side Effects' is a bit of a trifle, but an engaging sexy little whodunit directed by one of the great American auteurs of the past couple of decades." MC: 76 RT: 83% PL: B
"A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III." Directed by Roman Coppola. Starring Charlie Sheen, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Patricia Arquette and Katheryn Winnick. Our review: "We like Coppola as a director, but wish this were a story and a character that better deserved his idiosyncratic, energetic visual sensibility. Here he's working with a lot of resources at his disposal, heaps of self-awareness and no shortage of talent, but the confidence, even bravado, that the film displays in it visuals, it seems to lack in its subject matter. It makes 'Glimpse' a film of surface pleasures, even joys, but those joys seem to be longing for a central idea around which to coalesce." MC: 24 RT: 15% PL: B-
"The Socerer and the White Snake." Directed by Tony Ching. Starring Jet Li, Eva Huang, Raymond Lam, Charlene Choi and Wen Zhang. Our review: "The cast aren't bad…But the film's so manically overstuffed — with genres, with tones, with effects — that both the action and the emotion feels weightless. And the less said about the infuriating wall-to-wall score, the better. Perhaps hardcore Jet Li fans will be able to get some joy out of it, but we'd suspect that even they will struggle with this one." MC: 38 RT: 18% PL: D
"Lore." Directed by Cate Shortland. Starring Saskia Rosendahl, Kai-Peter Malina, Nele Trebs, Ursina Lardi and Hans-Jochen Wagner. Our review: "While a film of great craft, strongly performed by the cast across the board, and particularly by the lead, newcomer Saskia Rosendahl, 'Lore' never lets the audience in close enough for it to be a truly embraceable picture. It's certainly admirable, and we've rarely seen a WWII film approached from this angle, but one wishes 'Lore' would let the audience in a bit closer." MC: 71 RT: 86% PL: B-
"Would You Rather." Directed by David Guy Levy. Starring Brittany Snow, Jeffrey Combs, Sasha Grey and John Heard. Our review: "
Unfortunately, 'Would You Rather' is content with being a risible borderline torture porn horror film. Which means there’s a predictable element to it all that seems to be acknowledged, and hastily ignored, by this generation of filmmakers. Not only is the pattern of bloodshed likely, but so is the omnipotence of our villain." MC: 18 RT: 33% PL:
"The Playroom." Directed by Julia Dyer. Starring John Hawkes, Molly Parker, Olivia Harris and Cody Linley. An unrelenting and uncompromising depiction of a 1970s suburban family, told through the eyes of its youngest members, may deeply affect some audiences while proving an unsatisfying melodrama for others. MC: 58 RT: 50%
"Night Across the Street." Directed by Raoul Ruiz. Starring Christian Vadim, Sergio Hernández and Valentina Vargas. This surrealist depiction of an elderly man's memory is witty, poignant, original, and — all told — provides an appropriately encompassing cap for Ruiz's prolific film career. MC: 72 RT: 89%
"Caesar Must Die" opened Wednesday. Directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. Starring Salvatore Striano
, Cosimo Rega
, Giovanni Arcuri
and Antonio Frasca. Our review: "We emerge with a film that, for all the interesting questions it poses, really owes the vast majority of its watchability not to the non-professional actors, or the writer-directors, or to the intriguing premise, but to some guy called Shakespeare who’s been dead for 400 years. 'Julius Caesar' is a cracking play. 'Caesar Must Die' is a good testament to that, but if you’re looking for a whole lot more, we’d have to say the emperor is rather underdressed." MC: 76 RT: 90% PL: B