There’s a diverse array of choices in theaters this weekend, with spectacle and foreign art-house fare battling it out for the title of best reviewed movie of the week. Nothing breaks the B+ mark on our Criticwire Network, but lots of fairly divisive films have their share of supporters. First off, nearly a year after earning Matteo Garrone (“Gomorrah”) his second Cannes Grand Prix, “Reality” finally reaches theaters (41 critics, “B” rating).
“A great humour runs through the picture, off-setting the pretty dark subject matter that Garrone is playing with. Our protagonist is essentially having a breakdown, and loses everything in aid of his dreams, and yet the emotional beats are broken up by genuine incidents of slapstick.”
“With celebrity the new faith, Garrone gives us an overblown example of the detrimental effect this deceptive belief system is having on our economically fragile society. Reality is a radical, intelligent and thoroughly entertaining example of Italian cinema doing what it does best.”
We also have the chance to see if provocateur Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers” lives up to the festival hype (36 critics, “B+” rating).
“‘Spring Breakers’ is nothing if not hypnotic, drawing you into this seedy, increasingly terrifying world and investing it in nothing if not sincerity.”
“[Korine] overdoes the ironic counterpoints and foreshadowing, but ‘Spring Breakers’ is a tone poem of excess that can be read as blistering satire, cautionary tale or even lament over the commodification of wildness.”
The experimental Sally Potter also returns today with “Ginger & Rosa,” arguably her most accessible feature yet (40 critics, “B” rating).
“Potter does so much more with the film than just deliver a message about personal meeting political. She shows with an incredible clarity and emotional honesty how being a teen girl feels, and in doing so has made ‘Ginger & Rosa’ timeless.”
“But while it may not fit in any comfortable, easy, little box, there’s much to love about ‘Ginger & Rosa.’ Expressively told, Potter is a master of documenting the rich emotional inner life of characters.”
Also arriving is the latest Studio Ghibli film, the Hayao-Miyazaki-penned “From Up On Poppy Hill,” directed by his son Goro (4 critics, “B” rating).
“It’s all lovely and sweet, and while this story might’ve been just as engaging in live action, Miyazaki’s animation does clear away the extraneous detail, re-creating the world of 50 years ago and instilling it with the poignancy of a family snapshot.”
“But it’s the warm tenor of the film that ultimately rescues it. Miyazaki renders the crises of Umi’s life with great feeling but without melodrama, which honors her spirit of self-reliance and her mature disposition.”
Lastly, the onscreen magic of “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone“ will be taking place at a theater near you (9 critics, “C-” rating).
“No, this is not a ferocious comedy, matching magician against magician, stunt against stunt. At least not really. What we actually wind up with, thanks to the four credited screenwriters here, is a sprawling, but affectionate mess of a story.”
“The film does drag from time to time and you wish you could fast forward through some of the drama but overall, the movie, much like a magic show, is pure entertainment and you can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Nothing jumps out screaming “See me!” this week, but plenty of solid choices spanning a wide range of genres, so hopefully there is something for everyone.