The Review Report for Friday, March 1st

The Review Report for Friday, March 1st

It’s another big weekend for new releases. We have another
Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee, the American debut of an acclaimed foreign
auteur, and a wildly original documentary. Just one of these titles would make
for a noteworthy weekend, but with all three, there is no shortage of good films to
see at the theater.

The Best Foreign Film nominee “War Witch” is a political film with elements of magical realism
that have led many to compare it to “Beasts of the Southern Wild:”

Anna Bielak, Smells Like Screen Spirit:

“Seldom do we get a chance to commune
with a story in which children’s fantasies and mature decisions live in such a
strong and authentic symbiotic relation as they do in ‘War Witch.'”

Christopher
Bourne
, Twitch:

“‘War Witch’ has a dreamy, fairy-tale quality that
meshes surprisingly well with the more violent aspects of this tale, and Kim
Nguyen ably mixes the fantastical elements of his story with a documentary-like
aesthetic to create a richly textured work.”

Park Chan-wook of “Oldboy” fame is back with “Stoker,” a warmly received genre picture starring Oscar-winner
Nicole Kidman:

Joanna Langfield, The Movie Minute:

“Once this Gothic
thriller stops trying so hard, and lets its natural freak flag fly, this horror
becomes quite the entertainment.”

Jordan Raup, The Film Stage:

“This
go for broke style can be quite unnerving and instead of ratcheting up the
tension, it just feels slightly
off in the first act… But
eventually, as the pieces of this overarching puzzle start to fall together and
the dots are connected, it’s easy to buy into what our director is aiming for.”

An experimental nature documentary entitled “Leviathan,” is
garnering mostly raves from critics 
despite — or perhaps because of — its radical style:

Michael Nordine, FilmLinc.com:

“If, as a general
rule, it’s best not to get overly excited about a movie sight unseen, consider
this an exception: the kind of film that creates an environment so visually and
aurally complete as to be nearly indescribable.”

Calum Marsh, Slant Magazine:

“It becomes so that
you can no longer even ask yourself how such and such shot or effect was
achieved; its impossibility is central to the disorienting effect, to the sense
that you’re seeing the world as nobody does, and there’s magic in not knowing.”

There are wide releases too, of course. Bryan Singer
(“X-Men,” “The Usual Suspects”) brings us “Jack The Giant Slayer,” and early reviews display an
interesting range of reactions:

Will Leitch, Deadspin:

“This is a movie for
kids, to be certain, and I bet they’ll respond to it. (Adults will enjoy it
almost as much, if just by remembering what it was like before the real world
crushed their sense of wonder.)”

Matt Pais, RedEye:

“Rather than bring a
legend to life, the bland, PG-13 ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ downscales an
unforgettable journey into the shrug-worthy muck of every other big adventure,
comprising one anti-climactic moment after another.”

21 and Over” may share screenwriters with “The Hangover,” but critics are being far less kind to Jon Lucas’
and Scott Moore’s first turn behind the camera:

Mark Dujsik, Mark Reviews Movies:

“If there’s one thing
these early-20-somethings don’t deserve, it’s sympathy, but Jon Lucas and Scott
Moore, who co-wrote and co-directed the movie, pull out three different
manipulative tricks in order to try to goad our sympathy for their central
characters.”

Lastly, “Welcome To Pine Hill
is getting drowned out by these higher profile movies, but early reviews
indicate that it is well worth your time.

Don Simpson, Smells
Like Screen Spirit
:

“Most importantly, Miller does not
approach ‘Welcome
to Pine Hill’
as a film about race; though he understands that our
world is far from being colorblind and race-related issues are inescapable.”

Lots of choices this weekend, so comb through the reviews, choose wisely, and most of all,
happy viewing!

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