This weekend sees a number of well-reviewed films in limited release. Sally Potter’s lovely coming-of-age drama “Ginger & Rosa” stars a remarkable Elle Fanning nimbly handling the role of a budding teen poet struggling to come to terms with her family’s latest break-up and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The new Studio Ghibli entry and Hayao Miyazaki’s son Goro’s second feature film, “From Up on Poppy Hill,” is receiving glowing praise from the critics, while Matteo Garrone’s “Reality,” his follow-up to “Gomorrah” that follows the rise of a regular guy to reality TV-star status, is also getting top marks.
Harmony Korine’s Disney-darlings-gone-wild “Spring Breakers” is nabbing more upbeat, less outraged reviews than usual for the bad-boy filmmaker, particularly the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis (review link below).
Wide release an SXSW opener “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” starring bleached, tanned and coiffed Jim Carey, Steve Carrell and Steve Buscemi, isn’t pulling a rabbit out of the critical hat, with a meager 39% Rotten on the Tomatometer.
From Up on Poppy Hill Dir. Goro Miyazaki, Japan | Gkids | Cast: Gillian Anderson, Christina Hendricks, Aubrey Plaza, Anton Yelchin | 87% Fresh | A.V. Club: “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.”
Reality Dir. Matteo Garrone, Italy | Oscilloscope | Cast: Aniello Arena, Claudia Gerini, Giuseppina Cervizzi, Loredana Simioli, Nando Paone, Nello Iorio, Nunzia Schiano, Paola Minaccioni, Raffaele Ferrante, Rosaria D’Urso | 80% Fresh | Indiewire: “The reality-show aesthetic pervades the movie as well.
Garrone’s roaming camera style draws you into each moment with extreme
close-ups and long takes that wander through each scene and get lost in it.
Luciano’s plight is crushing because Garrone renders it with such detail.”
Ginger & Rosa Dir. Sally Potter, UK | A24 | Cast: Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Alessandro Nivola, Christina Hendricks, Oliver Platt, Annette Benning | 69% Fresh | New York Times: “Ms. Fanning, who is younger than her character, shows a
nearly Streepian mixture of poise, intensity and technical precision. It is
frightening how good she is and hard to imagine anything she could not do.” | TOH! interview with Sally Potter | TOH! review
Spring Breakers Dir. Harmony Korine, USA | A24 | Cast: Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, James Franco | 70% Fresh | New York Times: “In Spring Breakers [Mr. Korine] bores into a contested,
deeply American topic — the pursuit of happiness taken to nihilistic extremes —
but turns his exploration into such a gonzo, outrageously funny party that it
takes a while to appreciate that this is more of a horror film than a comedy.”
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Dir. Don Scardino | Warner Bros. | Cast: Jim Carey, Steve Carrell, Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini, Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi | 39% Rotten | Variety: “Neatly balancing brightly sentimental comedy with slightly
edgier funny business, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone pulls off the impressive
trick of generating laughs on a consistent basis while spinning a clever
scenario about rival magicians waging a Las Vegas turf war with a wide
multi-demographic appeal.” | TOH! review | TOH! interview with Olivia Wilde.