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Big Screen | "Love," "Killer" and "Cyrus" Heat Up Summer Art Houses

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire June 16, 2010 at 2:47AM

An eclectic trio of indie films featuring some consider star power are looking to continue the specialty box office surge that - of all things - Joan Rivers and a dark drama set in the Ozark Mountains started last weekend. This Friday, Luca Guadagnino's "I Am Love," Mark And Jay Duplass's "Cyrus," and Michael Winterbottom's "The Killer Inside Me" will all hit theaters and, between them, feature casts that include Tilda Swinton, Catherine Keener, John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill, Kate Hudson, Casey Affleck and Jessica Alba. Like last weekend's "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" and "Winter's Bone," they all also hail from Sundance 2010 (though "I Am Love" made several stops beforehand), and have - to varying degrees - been managing some very good reviews.
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An eclectic trio of indie films featuring some consider star power are looking to continue the specialty box office surge that - of all things - Joan Rivers and a dark drama set in the Ozark Mountains started last weekend. This Friday, Luca Guadagnino's "I Am Love," Mark And Jay Duplass's "Cyrus," and Michael Winterbottom's "The Killer Inside Me" will all hit theaters and, between them, feature casts that include Tilda Swinton, Catherine Keener, John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill, Kate Hudson, Casey Affleck and Jessica Alba. Like last weekend's "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" and "Winter's Bone," they all also hail from Sundance 2010 (though "I Am Love" made several stops beforehand), and have - to varying degrees - been managing some very good reviews.

The definite critic's pick of the trio is Italian-import "I Am Love." Gloriously melodramatic - like a cinematic opera - "Love" details the refined world of a wealthy Italian family (led by Swinton, who learned to speak Italian for the roll) as a collison of tradition and modernity unravels it. The film earned some fairy intense raves when it premiered in Venice and Toronto last fall, and currently has a "B+" average on criticWIRE, including a whopping 17 "A" level grades (the average was brought down considerably by a very few naysayers).

Check out some of the raves care of IFC.com's Allison Willmore (who called it a "lusciously told tale"), Variety's Jay Weissberg ("a stunning achievement"), and The Village Voice's Aaron Hillis ("bold, thrilling, and undeniably sensuous").

"Cyrus," meanwhile, is a bizarrely hilarious, largely improvised dark comedy that follows John (John C. Reilly), a down-on-his luck film editor whose life takes a significant and strange turn when he becomes romantically involved with Molly (Marisa Tomei), a woman with an unusually close bond with her 21-year old son Cyrus (Jonah Hill). Their antics had the audience of the film's Sundance premiere in hysterics, and one would expect the same as Fox Searchlight begins rolling the film out this Friday.

Currently averaging a "B+" on criticWIRE, "Cyrus" has received warm reviews from Variety's Peter DeBruge (calling it "raw, naturalistic"), The Village Voice's Ella Taylor ("a freakishly engrossing black comedy"), and Slant Magazine's Nick Schager ("the film can be a riot").

Finally, there's Michael Winterbottom's "The Killer Inside Me," which while it has its fans, has definitely not received across-the-board raves. Adapted by John Curran, from Jim Thompson's book, the film revolves around a small town Texas sheriff and a series of murders.

"I don't understand how Sundance could book this movie," was a question at the film's post-screening Q & A, according to a Thompson on Hollywood report from Sundance. The audience member was particularly offended by the considerable violent content of Winterbottom's film. "How dare you? How dare Sundance?"

Critics were markedly divided. The film received a "C+ average from criticWIRE, with grades ranging from an "A" to a "D-". indieWIRE's Eric Kohn was among the film's supporters, calling the film a "surprisingly patient, observational portrait of insanity."

Other reviews include Todd McCarthy, then writing for Variety who says the film "comes up short in terms of tension, stylistic flair and density of detail," and Slant Magazine's Bill Weber, calling the film's climax "a miscalculation worthy of Tarantino."

Check out links to each film's indieWIRE page as well as other films opening this weekend, plus recent theatrical releases below. They include synopses, trailers, and a variety of criticWIRE grades and links to reviews.

iW Film Calendar & criticWIRE:
criticWIRE | Opening this week | Opening this month | All Films A - Z

criticWIRE: Films Opening This Week

I Am Love (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Cyrus (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Lovers of Hate (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Let It Rain (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

8: The Mormon Proposition (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

The Killer Inside Me (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+

Stonewall Uprising (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+


criticWIRE: Films Currently In Theaters

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

Exit Through The Gift Shop (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

Winter's Bone (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Please Give (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Father of My Children (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Double Take (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Best Worst Movie (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Ondine (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Micmacs (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Mother and Child (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Solitary Man (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+

Holy Rollers (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+

Agora (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C-

Peter Knegt is indieWIRE's Associate Editor. Follow him on Twitter and on his blog.

This article is related to: In Theaters, The Killer Inside Me





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