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criticWIRE This Week: "The Road" Leads Thanksgiving Offerings

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire November 23, 2009 at 3:09AM

John Hillcoat's "The Road," Rebecca Miller's "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee" and Richard Linklater's "Me and Orson Welles" mark a rather star-studded batch of specialty films making their way to theaters this Thanksgiving week. Generally regarded as one of the most potent filmgoing holidays of the year, Thanksgiving has a uncharacteristically weak duo of Hollywood films (James McTeigue's "Ninja Assassin" and Walt Becker's John Travolta-Robin Williams comedy "Old Dogs), making these three specialty offerings all the more appealing in comparison. indieWIRE's new criticWIRE, which features hundreds of grades for new and recent films from dozens of film critics and bloggers, took on all three films, with "The Road" firmly getting the top recommendation among them.
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John Hillcoat's "The Road," Rebecca Miller's "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee" and Richard Linklater's "Me and Orson Welles" mark a rather star-studded batch of specialty films making their way to theaters this Thanksgiving week. Generally regarded as one of the most potent filmgoing holidays of the year, Thanksgiving has a uncharacteristically weak duo of Hollywood films (James McTeigue's "Ninja Assassin" and Walt Becker's John Travolta-Robin Williams comedy "Old Dogs), making these three specialty offerings all the more appealing in comparison. indieWIRE's new criticWIRE, which features hundreds of grades for new and recent films from dozens of film critics and bloggers, took on all three films, with "The Road" firmly getting the top recommendation among them.

More than 100 film critics and bloggers, so far, now have their own pages on the indieWIRE site. The new criticWIRE section includes RSS feeds and links for the individual writer's blog, website and Twitter account, as well as grades for current films and direct links to reviews they've written. The list of critics and graded films will continue to grow, leading up to our annual indieWIRE Critics Poll next month.

"The Road" - adapted from Cormac McCarthy's acclaimed post-apocalyptic novel and starring Viggo Mortensen, Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, and Kodi Smit-McPhee - averaged a "B" grade from criticWIRE's members, representing its considerably divisive reception. While the film received "A" level grades from critics and blogger such as newly freelance Karina Longworth, Time Out New York's David Fear, Thompson on Hollywood's Anne Thompson, and indieWIRE's own Eric Kohn, it only managed "C" level grades from NPR's Mark Jenkins, The New York Post's Lou Lumenick, and Slant Magazine's Ed Gonzalez.

Among those in favor of the film, Eric Kohn said that Hillcoat’s "tense, discomfiting big screen adaptation remains almost entirely faithful to the book’s distinctive pace and tone. The maintenance of this restrained progression is key to the movie’s chilly effect, but the subtle ingredients behind such morbidity—dreary-eyed performances, an enigmatic score, visual suggestions of death and decay in nearly every frame—turn Hillcoat’s version of 'The Road' into a uniquely cinematic portrait of pessimism."

Check out the links below for further takes on "The Road," as well as the consensuses on "Orson Welles," "Pippa Lee," and dozens of films that recently opened in theaters.

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

criticWIRE: Films Opening This Week

The Road (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Me and Orson Welles (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+


criticWIRE: Films Currently In Theaters

La Danse (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

Defamation (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

Fantastic Mr. Fox (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

The Sun (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

The Messenger (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Broken Embraces (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

That Evening Sun (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Red Cliff (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Precious (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

William Kunstler: Disturbing The Universe (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

Dare (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

Uncertainty (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

Mammoth (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C

Pirate Radio (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C


This article is related to: In Theaters, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee







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