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criticWIRE This Week: "Weather" Leads SXSW; "Chloe" Lowest Ranked Opener

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire March 23, 2010 at 2:45AM

criticWIRE is back with both an updated calendar of films that takes on new theatrical releases through the summer - including four films opening this week, and many grades of films from the recent SXSW Film Festival, which concluded this past weekend. More will be added as additional writers weigh in on new films.
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criticWIRE is back with both an updated calendar of films that takes on new theatrical releases through the summer - including four films opening this week, and many grades of films from the recent SXSW Film Festival, which concluded this past weekend. More will be added as additional writers weigh in on new films.

As far SXSW was concerned, the highest marks from critics and bloggers, so far, are for Aaron Katz's "Cold Weather."

Our survey includes grades from indieWIRE's Eric Kohn, Variety's Joe Leydon, Thompson on Hollywood's Anne Thompson, IFC.com's Matt Singer, Cinematical's Scott Weinberg, Indie Eye's Vadim Rizov, The Auteurs's David Hudson, and MSN Movies's James Rocchi.

"Cold Weather" - which follows Doug, a former forensic science major and avid reader of detective fiction who returns to his hometown of Portland where he become embroiled in a mystery - averaged an "A-" grade from six different critics. In his review on indieWIRE, Eric Kohn called the film "the kind of moving image experience informed by expressive audiovisual maneuvers rather than melodramatic overstatements."

Other SXSW films to receive high marks from criticWIRE, although still just a few grades from critics and bloggers, included Will Canon's Brotherhood, Simon Rumley's Red, White and Blue, Jeff Malmberg's Marwencol, Cameron Yates' The Canal Street Madam and Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture. A longer list of films to receive letter grades from criticWIRE is below.

First though, a quick look at the four specialty films opening in theaters this Friday: Atom Egoyan's Chloe, Catherine Breillat's Bluebeard, Conor McPherson's The Eclipse, and Don Hahn's Waking Sleeping Beauty.

"Chloe" - a sexual thriller Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried - is most definitely the highest profile of the lot. A premiere at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, "Chloe" arguably marks the most marketable film of acclaimed director Atom Egoyan's career. However, that hasn't necessarily boded well from a critical standpoint, with "Chloe" averaging a "C+" from nearly 20 critics, giving it the lowest average of any of the openers. Eric Kohn, who reviewed the film back in Toronto, called it "a black quasi-comedy that lost its way."

Two of the other films - Catherine Breillat's retelling of the Charles Perrault fairytale, "Bluebeard," as well as Don Hahn's Disney documentary "Beauty" - both managed impressive "B+" averages, joining Jacques Audiard's "A Prophet," Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer" and Kimberly Reed's "Prodigal Sons" as the only specialty releases of the past month to receive an average of a "B+" or higher.

Links to all films' pages, including a full list of critics grades with links to individual reviews, are available below.

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

More than 100 film critics and bloggers have their own pages on the criticWIRE site. The 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, and in the coming months criticWIRE will feature prominently in our Tribeca Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival coverage.

criticWIRE @ SXSW: Top Picks
Additional grades will be added as they are received by indieWIRE.

Cold Weather (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

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

Red White & Blue (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

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

Tiny Furniture (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

The Canal Street Madam (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

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

Mars (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Saturday Night (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Putty Hill (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Mr. Nice (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Barry Munday (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Kick Ass (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

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


criticWIRE: Films Opening This Week

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

Waking Sleeping Beauty (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

The Eclipse (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

Chloe (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+


criticWIRE: Films Currently In Theaters

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

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

Prodigal Sons (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Vincere (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Mother (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Shutter Island (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Greenberg (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

The Exploding Girl (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

City Island (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

Green Zone (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

The Secret of Kells (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

The Runaways (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+

Brooklyn's Finest (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+

Alice In Wonderland (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+

Stolen (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C

Remember Me (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C

Our Family Wedding (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: D+