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What to See, What to Skip: New Reviews This Week

Indiewire By Aaron Bogert | Indiewire April 27, 2012 at 11:53AM

Another crowded weekend. Major openings this week include the wide release of "The Five-Year Engagement," the Jason Segel and Emily Blunt starring comedy which opened the Tribeca Film Festival last week and "Safe," the lastest Jason Statham action vehicle. Also opening this week: Richard Linklater's latest film "Bernie"; the Edgar Allan Poe thriller "The Raven"; and "Sound of My Voice," a film from last year's Sundance Film Festival that's scoring high with critics.
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Another crowded weekend.  Major openings this week include the wide release of "The Five-Year Engagement," the Jason Segel and Emily Blunt starring comedy which opened the Tribeca Film Festival last week and "Safe," the lastest Jason Statham action vehicle.  Also opening this week: Richard Linklater's latest film "Bernie"; the Edgar Allan Poe thriller "The Raven"; and "Sound of My Voice," a film from last year's Sundance Film Festival that's scoring high with critics.  

Click through below for all the reviews from the Indiewire network for this week's new releases. 

"96 Minutes"

The Playlist: D-
You might as well be prepared: “96 Minutes” is one of those multi-strand indie movies where the chronology is distorted, and you spend the runtime putting the pieces back together.

"Bernie"

Indiewire: A-
With its purposefully naive sense of self-mockery, "Bernie" is a shape-shifting genre vehicle set apart from anything else in Linklater's career.

The Playlist: B
It's so delightful, and rather wryly comical, it’s easy to be charmed with the picture despite its modest ambitions, small-scale aims and slight nature.

"Citizen Gangster"

The Playlist: C+
Once you’ve seen a few of these movies, there’s not a whole lot of variation.

"Elles"

The Playlist: D+
"Elles" is ultimately an exploration of some very sound topics around women and sexuality, that feels about 10 to 15 years old.

"The Five-Year Engagement"

Leonard Maltin
Some may be disappointed with the lack of raucousness, but I was not: The Five-Year Engagement is a strikingly original comedy with serious undertones.

The Playlist: B+
"The Five-Year Engagement" falls just short of the modern-day comedy classic category, and yet is deeply entertaining, genuinely amusing and satisfying in the way most shaggy-dog, two-hour-plus comedies are not.

"The Giant Mechanical Man"

Indiewire: C
In "The Giant Mechanical Man," Fischer is left out to dry thanks to a clunker of a script (courtesy of her husband Lee Kirk, no less, who also directed this dud), that's as 'mechanical' as they come.

The Playlist: D-
There’s a special sort of Hell where films like "The Giant Mechanical Man" play, with the same ideas and tropes repeated around the clock, with the mistaken assumption that they’re endearing or, even worse, adorable.

"Headhunters"

Indiewire: B+
The thrilling pace compensates for fairly hollow characterizations of everyone but Roger, but no matter how clever the story gets, it still retains a general sense of familiarity.

Leonard Maltin
I can’t remember the last time a movie surprised me as much as Headhunters: not just its story twists and turns, which are considerable, but its continual stripping of character veneer and overall audaciousness left me breathless.

The Playlist: C
Fans of the genre will certainly have fun across its brisk running time, but aside from a few memorable sequences -- a gruesome car crash, and a surprising attempt to dispose of a body -- it's unlikely to linger long in the memory.

"Pirates! Band of Misfits"

The Playlist: B+
In short – it's a veritable visual feast, one that will undoubtedly require multiple viewings to fully decode.

"The Raven"

The Playlist: F
It is, in short, by some distance the worst film we've seen in this young year.

Leonard Maltin
The dark-hued film is so grisly and unpleasant that when the mystery is finally solved, the only satisfaction derives from knowing that it’s over.

Thompson On Hollywood
But despite a Shakespeare on screenplay duties (Hannah Shakespeare, that is, sharing the credit with first-time-scripter Ben Livingston), Cusack’s good work, and that of a supporting cast that also includes Brendan Gleeson as Emily’s father and Luke Evans as a high-flying Baltimore detective, is undone by a script that loses interest in finding thrills in its literary premise in favour of so-so production-line shocks.

"Restless City"

Shadow and Act
It is the film's style that defines it, and its strongest appeal; an acquired taste, I appreciate what I see are his attempts to disrupt the expected order of things.

"Safe"

The Playlist: B+
For being a "dopey action movie," "Safe" may be one of the most airtight, economical studio pictures of the year.

"Sound of My Voice"

Indiewire: B+
Zal Batmanglij defies conventional genre expectations with this eerie tale of a potentially dangerous cult and the trenchant documentarian committed to unearthing its motives.

The Playlist: A
Zal Batmanglij’s first feature is assured in that he has made a film that defies easy categorization.

This article is related to: Reviews, What to See, What to Skip