By Aaron Bogert | Indiewire March 23, 2012 at 11:19AM
Opinions are all over the place this week for the latest releases. The guaranteed mega-hit "The Hunger Games" finally arrives in theaters and it has its fair share of fans, but also some detractors. Other films brave enough to open against that box office behemoth include: "The Raid: Redemption," the violent Sundance hit which is also provoking mixed reactions from our network; "4:44 Last Day On Earth," Abel Ferrara's apocalyptic drama starring Willem Dafoe; and "The Trouble with Bliss" starring Michael C. Hall taking a break from playing a serial killer on TV in "Dexter."
Click through below for all the reviews for this week's new releases from the Indiewire network:
With a cryptic, meandering style, Ferrara presents his surprisingly understated apocalyptic vision as a therapeutic process.
The Playlist: C-
But for all its arty posturing, there's something anticlimactic and, ultimately, unfulfilling about '4:44.'
The Playlist: C+
Because of its b-movie leanings, the modest “Brake” doesn’t bore.
The Playlist: A
Deeply romantic with a rich and rare comprehension of the volatile and consuming nature of love and the aching void that can be left in its wake, "The Deep Blue Sea" is well worth taking the plunge.
The Playlist, Todd Gilchrist: B+
“The Hunger Games” is the first film in a long time that deserves Hollywood’s instant-franchise ambitions because it appeals to genre fans regardless of gender by crafting a story that’s both epic and intimate, spectacular and subtle.
The Playlist, Gabe Toro: D+
Yes, “The Hunger Games” is absent-mindedly fascist at worst. At best, it’s a portrait of two disparate worlds, none of them realized with any real flair or imagination.
There isn’t anything wrong with The Hunger Games that some soul and style wouldn’t fix, but that kind of safety is not what anyone - except the film’s investors - might have hoped for.
I can’t feign any great enthusiasm for The Hunger Games, but it’s not bad, and gains a great deal from the presence of its sterling heroine, as played by Jennifer Lawrence.
"The Raid" confronts the nature of movie violence and comes to grim conclusions, but it also makes peace with the inherent appeal of the genre. Intense escapism is still escapism
The Playlist, Todd Gilchrist: A
“The Raid” is an action-lover’s dream, precisely because it pitches the choreography at a thrilling but believable level that prevents viewers from succumbing to an overdose of kicks and punches.
The Playlist, Gabe Toro: C-
Unfortunately, given the dead-seriousness of the story, there’s no interesting escalation to the film’s floor-by-floor videogame structure, and by the fifty minute point, the film simply plateaus.
Shadow and Act
The Raid is a relentless, bone-crunching, stylish piece of *performance art*, if I can call it that, that delivers for the most part, in terms of maximum thrills, and its target audience will most certainly appreciate the bloody rounds of pandemonium it delivers.
"The Trouble with Bliss"
The Playlist: C
It's a shame "The Trouble With Bliss" doesn't add up, because it has a solid cast to work with.