By Aaron Bogert | Indiewire May 11, 2012 at 10:56AM
Opening this week is "Dark Shadows," Tim Burton's revamp of the 1960s gothic soap opera, and thus far, reviews have not been so kind. For those looking for something a little less Burton-y, also opening this week is: "Under African Skies," the documentary chronicling the recording of Paul Simon's classic album "Graceland"; the French thriller "Sleepless Night" (see it now before it gets remade); the super violent satire "God Bless America"; and "I Wish," a film about kids which supposedly doesn't actually treat its child characters like mini-adults.
Click through below for all the reviews for this week's new release from the Indiewire network.
Dark Shadows is an amusing piece of high camp, stoked by Depp’s deadpan star performance and the kind of elaborate trappings one would expect from Burton.
The Playlist: D
“Dark Shadows” is, at its absolute best, an awful movie, an unfocused mess, and a top-notch piece of production and costume design in search of a story.
Thompson On Hollywood
While vampires and witches might have seemed novel in a soap opera four decades ago, that ground is certainly overplowed now.
Goldthwait writes some of his best monologues in years for his loony leading man, but while "God Bless America" rants about society's downward slide into a media-fueled oblivion -- it's Goldthwait's "Idiocracy" -- the movie also serves as a bold indictment of pop culture's destructive potential.
The Playlist: B+
Though it’s a small film, Goldthwait’s latest is a big accomplishment, and it puts him on a plane alongside some of the movies’ best satirists and social commentators, balancing humor with substantial insight and easy outrage with more difficult truth.
It never takes itself too seriously, this slighty outrageous, breezy exercise in renegade violence is an angry liberal's wet-dream-come-true -- a tale of vengeance for NPR listeners everywhere.
In the west, the family drama has been exhausted and largely abandoned, partly because audiences have grown too cynical for it. Through that lens, "I Wish" is something of a revelation.
The Playlist: A-
The film is made for adults. It just happens to be from the point of view of children, and in many ways, it captures the awkwardness, fun, fear and mostly carefree spirit of childhood.
The Playlist: B+
“Sleepless Night” is not unlike its central location in that it’s less uniquely designed than just extremely well-crafted, combining a variety of familiar ideas into one cohesive, streamlined and supremely effective effort.
The Playlist: C-
Shot on the hoof in just over four days, its lack of togetherness and hipper-than-thou attitude bleeds through into almost every aspect of the film.
Imminently watchable but narratively scattered, the movie is essentially a conversation piece.
The Playlist: B
If you want to be reassured that art transcends borders, that different cultures can come together, and that the result of those collaborations can effect change in the world, “Under African Skies” is certainly the film for you.
"Under African Skies" is more than a mere concert film, tackling the thorny issue of the role of artists in society.
the stakes are relatively high, which keeps the movie's suspense intact, if not as much as its display of self-satisfaction over its very existence.