By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire October 7, 2011 at 3:9AM
If torture porn of the most gruesome variety isn't your thing, not to worry. There's more than the second installment in the "Human Centipede" franchise hitting theaters this week. Get clued in on what's worth catching by checking out new reviews published this week on indieWIRE and our blog network below.
The Playlist: C
So, yes, the basic construct of Barros’ script is the familiar “old-guy-pulled-into-one-last-job” framework, but that doesn’t stop him for trying to use every narrative trick in the book to open things up.
The Playlist: D
Temple is dynamite, but it’s less of a revelatory performance if you’ve seen “Kaboom” – her character there is bolder and more atypical and sexier. And unlike in “Dirty Girl,” for all its bad-ass posturing, you actually get to see some skin.
"Hell and Back Again"
There have been plenty of combat documentaries over the last 10 years, but photojournalist Danfung Dennis’ “Hell and Back Again” adopts an original conceit.
If you still need a refresher, photojournalist Danfung Dennis’ “Hell And Back Again”—opening today in New York—is the latest documentary to follow Western soldiers in Afghanistan, after last year’s Sundance entry “Restrepo”—whose co-director Tim Hetherington tragically died covering the war in Libya earlier this year—and Danish Cannes winner “Armadillo” (to be released on DVD Oct 18).
One of the best documentaries of the year opened at NYC’s Film Forum today: “Hell and Back Again.” Not only is it a perfect follower to cinematic, embedded Afghanistan War films “Restrepo” and “Armadillo,” it’s arriving in a week in which addressing the war is impossible.
"The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence"
Six’s screenplay puts it out there plain and simple when one man breaks free and gets the opportunity to plead his case. Instead, he can only state the obvious: “The Human Centipede,” he shouts, “is a fucking film!”
The Playlist: C+
The problem with ‘Full Sequence’ is that it’s so meta that it can’t exist on its own. After silently (and mesmerizing) introducing us to the wordless Martin, he goes about recreating the Centipede with his 12 victims. A thoroughly graphic and unpleasant section of the film, one that will leave viewers gasping for breath, these moments are robbed by their potency because Martin is serving a higher god, specifically Six himself (somewhat disappointingly, Six does not appear as himself).
"The Ides of March"
At its best, “Ides of March” succeeds as a leaner, more outwardly aggressive version of Mike Nichols’ “Primary Colors,” which skillfully explored the dichotomy between Bill Clinton’s charm and his private abuse of power.
The Playlist: B
The script, with Clooney sidekick Grant Heslov rewriting Beau Willimon‘s play “Farragut North” is, if nothing else, a model of how to open up a piece of theater for the big screen. It’s witty, though lacking the zip of, say, a Sorkin, and, for all its instant messaging and Chris Matthews cameos, oddly old-fashioned, right down to the jazz singer who scores an early scene.
It’s formulaic and unashamedly manipulative, but it’s played with sincerity…and it works.
The Playlist: B
That said, “not minding” a film hardly sounds like enthusiastic praise, unless of course you’re referring to it in the context of Shawn Levy’s previous work. But the truth is that like those ‘80s films many of us grew up on, and which we watched a million times over on home video and cable television, “Real Steel” feels destined to become a staple in the libraries of kids in this generation.
“The Way” has the makings of a movie that shouldn’t work, but it navigates many of those potential faults with surprising competence.
"The Women on the 6th Floor"
It won the Audience Award at this year’s City of Lights—City of Angels French film festival in Los Angeles, and with good reason: it’s a disarming story that offers substance as well as entertainment.