Happy Oscar weekend! This Sunday brings the apex of Hollywood’s season, rewarding those 2010 films we’ve been talking about for so long. Who will wear what? What upsets will we be rooting for? Will James Franco perform some kind of bizarre performance art stunt as part of his hosting duties (all signs point to YES). We will be live blogging the events of Sunday evening, so check back in for the rockin’est Oscar commentary your computer has seen. In the meantime, get your highbrow on and rent those remaining DVDs of the Oscar contenders you missed. If you’ve seen them all or just don’t feel like sitting through ye olde Oscar bait, some delightfully lowbrow releases await you at the theater. 2011 Cage’s Festival of Wigs continues with the awesomely awesome looking “Drive Angry 3D,” and “Hall Pass” brings us our weekly dose of gross sex humor! Down the hatch! There are also a few small arthouse releases, such as the latest from 22-year-old (!!!!!!!) filmmaker Xavier Dolan.
Honestly, is there anything more cinematic than “Drive Angry 3D?” This is what Edison and Méliès and Eisenstein were striving toward! Fuckin’ Nic Cage driving angry in 3D! Fuckin’ rad awesome CINEMA, man! Don’t even try and argue, this is what this medium was built to express, and this writer is deadly serious. Patrick Lussier, director of “My Bloody Valentine 3D” (entirely too entertaining for what it was) brings the 3D pain (ouch, my headache, dumb 3D glasses) in this film, where Nicolas Cage, ahem, drives angrily out of hell in search of those responsible for his daughter’s death. Amber Heard takes the cheesecake role. And don’t forget, this was SHOT IN 3D as the marketing materials will happily remind you, none of that “Clash of the Titans” BS. And Cage’s hairpiece looks exceptional!!! Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
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Jason Sudeikis and Owen Wilson try and take advantage of the “Hall Pass” granted by their better halves, Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate this weekend. Lots of great talent involved, including the directorial team of the Farrelly brothers, the bearers of the gold standard for gross-out sex comedies. Richard Jenkins lets loose and wears a funny hat. Unfortunately, all the elements don’t add up under the misguided hang-ups about human sexuality it displays. Our review says, “the reigning sentiment of ‘Hall Pass’ is marriage is good, sexuality is bad, women hate fucking and men should hate themselves for wanting to fuck.” Downer! RT: 31% MC: 49%
French Canadian film prodigy Xavier Dolan‘s latest film “Heartbeats” hits theaters in limited release this weekend. Our VIFF reviewer described the sophomore effort after the praise for his debut “I Killed My Mother” as a “misfire” and our most recent review says the film “isn’t the cinematic swoon we were hoping for at the very least, it leaves no doubt that Dolan is one to watch.” RT: 67% MC: 75
Ok fine, you want something serious? The based-on-a-true-story “Of Gods and Men” about Christian monks in Algeria and their relationship with the Muslim village where their monastery is located. No, this does not star Tobey Maguire and Robert Downey Jr. Our review from Cannes says the film is “a drama respectful of its characters and subject matter, and though we wish [director Xavier] Beauvois had dug deeper and perhaps injected the proceedings with a bit of life, the film remains an intriguing look at how faith can power extreme actions of both good and evil.” RT: 88% MC: 87
Martin Scorsese‘s documentary about author and social critic Fran Lebowitz is playing at Film Forum in New York, and features Lebowitz in her natural environment of NYC, commenting on a number of social issues and reflecting on her career. RT: 83% MC: 75 Also on the documentary front, “A Good Man” features the story of an Australian man who decides to open a brothel to support his struggling sheep farm and help take care of his quadriplegic wife.
Also in theaters in limited release: Memphis-set faith based drama “The Grace Card” with Louis Gossett Jr. RT: 29%; 2009 festival hit, Frazer Bradshaw‘s topical drama “Everything Strange and New” RT: 60%; “Scheherazade Tell Me A Story” features a female talk show host in Cairo stirring up political controversy by talking about women’s issues; a septugenarian reforms her ’60s girl group in “The Over the Hill Band“; and Vinnie Jones, Michael Madsen, Armand Assante and tattoo artist/Jesse James betrothed Kat Von D star in the vampire-action flick “The Bleeding.”