Well if Zack Snyder didn’t just win the Release Date Lottery?! His dark, twisted sexual fantasy “Sucker Punch” hits theaters this weekend, opening against… “Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2?” Don’t count out the kid demo just yet though, especially with Snyder’s debut foray into original material getting jabbed in the kidneys by critics all over the ring. Those are your two options for new releases at the box office though, so maybe you want to check out “Limitless,” “Red Riding Hood,” or “Battle LA“? No again? We understand. If you’re looking for quality, look no further than your home entertainment center, as Todd Haynes‘ miniseries take on James M. Cain‘s “Mildred Pierce” starring Kate Winslet hits small screens this weekend as well. Of course there are always art house and foreign limited releases by filmmakers who deserve your support much more than the misguided Snyder (oh, how we weep for the potential we saw in “Dawn of the Dead“).
Well, “Sucker Punch” is here. Will women go see it? This writer certainly hopes they stay away in droves in protest. I’ve been calling it “Zack Snyder‘s wet dream” since the first trailer and thankfully, our reviewer Drew Taylor agrees with me, calling it, among other things, “all cool bullshit, no real meaning,” “plainly unimaginative,” and that “few movies have tried this hard, only to accomplish so very little.” I calls ’em like I sees ’em. You know, it’s hard for me to complain about a female led action flick, except when it’s so patently sexist and no one clearly said, “um… is this offensive?” What’s even more offensive is that damn teal and orange color correction, oh and the complete lack of care put into the storytelling. Whatev, no judgments if you go see this out of morbid curiosity. Rotten Tomatoes: 22% Metacritic: 37
The safe bet this weekend is probably grabbing a 10 year old boy and heading to “Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules.” Yeah sure, the trailer relied on the tried and true poop-n-burp fail-safe combo, but if you didn’t LOL at least three times, you have no soul. And Steve Zahn is in it! RT: 38% MC: 53
If you want to feel like an adult, stay home and find someone with HBO. Todd Haynes is gonna make you some TV for grown ups. The 5-part miniseries “Mildred Pierce” starts this weekend and HBO effectively lures every quality filmmaker to the little screen with not only the willingness to fund a project such as this, but also letting artists do their thing. Our extensive review calls it “a wonderful achievement,” and says, “Realized with an eye to detail both in the script and on the set, carried out by a cast who understand the nuances found between the showier moments of their characters and the story, and brilliantly conceived and captured by Haynes, long-form television—and hell, most movies—doesn’t get much better than this.” So if you aren’t sold on it yet, just remember it’s easier to drink in the comfort of your own home.
Out in limited release we have the latest Julian Schnabel film, “Miral,” starring Freida Pinto, Hiam Abbass, Omar Metwally and Willem Dafoe about four women whose lives are interconnected in 1948 Jerusalem. RT: 14% MC: 46
Belgian Oscar entry “Illégal” comes to screens this week. The drama won the SACD Prize at the 2010 Cannes Director’s Fortnight and focuses on the plight of an illegal Russian immigrant woman, Tania, stuck in the maze of Belgian detention centers. Check out our interview with director Olivier Masset-Depasse on his process and how he came to be aware of the subject matter. Our review of the film says that actress Anne Coesens is “riveting” in her physically and emotionally demanding role, and that while the film’s cinematography is “kinetic,” director Masset-Depasse ultimately “loses the pull of the film to his insistence on its message”. RT: 60% MC: 49
Also out, “Peep World” starring Michael C. Hall, Sarah Silverman, Judy Greer and Rainn Wilson, among others about a family of misfits and the brother who writes a tell all book about them. It’s packed with funny people and it’s nice to see some comedians (Silverman) stretching their acting wings and other dramatic actors (Hall) showing their funny side. However, our review said, “not only does ‘Peep World’ not work as a comedy, but it doesn’t work or feel like a movie in any sense. There’s no sort of weight to it and its multi-character POVs make it feel like a mediocre television pilot.” Darn it. RT: 21% MC: 25
Zut alors! Catherine Deneuve et Gerard Depardieu dans le meme film! Calling all high school French teachers! Francois Ozon‘s latest flick is an adaptation of the play of the same name and takes place in 1977 with Deneuve as the wife taking over the umbrella factory while her husband is held hostage by striking workers. Humor and romance ensue. Our review says “there are some sexy surprises that elicit giggles, and it’s often fun in an intentionally ridiculous sort of way. However, it’s hard to see exactly what, if anything, Ozon is trying to say.” RT: 78% MC: 69
Just in time to regret St. Patrick’s Day… “White Irish Drinkers“! Are there any other kind of Irish? I can say that because I am Irish… and white… and a drinker. The story of the antics of two brothers in Brooklyn in 1975 also stars the great Karen Allen as their mother. RT: 47% MC: 47
Documentary Watch: “Thunder Soul” about the Texas group Kashmere Stage Band and music teacher Conrad Johnson; and weekly world-is-dying entry “Queen of the Sun” about the honeybee crisis. :(
Also worth checking out: “Mia and the Migoo,” a handpainted animated film from French animator Jacques-Rémy Girard RT: 17%; Turkish film “Honey” about a young boy searching for his father RT: 100% MC: 70; Brazilian drama, “I Travel Because I Have to, I Come Back Because I Love You” about a young scientist out in the field RT: 100% MC: 89; 2010 festival hit “My Perestroika” about Soviet children brought up behind the Iron Curtain RT: 83% MC: 91; apocalyptic sci-fi suspense flick “One Hundred Mornings.” And oh my god there is an animated film called “The Lion of Judah” starring the vocal talents of Ernest Borgnine! This sentence makes me so inexplicably happy!