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Critical Consensus: Michael Winterbottom’s “The Trip” Is This Week’s Pick

Critical Consensus: Michael Winterbottom's "The Trip" Is This Week's Pick

For the second consecutive weekend, a British import is the critic’s choice at American art houses.

Following Richard Ayoade’s “Submarine”, Michael Winterbottom’s “The Trip” follows fictionalized versions of actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as they stop at some of the best restaurants and inns in the north of England. It’s opening in limited release this weekend alongside Monte Hellman’s first film in more than 20 years, “Road To Nowhere,” André Ovredal’s much-buzzed about Norwegian horror flick “The Troll Hunter,” and Djo Tunda Wa Munga’s Congo-set (and produced) “Viva Riva!,” among others. (Among them: J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8.”)

Most of the films received strong notices from criticWIRE. But, as noted, the overall pick of the week was “The Trip”,” which took a B+ average from 17 different critics (note that only films with four or more grades are considered). indieWIRE‘s Eric Kohn discusses the film – and the rest of the weekend’s releases – below:

It’s a good weekend for escapism: Made for very different budgets and facing very different release scales, “Super 8” and “The Troll Hunter” don’t exactly duke it out at the box office. But they are worth the price of admission, both being clever Spielbergian throwbacks that do the legacy proud. (More on that here) Naturally, that sort of thinking implies a universal appeal to the Spielberg touch, when in fact the very concept of a Spielberg movie makes some people gag. And those people have plenty of other options.

For instance, another filmmaker who made unique entertainment in the seventies, if not as prominently as Spielberg, returns to theaters: “Two Lane Blacktop” director Monte Hellman delivers his first feature in over 20 years with “Road to Nowhere,” movie about a jaded director trying to make his big comeback, which I regrettably haven’t seen yet. Still, the premise suggests the opposite of those aforementioned spectacles. While “Super 8” and “Troll Hunter” celebrate a Hollywood form of entertainment, Hellman explores the loneliness of working outside of it.

The title for his new film could also work for “The Trip,” Michael Winterbottom’s distended sketch comedy in which Steven Coogan and Rob Brydon wander from one restaurant to another, competing to see who can do a better Michael Caine impression. It’s mainly worth it for Coogan’s commitment to the performance. As a semi-fictional version of himself, he looks increasingly bleary-eyed, on comedic autopilot simply because he has no other options. With the movie’s quasi-documentary feel, you practically expect the actor to look straight into the camera and ask the audience if they can still take it. Of course, in a more roundabout, unspoken fashion, most great Spielberg movies do that as well.

Check out the links below for more extensive takes on “The Trip,” “Road To Nowhere,” “The Troll Hunter,” and more. Also offered is the top 10 criticWIRE scores for films already in theaters, which is currently topped by Clio Barnard’s “The Arbor” for the third week running.

iW Film Calendar & criticWIRE:
criticWIRE | Opening this week | Opening this month | All Films A – Z

criticWIRE: Films Opening This Week
NOTE: The averages listed here are current as of the publishing of this article. They are subject to change as new grades come in, and will be updated in next week’s edition of this article.

The Trip (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Road To Nowhere (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

The Troll Hunter (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Viva Riva! (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

One Lucky Elephant (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+

Bride Flight (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: TBD

Queen of the Sun (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: TBD

criticWIRE: 10 Best Bets Already In Theaters

1. The Arbor (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

2. Meek’s Cutoff (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

3. The Tree of Life (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

4. Tuesday After Christmas (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

5. City of Life and Death (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

6. Submarine (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

7. Incendies (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

8. Beginners (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

9. Midnight In Paris (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

10. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Previous Picks of the Week:
June 1: Richard Ayoade’s “Submarine”
May 25: Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life”
May 18: Woody Allen’s “Midnight In Paris”
May 11: Lu Chaun’s “City of Life and Death”
May 4: Koji Wakamatsu’s “Caterpillar”
April 27: Clio Barnard’s “The Arbor”
April 20: Denis Villeneuve’s “Incendies”
April 13: Janus Metz’s “Armadillo”
April 6: Kelly Reichardt’s “Meek’s Cutoff”
March 30: Michaelangelo Frammartino’s “Le Quattro Volte”

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