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Weekend Preview: ‘Man of Steel’ Mixed, ‘Twenty Feet From Stardom’ Shines, Middling ‘Bling Ring’ and More

Weekend Preview: 'Man of Steel' Mixed, 'Twenty Feet From Stardom' Shines, Middling 'Bling Ring' and More

The review embargo for Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” came crashing down a few nights ago, and unleashed reactions both super and withering. The film, which stars Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams and Michael Shannon, is sitting with a 60% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes–far worse than Bryan Singer’s 2006 “Superman Returns” score of 75%. Warner Bros. has a lot riding on this superhero origin story playing better for global audiences than critics; domestic opening weekend box office should be in the realm of $100 million.

A far cry from Kal-El, Sundance documentary “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” on the varying career paths of once high-profile backup singers, is enchanting critics.

Peter Strickland’s “Berberian Sound Studio,” starring Toby Jones as a Brit soundman suffering a crisis of conscience at an Italian giallo studio, is receiving strong reviews, if not as unanimously glowing as its Brit critics awards would have suggested; the film’s self-indulgent style may overwhelm Toby Jones’ performance. Meanwhile, Sofia Coppola’s portrait of criminal indulgence, “The Bling Ring,” starring Emma Watson and a bevy of other gorgeous, malaise-ridden teens as amateur celebrity looters, has mixed reviews. 

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s directorial debut “This Is the End” hit theaters on Tuesday night and Wednesday, and has delighted and surprised critics; it’s a funny, clever entry in the over-tired grossout comedy genre. So far it’s already earned $7.8 million, reports Sony, and should easily gross above $30 million over five days.

Twenty Feet From Stardom Dir. Morgan Neville, USA | RADiUS-TWC | Cast: Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Lisa Fischer, Merry Clayton | 94% Fresh | The Hollywood Reporter: “Neville unearths a treasure trove of archival TV, concert and film footage featuring many of these vocalists in their heyday, balancing the material with perfectly-lit contemporary studio interviews and performances shot in pristine digital cinematography, supplemented by more informal scenes depicting the frequent challenges of these musicians’ careers.” | Our TOH! review | Our TOH! interview with director Morgan Neville

This Is the End Dirs. Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, USA | Columbia Pictures | Cast: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride | 81% Fresh | Indiewire: “”This Is the End” isn’t particularly subversive — it doesn’t so much poke fun of the system from which it hails as the people there who have made it to the top, and even then there’s a sense of in-crowd camaraderie. But the film does manage to coyly sidle the apocalypse up next to that very crowd, and point out the ludicrousness of one in the face of the other.”

Berberian Sound Studio Dir. Peter Strickland, UK | IFC Films | Cast: Toby Jones, Fatma Mohamed, Cosimo Fusco, Antonio Mancino | 78% Fresh | The Guardian: “Utterly distinctive and all but unclassifiable, a musique
concrète nightmare, a psycho-metaphysical implosion of anxiety, with
strange-tasting traces of black comedy and movie-buff riffs. It is seriously
weird and seriously good.” | Our TOH! review

The Bling Ring Dir. Sofia Coppola, USA | A24 | Cast: Emma Watson, Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga | 61% Fresh | Entertainment Weekly: “For a while, the girls’ personalities seem almost
interchangeable, but that’s part of the texture. Katie Chang gives the leader a
ripe synthetic glow, and Emma Watson does a remarkable job of demonstrating
that glassy-eyed insensitivity need not be stupid.” | Our TOH! review

Man of Steel Dir. Zack Snyder, USA | Warner Bros.| Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne | 60% Fresh | New York Daily News: “The serious-minded result has many super-cool moments. But
when it gets clunky, it’s super-meh.” | Our TOH! review and roundup

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