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This Weekend, Why ‘Die in the West’ When You Can Head to ‘Night Moves’ and ‘Maleficent’? (TRAILERS)

This Weekend, Why 'Die in the West' When You Can Head to 'Night Moves' and 'Maleficent'? (TRAILERS)

Though critics are pooh-poohing the tawdry, toilet-humor antics of Seth MacFarlane’s “Million Ways to Die in the West,” Angelina Jolie in “Maleficent” promises to be a fun family time-suck, while the weekend’s indies offer something more to chew on.

Director Kelly Reichardt’s most accessible film to date, “Night Moves,” is a finely chiseled, old-fashioned thriller stars Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard as a band of radical environmentalists whose small act of eco-terrorism spawns a Dostoevskian fallout for all. Brooding beneath utterly natural performances and the film’s noir outline is an elemental story of guilt and impossible redemption — and Eisenberg’s best work since “The Social Network.”

Disney updates “Sleeping Beauty” in gloomy fairytale “Maleficent,” starring a wickedly beautiful Angelina Jolie as the iconic arch villain. Word is the film gets muddled in a stew of CGI, and in a screenplay that brings nothing new to the fairytale table. But Jolie is the reason to watch, and surely audiences will do so accordingly this weekend.

Two long-awaited indies finally hit — Moodysson’s fantastic youngster punk band comedy “We Are the Best!“, which may really be the “best!” of the weekend, and Jon S. Baird’s Irvine Welsh adaptation “Filth,” starring a stable of studly Brits — including James McAvoy and Jamie Bell — as vulgarians with a taste for the ole ultraviolence.

Trailers below.

Night Moves Dir. Kelly Reichardt, USA | Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard, Alia Shawkat | 78% Fresh | The Dissolve: “A film of deliberate, gnawing intensity and focus, built around a Jesse Eisenberg performance that doesn’t give much away, at least not easily.” | Our review and Q&A with Peter Sarsgaard

Maleficent Dir. Robert Stromberg, USA | Disney | Cast: Angelina Jolie, Sam Riley, Elle Fanning, Miranda Richardson, Imelda Staunton | 45% Fresh | Salon.com: “Whatever its flaws, ‘Maleficent’ is a family-friendly Disney adventure that offers a relaunched and thoroughly delightful Angelina Jolie…” | Our director interview

A Million Ways to Die in the West Dir. Seth MacFarlane, USA | Universal | Cast: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris | 35% Fresh | New York Magazine: “Some of the gags do land – maybe one in four. But the genre-parody genre with big stars and poop jokes needs a little more class than MacFarlane is capable of providing.”

We Are the Best! Dir. Lukas Moodysson, Sweden | Magnolia Pictures | Cast: Mira Barkhammar, Liv LeMoyne, Mira Grosin, Alexander Karlsson | 97% Fresh | LA Times: “If ever a movie earned the exclamation point in its title, it’s Lukas Moodysson’s ‘We Are the Best!'”

Filth Dir. Jon S. Baird, UK | Magnet | Cast: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Jim Broadbent, Imogen Poots | 67% Fresh | NYT: “After a certain point, watching it is like listening to the ravings of an increasingly incoherent and abusive drunk.”

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