Opening in Chicago, 05/11

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Dark Shadows (trailer)
Director: Tim Burton (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Alice in Wonderland)
Personal Interest Factor: um, 6, I guess?
Hard to know what to make of this – sometimes I see the trailer and think it looks OK, and sometimes I see it and it looks terrible. I’m so wary of Burton these days that I think it’s hard not to be skeptical, but at the same time, I’m pretty sure it can’t be worse than Alice in Wonderland. Can it? No, I don’t think so.
Metacritic: 56

God Bless America (trailer)
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait (Shakes the Clown, Sleeping Dogs Lie, World’s Greatest Dad)
Personal Interest Factor: 3
By all appearances a tedious juvenile fantasy from Goldthwait. But it inspires a question – how many good movies are there with ironic titles? Obviously, it’s not impossible – thinking about it for a few minutes gives me Paths of Glory and A Serious Man (which is perhaps debatably ironic) – but it seems like a bad way to go, generally speaking, like signaling to an audience that what follows is smug and/or preachy (and as much as I love Kubrick and the Coens, there are obviously people who would use those adjectives to describe them).
Metacritic: 53

Headhunters (trailer)
Director: Morten Tyldum
Personal Interest Factor: 6
Action thriller from Norway, of all places. I suppose I can’t hold the trailer against it, but it’s hamhandedly cut and features really awkward English narration. Anyway, it’s about an art thief mixed up in shenanigans, and I see that Rob liked it.
Metacritic: 73

Sound of My Voice (trailer)
Director: Zal Batmanglij
Personal Interest Factor: 8
Brit Marling co-wrote and starred in the terrific Another Earth, and here she’s done the same (with a different director) with this film, about some kind of investigation into a cult led by Marling’s character. There are some interesting posters for the movie here, and just generally it seems like the kind of ambitious indie film project that don’t come around enough.
Metacritic: 66

The Turin Horse
Director: Béla Tarr (Damnation, Sátántangó, Werckmeister Harmonies, The Man from London)
Personal Interest Factor: 6
I guess this is my homework for the week. It’s the latest from Hungarian auteur Tarr, and I’m unfamiliar with his work except for The Man from London, which was truly tedious.
Metacritic: 80

Also this week:
Bad Fever – indie drama about “a lanky, inarticulate loner”
Girl in Progress (trailer) – Eva Mendes as single mom
The Perfect Family (trailer) – Kathleen Turner as unhinged matriarch
Warriors of the Rainbow (trailer) – Taiwanese historical epic

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2 responses »

  1. I really enjoyed ‘Headhunters’ although it’s less of an action thriller than the trailer (that I haven’t seen) may imply. There are some action-oriented set pieces, but the majority of it is a mix of mind games and black comedy. Very smart, very funny and earns a surprising amount of empathy for its lead character.

    ‘Another Earth’ is fantastic, and I’d place it just a little higher than ‘Sound Of My Voice’ (but I’m in the minority on that opinion).

    I thought ‘God Bless America’ was pretty funny, and while it’s a bit heavy handed the lead performance by Joel Murray is an unexpected revelation.

    And ‘The Perfect Family’ is okay but more than a little obvious and simplistic in its narrative.

  2. I can recommend Headhunters as well. It’s a well made thriller with some good dark humor. I dug that the main character was a real asshole.

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