In box office terms, the biggest release of the week will surely be the latest and last Twilight installment, but the bigger news for me is the release of a couple of OScar-season heavyweights in Anna Karenina and Silver Linings Playbook.
Anna Karenina comes to us from Joe Wright, returning to period pieces after a couple of contemporary films. Of those two, The Soloist was the type of pointless misfire that one would expect from a director out of his element. But then Hanna was a startling film, with terrifically efficient action direction and a weird grim fairy tale tone. It’s hard to know what to make about Anna Karenina, except that it’s so far gotten divisive reviews, and that its trailer makes it look rather audaciously stylized. Fairly or not, this movie will go a long way towards solidifying my opinion of Wright, because right now I’m not so sure what to think.
Meanwhile, David O. Russell returns with Silver Linings Playbook, with what appears to be a big moment for the clearly talented Jennifer Lawrence. Otherwise, the trailer doesn’t do the film many favors, making it look like an ostensibly edgy but actually quite saccharine romantic comedy about mentally ill people in love. But I’ve yet to not like a Russell film, and I can only trust that there’s more to it than it appears. Or, at the very least, that like The Fighter it takes a familiar plot outline but presents it with obvious craftsmanship, attention to emotional detail, and fine acting.
Rounding out the week’s notable films is This Must Be the Place, starring Sean Penn as an aging goth rocker. This frankly looks terrible, with Penn utilizing a voice that most resembles Chris Kattan’s goth character on SNL, and a plot that boils down to some bad stuff that happened to Penn’s father in WWII (that he has to go on a cross-country road trip to sort out). There’s also rumors of it being tinkered with by the Weinsteins, so there’s that, too.
Anna Karenina (trailer)
Band of Sisters – doc about nuns
Chasing Ice (trailer) – doc about glaciers
Jab Tak Hai Jaan – romance from India
Silver Linings Playbook (trailer)
Son of Sardaar (trailer) – action movie from India
Sushi: The Global Catch – doc about sushi
This Must Be the Place (trailer)
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (trailer)