One major studio release this weekend and a whole bunch of random indies that are unlikely to make waves.
Oz: The Great and Powerful (RT: 56%, MC: 45%): Disney’s Spring tentpole, a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. Directed by Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, A Simple Plan, Evil Dead) and starring James Franco, Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams. Reviews appear to be decent, although it sounds like it loses steam in the second half. Tracking indicates a significantly stronger showing that last week’s disastrous Jack The Giant Slayer, which is certainly good news for the 200M film.
Dead Man Down (RT: 40%, MC: 42%): Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace co-star in this glossy, B-grade suspense thriller from director Niels Arden Oplev (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). I have to say I’m fairly shocked this is a wide release. There’s no real hook, Farrell has proven time and time again that he can not open a picture and Oplev’s unremarkable skills seem better suited for television crime procedurals (which he’s been doing for CBS) rather than full-fledged motion pictures. Anyway, I can’t imagine there’s any reason to see this theatrically.
Emperor (RT: 35%, MC: 45%): Tommy Lee Jones / Matthew Fox WWII drama that somehow landed a (contractually obligated?) theatrical release. Roadside Attractions is the distributor so look for this on Netflix streaming in, at most, a few months.
The Monk (Le Moine) (RT: 66%, MC: 62% ): Gothic horror picture starring Vincent Cassel. I read the description several times and still couldn’t grasp what it’s about. Something involving monks and a mysterious stranger who leads them into temptation (spoiler: almost certainly the devil or something). Enjoy.
The Gatekeepers (Shomerei Ha’Saf) (RT: 93%, MC: 90%): Documentary about Israel’s Secret Service.
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (RT: 88%, MC: 74%): Werner Herzog documentary about inhabitants of the Siberian wilderness.
For classic fare: The Criterion in New Haven is running Dark Victory (1939) starring Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart and Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein (1974) Fri-Sun.