I’m going to steal a bit of Nick’s innovations, but not all (no graphics, sorry). I’ll give a quote from a New York Times critic.
The most significant openings this week are limited releases, starting with Trance (61). Danny Boyle has had two best Oscar Best Picture nominees in a row, which makes him a director of some note, but I would think his streak ends here, with this thriller about hypnosis and stolen art. I’ll probably end up checking it out, if only for a full monty from Rosario Dawson (it was pointed out on this blog the likely reason for her getting the part).
Manohla Dargis writes: “there are times when it feels as if he’s throwing everything at the screen — the throbbing music, bleeding fingers, narrative U-turns and the startling sight of a naked Ms. Dawson striding toward the camera as strategically shorn as a Renaissance nude — less because he wants to distract you from the big reveal than to obscure the material’s thinness.”
Another Oscar-winning director has a film this week, his first in quite a while. Robert Redford directs and stars in The Company You Keep (56), about radicals from the ’60s hunted by the FBI. It has a good cast, co-starring Susan Sarandon and Julie Christie, but unfortunately also stars Shia LaBoeuf.
Stephen Holden writes: “Lem Dobbs’s clunky screenplay, adapted from Neil Gordon’s novel, maintains a scrupulously ethical balance in contemplating domestic terrorism, and the film gives the angriest of these left-wing radicals their say. If their rage has moderated, their basic feelings haven’t changed.”
Also in limited release are Upstream Color (78), directed by and starring Shane Carruth, which seems to defy description. Dargis writes: “In terms of the story, he also is a worm-wrangler cum kidnapper, referred to only as Thief, who, right out of a David Lynch nightmare, snatches a blonde, Kris (Amy Seimetz), one dark, stormy night and pumps worms down her throat. He never explains his actions, even after he takes Kris back to her house, where a copy of “Walden” waits for someone to enjoy.”
The Brass Teapot (39) is a Twilight Zone-like story, directed by Ramaa Mosley. It stars Juno Temple, who is a favorite of the Mr. Skin crowd. Nicolas Rapold writes: “A comic fable that squanders its twisted-fairy-tale concept, “The Brass Teapot” observes the insidious effects of greed on a young, broke couple. When Alice (Juno Temple) and John (Michael Angarano) acquire a teapot that spits out cash every time they hurt themselves, they leap into the good life through self-inflicted hard knocks but learn a valuable lesson when other people want their stuff.”
The only openings in wider release are a couple of horror films, which means I’ll be staying home this weekend.
6 Souls (27) is by a couple of Swedish directors and somehow stars Julianne Moore (certainly a TV series is next for her). Rapold writes: “Beginning as a psychiatric freak show, “6 Souls” eventually trades serial-killer intimations for backwoods bad mojo before becoming just another dimly lighted pop-up-stalker flick.”
I suppose the weekend’s box office champion will be Evil Dead (58), a remake of the Sam Raimi film (I have not seen either of them–I understand Evil Dead 2 is something of a cult classic). Horror aficionados are giving this high marks, but I will wait and rent it, if only for the presence of Jane Levy, who activates my dirty old man meter.
Dargis writes: “The new “Evil Dead” has none of the first movie’s handmade charm or hilarity, intentional or otherwise. (It also lost its “The.”) The director, Fede Alvarez, approaches the creaky material with a surprisingly straight face and a fair amount of throat clearing.”