The most exciting opening this week is Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing (76), filmed on the cheap while he was making The Avengers. It’s a contemporary update of Shakespeare’s play. A.O. Scott: “Joss Whedon’s adaptation of “Much Ado About Nothing” — perhaps the liveliest and most purely delightful movie I have seen so far this year — draws out the essential screwball nature of Shakespeare’s comedy.”
Also in limited release is Violet and Daisy (43), about teenage girl hired killers, with Alexis Bledel (who is over 30) and Saorsie Ronan. Scott: “Plausibility is not remotely the point, of course. But some measure of dramatic credibility would be nice, especially once “Violet & Daisy” settles down to become, in essence, a talky, single-set, three-person play.” Playing at IFC is As Cool As I Am (28), starring Claire Danes as a woman with a troubled daughter. Stephen Holden: “The movie eventually turns choppy, and new characters appear and disappear without explanation. It is as if chunks of the film had landed on the editing-room floor in a desperate, last-minute attempt to trim its length.”
Dirty Wars (76), playing in limited release, is a documentary on America’s war on terror. Holden: “The thesis of Richard Rowley’s pessimistic, grimly outraged and utterly riveting documentary “Dirty Wars” is that America’s largely clandestine war on terror is now globally entrenched. Far from ending, the film argues, the fight has spread and begun breeding an increasing hatred of the United States that would have delighted Osama bin Laden. Because it is a hidden war, there are few Congressional restraints on how it is conducted.”
The multiplexes have a couple of duds. The Internship (43), reuniting Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn eight years after The Wedding Crashers, seems eminently missable. In the unlikely scenario, the two are laid off workers who take internships at Google. Manohla Dargis: “Whatever Mr. Vaughn’s motivations, with “The Internship” he has charted possibly new, definitely uneasy terrain by helping create a big-studio release that, from start to gaga finish, is a hosanna to a single company, its products, philosophy and implicit politics. Plenty of movies sell stuff from fashion to wars and religion; this one sells the Tao of Google.” No thanks. Early box office signs point to a disappointment.
Finally there’s The Purge (43), a futuristic tale starring Ethan Hawke. In the year 2022, there is a national holiday where all crimes are absolved, including homicide. Dargis: “The movie doesn’t directly point fingers at political conservatives, but Mr. DeMonaco deploys the satire about God ’n’ Guns with such cumulative heavy handedness, that the target, so to speak, becomes obvious. (The emblem of the New Founding Fathers looks a lot like one for the National Rifle Association, complete with a gun-toting eagle.)”
Looks like I’ll be staying in again this weekend.