Opening on Wednesday was Out of the Furnace (64), another of those overcooked crime dramas set in the rust belt (see The Place Beyond the Pines). Good cast and decent reviews, but tanking at the box office and removing itself from Oscar consideration. Jamie Berardinelli: “Out of the Furnace features some nice performances and is deliciously atmospheric but it never achieves its goal of being a compelling meditation about how the economic erosion of a community influences the lives of those trapped within it.”
The exciting opening this weekend is the latest from the Coen Brothers, always a reason for celebration, and Inside Llewyn Davis (94) appears to be one of their best. As a plus for me, it’s set in the world of the folk revival in Greenwich Village in 1961, a time period that fascinates me. Glenn Kenny: “The most satisfyingly diabolical cinematic structure that the Coens have ever contrived, and that’s just one reason that I suspect it may be their best movie yet.”
The rest of the openings this week are small films that will never see the light of day in Middle America. I’m most intrigued by White Reindeer (68), a kind of anti-holiday movie. Mike D’Angelo: “If nothing else, this is the least festive Christmas movie since “Bad Santa,” dissecting the absurd belief that the holiday season can somehow magically cure all ills.”
Also this week: Night Train to Lisbon (29), with Jeremy Irons and Lena Olin; S#x Acts (67), an Israeli film about a promiscuous teen; The Last Days on Mars (47), a sci-fi film; Twice Born (32), a film about the Bosnian conflict, with Penelope Cruz; and Commitment (25), from South Korea.