Two big blockbusters and two well-reviewed indies are on the slate this weekend in Sin City.
The first blockbuster is X-Men: Apocalypse (52), the ninth X-Men feature, with Bryan Singer at the helm. I’ve liked the earlier incarnation of X-Men films more than the first few, but this just seems like a retread and will probably be a rental for me. Barry Hertz: “It’s a goofy, confusing mess of a sequel, a cautionary tale of what happens when a filmmaker lives too long inside his own franchise to realize that no one takes it nearly as seriously as he does.”
The other is Alice Through the Looking Glass (34), a sequel to Tim Burton’s first Alice film, but this time directed by James Bobin. I hated the first one, and this one sounds worse. From the plot description, it has nothing to do with Lewis Carroll (Through the Looking Glass is laid out as a chess game) and just appropriates the characters. Justin Chang: “At every turn the filmmakers have simplified, banalized and sentimentalized Alice and her psychological landscape in ways that reek of ignorance at best and cynicism at worst.”
This weekend I plan on seeing two indies that have finally shown up here. First up is A Bigger Splash (74), with Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton, two of the best actors in the business. Christy Lemire: “Simultaneously lush and lurid, sumptuous and startling, A Bigger Splash never goes where you expect, even as its undercurrent of danger is unmistakable from the start.”
Finally, Whit Stillman does Jane Austen, which makes perfect sense. I’ve seen all of Stillman’s films, which are comedies of manners of the kind Austen perfected. He’s adapted a novella she wrote called Lady Susan, which he calls Love & Friendship (86). A. O. Scott: “At times, most often when Mr. Bennett is onscreen, Love & Friendship is howlingly funny, and as a whole it feels less like a romance than like a caper, an unabashedly contrived and effortlessly inventive heist movie with a pretty good payoff.”