Some films with good reviews opening this week, including the first picture released this year that can be considered as an Oscar Best Picture candidate.
The box office winner for new films this week is Sausage Party (67), from the Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg/Jonah Hill gang. It’s animated film about anthropomorphic foodstuffs. Surprisingly, from what I’ve read, it’s also a theological treatise on the existence of God. Jordan Raup: “Sausage Party is a mixed bag of comedy, but when it finally has the gusto to ratchet things up on a visual level, the surrealistic vulgarity is something to be appreciated, even if you may feel assaulted once the lights come up.”
Pete’s Dragon (72) has to be a disappointing opening for Disney, given the reviews. This is a remake of a film that I can’t remember if I saw or not, but this one is not animated and features Robert Redford. Tom Russo: “[David] Lowery’s update turns out to be one of the summer’s best surprises, a gorgeous, magical reworking that deftly strikes that once-elusive balance between contemporary and quaint.”
Oscar talk has started with Florence Foster Jenkins (71), featuring Meryl Streep as the world’s worst singer (sort of the original William Hung) in a heart-warming story that will certainly earn Streep her 20th Oscar nomination and possibly one for Hugh Grant as her husband. Best Picture prospects will depend on what’s coming up, but it will certainly have to have legs beyond it’s 6.5 million opening. David Edelstein: “It’s a wobbly, uneven, ultimately wonderful film — its unevenness befitting its title character, who we come to love despite her loopy lack of awareness of her own deficiencies.”
Also this week is Indignation (80), the first of two adaptations of a Philip Roth novel this fall. I saw the film yesterday and a review will be up tomorrow. It covers usual Roth territory–a young Jewish man goes to college and is undone by a shiksa. Tim Grierson: “The directorial debut of long-time screenwriter and producer James Schamus exudes a tasteful reserve, but actor Logan Lerman cuts through the seeming gentility in a performance that seethes with his character’s burgeoning arrogance and cynicism.”