While I’m rolling through my London screenings — four are lined up today; five, if I sneak off to the midnight show of “Saw IV”! — life goes on at home. Check out this weekend’s new openings!
“Control“: If you thought Michael Winterbottom was exaggerating the sense of atmospheric misery in “24 Hour Party People”, well … check out Manchester in black-and-white widescreen! Even if you don’t know Joy Division from New Order, Anton Corbijn’s Ian Curtis biopic is grueling, depressing, and entirely freakin’ awesome.
“Dan in Real Life“: If you’ve ever gotten really, really baked and found yourself wondering whether Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche and Dane Cook could all be in the same room without opening a hole in the art-commerce continuum, Peter Hedges’ film has the answer: Cinema survives, but with many wacky misunderstandings.
“Rails and Ties“: Look, it’s nice that Alison Eastwood hung around the set of “Mystic River” with her script, and convinced some of the actors and crew members to make it with her. I just wish they’d done it for a better director — one who could work around said script’s groaning contrivances and cliched characters. But damn, Kevin Bacon is great in everything these days.
“Sleuth“: Kenneth Branagh’s entirely wrong-headed remake of Anthony Shaffer’s plummy pas de deux wastes so very many things — game actors, a capable production designer, the audience’s time. But it’s not wholly Branagh’s fault, though he didn’t help matters much by feeding Jude Law his own line readings from 1994.