Not So Great, Not So Powerful

With Disney’s Oz prequel looking to dominate the Spring Break frame — and a couple of weeks beyond that, if Disney gets its wish — everyone else is backing away, leaving the indies to counterprogram. And so we go charging into the release slate.

Cloudburst: Thom Fitzgerald’s latest casts Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as aging partners on one last road trip. Maybe a little cartoony in the supporting roles, but the central relationship is very nicely acted and observed.

Dead Man Down: Colin Farell and Noomi Rapace make sex faces at each other in the English-language debut of Rapace’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo director Neils Arden Oplev. The studio’s embargoed it, so how good can it be?

Greenwich Village: Music That Defined a Generation: Laura Archibald’s documentary looks back on the hippies what changed the world with their protest singng and their love-ins. Susan has some reservations about the way the gay presence is represented, which sounds reasonable.

Neighboring Sounds: Kleber Mendonça Filho’s debut feature explores the social relationships in one corner of a Brazilian resort town. Susan loved it; I’m intrigued.

Oz the Great and Powerful: The one thing you don’t want Sam Raimi to be is Tim Burton. (Christ, no one even wants Tim Burton to be Tim Burton all that much these days.) But Disney wanted another Alice in Wonderland, and that’s exactly what he gave them.

Shepard and Dark: Treva Wurmfeld’s documentary examines the complex, contentious friendship of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark, who know each other maybe a little too well. Modest filmmaking, great story.

Trouble in the Peace: If you’ve seen Gasland or Wiebo’s War or even Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land, you already know more about fracking and its related dangers than Julian T. Pinder’s insufferably pretentious documentary wants to teach you. Christ, Weibo’s War is even about the same place. This was awful.

Also, the Lightbox is running a mini-70mm festival, with 2001 and Vertigo each playing two shows daily in Cinema 1. Them, you should see.

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