Second-Level Gloom

This is a fairly serious release weekend, as megaplex owners brace themselves for the last battle of Katnip Evernote next Friday. Let’s plunge in.

By the Sea: This minor-key drama about an American couple facing middle age in the South of France would likely be taken a lot more seriously if writer-director Angelina Jolie Pitt had cast someone other than herself and her real-life husband in the leads … and maybe if she’d let someone else direct it. But there are some excellent things floating around inside of it, not the least of which is a fantastic Brad Pitt performance.

Entertainment: Rick Alverson’s latest is a deceptively deadpan study of a comedian (Gregg Turkington, playing a version of his monstrous Neil Hamburger character) shambling through a tour that feels like a season in hell.

The Games Maker: Rad describes Juan Pablo Buscarini’s fantasy as a low-budget Harry Potter knockoff, complete with the other Fiennes. I am not worried about having missed it.

Heist: Scott Caan Mann’s robbery picture feels like a straight-to-VOD thriller with an unexpected infusion of wackadoo invention … which allows the likes of Robert De Niro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Gina Carano and Dave Bautista to have a little more fun than you might expect.

Kilo Two Bravo: Paul Katis’ directorial debut (released in the UK as Kajaki: The True Story) turns the ordeal of British soldiers trapped in an Afghan minefield into an almost unbearably intense thriller. So, you’ve been warned.

Love: Gaspar Noe’s latest provocation is a romantic drama featuring actors performing on-camera sex that sounds an awful lot like Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs, but without the music and in 3D. Paul was not impressed.

Love the Coopers: The first salvo in the All-Star Generational Christmas Comedy genre features Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Olivia Wilde and Marisa Tomei, among others. Phil was not enraptured.

Man Vs.: Chris Diamantopoulos is Man; what exactly he’s versus turns out to be pretty lame.

Mavis!: As in “Staples”. As in “legend’. And Susan says Jessica Edwards’ documentary will make you a believer, if you aren’t already. Although I cannot imagine how you couldn’t be.

The Reflektor Tapes: Kahlil Joseph’s rambling, pointless Arcade Fire collage will disappoint pretty much anyone looking to do more than get high and listen to a mix tape.

Spotlight: Tom McCarthy’s electrifying docudrama about the Boston Globe’s exposure of an act of stunning bad faith by the Catholic Church is up there with All the President’s Men in its portrayal of journalism and its narrative economy. Also, Mark Ruffalo and Stanley Tucci are the bomb. 

The 33: Antonio Banderas and Lou Diamond Phillips are among the eponymous Chilean miners trapped 23,000 miles 2,300 feet underground (see comments) after an accident in Patricia Riggan’s docudrama. Jose is not a fan.

Wrecker: Apparently this opens at the Kingsway today. First time I even heard of it was when I saw the ad in this week’s paper.

So, there you have it. I’d suggest starting with Spotlight, just so you can say you got in early.

7 thoughts on “Second-Level Gloom”

  1. I misread Stanley Tucci’s character name as Mitchell Gaberdene, which sounded Hunger Gamesy enough for me to mentally insert him in full Caesar Flickerman mode into Spotlight, which made it all weirdly more appalling.

  2. 23,000 miles underground? Man, Hollywood really has to exaggerate things for drama, huh? That would put them all the way through the planet and way out into the deep reaches of outer space on the other side. 🙂

    If Wikipedia is to be believed, it was 2,300 feet.

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