By Forrest Cardamenis | Criticwire May 10, 2013 at 11:08AM
Today, a little movie about a man named Gatsby that you probably have heard a bit about arrives in theaters. It's far from the only major release, however, with Sarah Polley's latest feature (and first documentary) also hitting theaters as well. In addition, there are three very different kinds of horror/thrillers receiving modest reviews.
"Stories We Tell" (A, 32 critics) is Sarah Polley's most personal film and also the best reviewed doc so far this year.
"'Stories We Tell' is a bit of a paradox in the best way possible. It's a specific story about specific people that functions as an invitation for viewers to reflect on the stories of their own lives."
"On the strength of Polley's superbly perceptive as well as artfully deceptive 'Stories We Tell,' it's clear that Polley, at 34, is catching up fast with Munro, 81, as a separate but equal master of how memory works in storytelling."
"The Great Gatsby" (C+, 24 grades) is not so great (what, you're already tired of that pun?), but it's not too bad, either.
"Audacious, over-long, and, occasionally dazzling, Baz Luhrmann has delivered an adaptation that's imperfect but also pretty darn fascinating."
"This is the first time in Luhrmann's career that I've felt like the style, the glitz, the glamour were actually hiding a lack of depth instead of pushing forward the passionate vision of the man behind it."
There's a pair of fairly traditional horror releases today, the first of which, "Aftershock" (C, 8 grades), was co-written by and stars Eli Roth.
"Essentially, López applies Roth's aesthetics to an Irwin Allen-style disaster movie, reveling in the resulting death and destruction. While 'Aftershock' is not appointed with the customary horror movie trappings, it definitely follows in the midnight movie tradition."
The other is the twisted "No One Lives" (C, 6 grades), which has not found its niche as successfully.
"Most fatally, 'No One Lives' neglects to provide a rooting interest. Great horror movies engender sympathy for the lambs being led to the slaughter. Failing that, a lesser fright flick might at least get viewers cheering for the butcher...Not even Clemens, the most superficially likeable of the lot, inspires much affection."
Taking things in a new direction, "Sightseers" (B+, 41 grades) is a great mix of comedy and horror.
"But what's great about this horror comedy (and I'm using the term loosely, because it has a visual style and tone all its own), is its approach to such dark subject matter in a lighter, but still very bloody, package."
"Ben Wheatley's 'Sightseers' humorously observes masculine and feminine aggression, sticking with (and possibly satirizing) the gender stereotypes of men being overly-methodical and women being overly-emotional."
Lastly, tennis fans may want to check out the documentary "Venus And Serena" (B, 6 grades).
"What comes across most strongly is the genuine, overpowering love these two women have for each other, even when they’re in direct competition."