There were a ton of new releases last week, and a ton more this week. From actual superheroes to students trying to be superheroes to things that really don't have anything to do with superheroes at all, early reviews suggest this might be one of the best weekends for movies so far this year.Opening things up with a bang is "Iron Man 3" (B, 25 grades), which is being seen as a step up from the franchise's second film:
"There are a number of big laughs throughout, the dialogue is great and the plot always keeps you on your toes; the film is always delivering something unexpected."
"It's worth noting that in 'Iron Man 3,' the only vague attempt at creating a political subtext turns out to be little more than a giant hoax, a reality show to manufacture danger and dread in a world that's already absolutely suffused with the stuff. Nolan might have pushed it too far, but that's still better than just going back to the party like you never really left."
"'Post Tenebras Lux' is certainly the most audaciously unique film I have seen in a long time; I would not label it as pretentious, however, since that would imply that there is nothing to back up the densely shrouded mystery of the film's meaning."
Henry James gets a big screen adaptation with Scott McGehee's and David Siegel's "What Maisie Knew" (B+, 17 grades):
"'Maisie''s cast and co-director definitely stack the deck, but at least they do it thoroughly and compellingly. Viewers will absolutely care about the bright and precociously self-aware Maisie, which is the acid test for any film focused on a young protagonist."
"The only lessons that McGeHee and Siegel seem to want to impart are that bad parents are usually bad people and that children are stronger willed than we think."
"Shannon does his best with the limited material, and Winona Ryder has a nice turn as Richie's worry-prone but oblivious wife, but their efforts are further undermined by the thin and familiar, decades-spanning mob story."
Susanne Bier follows up her Oscar-winning "In A Better World" with the delightful "Love Is All You Need" (B, 15 grades):
"Sometimes you just want to go to the cinema and see a really lovely film, which will make you laugh throughout and smile by the end; if you happen to remember anything from the film afterwards, then that is always a plus. 'Love Is All You Need' is one of these special occurrences."
"Most real, and at once divine, are the scenes in nature. When Gilles meets his girlfriend Laure, she walks toward him on a forest path in a long white lacy dress and is every bit the muse. Her risky perfection haunts Gilles and the rest of the movie."
Finally, don't miss out on "Dead Man's Burden" (B+, 5 grades), which is receiving acclaim with less exposure:
"The film should work as well for non-devotees because Algrant, who previously created suspense out of PR spin for the underrated Al Pacino thriller 'People I Know,' has once again found a unique way into potentially overwhelming subject matter."
"'Dead Man's Burden,' is a throwback to the programmers of yore, shot mostly on a single location and embroiling four stock characters in a very basic scenario. It plays like the kind of movie you'd stumble onto watching TCM late at night and get sucked into against your will, amazed that something you'd never heard of, with no purchase in film history, could be this absorbing."