By Emma Bernstein | The Playlist May 3, 2013 at 4:59PM
It's a man's man's man's world. And while James Brown told us that "it don't mean nothing without a woman," what he forgot to mention is that she's probably never getting top billing. At least not this weekend. If we leave the titles aside -- "Iron Man 3," "The Iceman," and "Dead Man's Burden" -- there's still barely a female lead or a subject centered on women to be found, unless we're counting feminine dominance in vampire loving circles. The theater docket showcases superheroes, contract killers, rock stars, student protesters, psychotherapists, cowboys, and magicians and yet -- despite all that variety -- nary a one of them are women. Not that there isn't still plenty to love -- a solid blockbuster franchise returns, the always arresting Michael Shannon gets another turn at badassery, the Cassavetes family continues its industry legacy, and 35mm celluloid gets its due in a Western. So let us know, dear readers: what are you looking forward to seeing on the silver screen?
"Iron Man 3." Directed by Shane Black. Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Guy Pearce, Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rebecca Hall, James Badge Dale and Ben Kingsley. Our review: "With this being the third summer in four to feature a movie starring
Tony Stark, it's not surprising that at times, the film does feel more
like an episode of a particularly expensive TV show rather than a movie.
But for all the film's flaws, Black brings enough to the table that
it's far from a chore, and if this level of ingenuity and surprise can
be maintained, there'll be no need for Tony to hang up his Iron Man
helmet any time soon." Metacritic: 63 Rotten Tomatoes: 78% The Playlist: B
"The Iceman." Directed by Ariel Vromen. Starring Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, David Schwimmer, Chris Evans, James Franco, and Ray Liotta. Our review: "There are some good instincts at work in the film from Vromen. It's never a painful watch, more of a faintly dull, seen-it-all-before one. If nothing else, it's evidence that these days, being based on a true story isn't enough to elevate a film in a well-worn genre ahead of the pack. Fans of Shannon might get a kick out of seeing him front-and-center in a film like this, but for everyone else, it's likely a rental at best." MC: 64 RT: 72% PL: C
"What Maisie Knew." Directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel. Starring Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgard, Onata Aprile, Joanna Vanderham, and Steve Coogan. Our review: "It's clear McGehee and Siegel want you to be in the eye of the storm, to see and feel each showdown, each cutting insult, each room-rattling screen from the volcanic Moore and each passive-aggressive response from the daft Coogan...Any more of 'What Maisie Knew' would tear your heart clean out." MC: 65 RT: 82% PL: B+
"Kiss of the Damned." Directed by Xan Cassavetes. Starring Milo Ventimiglia, Josephine de la Baume, Roxane Mesquida, and Anna Mouglalis. Our review: "If 'Kiss of the Damned' has one thing, it's an identifiable groove, one that is sustained and very, very infectious. It's this reason that some will find the movie a letdown, since these vampires are more concerned with the existential dread and immortality than the visceral thrill of ripping someone's throat out. But for those adventurous enough to go along with it, the movie weaves an intoxicating spell." MC: 45 RT: 53% PL: B
"Greetings from Tim Buckley." Directed by Daniel Algrant. Starring Penn Badgley, Imogen Poots, and Ben Rosenfield. Our review: "There is no doubt that 'Greetings From Tim Buckley' is respectable, and
thanks to Badgley and Rosenfield, does justice to both singers. But the
film never quite connects father and son as each sharing the common
bond of extraordinary talent or even similar personal woes...But given the parameters
it has to work in, 'Greetings From Tim Buckley' tends to work better
than it should." MC: 59 RT: 58% PL: C+
"Generation Um..." Directed by Mark Mann. Starring Keanu Reeves, Bojana Novakovic, and Adelaide Clemens. Far too underdeveloped to make any lasting impact, this prosaic critique of present-day hedonism is momentarily saved by a winning performance from... Keanu? Now that's something that makes us say "um..." MC: 30 RT: 0%
"Something in the Air." Directed by Olivier Assayas. Starring Clement Metayer, Lola Creton, Felix Armand, Hugo Conzelmann, Carole Combes, and India Salvor Menuez. Our review: "There's so much to like about the film, and it's a mark of Assayas'
skill that it's a hugely engaging watch despite the blankness of the
characters. It looks great, it sounds great...it'll inspire a hundred magazine photo-shoots, and it's got plenty of
substance. But we had our fingers crossed for the picture to be Assayas'
crowning achievement, but it seems we'll have to wait a little longer." MC: 87 RT: 82% PL: B
"Free the Mind." Directed by Phie Ambo. This documentary, which explores the power of meditation as therapy, has proven polarizing, with critics calling it both deft and simplistic. Guess you'll have to decide for yourself here. MC: no score yet RT: no score yet
"Caroline and Jackie." Directed by Adam Christian Clark. Starring Marguerite Moreau, Bitsie Tulloch, David Giuntoli, and Valerie Azlynn. This family melodrama is, at times, startlingly and devastatingly real; at others, it drifts into the territory of the mawkish and somewhat boring. MC: 54 RT: 71%
"Dead Man's Burden." Directed by Jared Moshe. Starring Clare Bowen, David Call, Barlow Jacobs, and Joseph Lyle Taylor. Our review: "'Dead Man's Burden' is worth the watch for its sheer beauty, but it’s
also a slow burner of Western tragedy that hails many new talents to
keep an eye on." MC: 70 RT: 90% PL: B+
"Desperate Acts of Magic." Directed by and starring Joe Tyler Gold. Also starring Valerie Dillman, Jonathan Levit, and Alexander Sascha. Love becomes inconvenient when you're in a serious profession horse race; more so when you're in love with your competitor. On the upside, you're both magicians. MC: no score yet RT: no score yet