Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Five Films to See This Weekend: 'Hunger Games,' Dench Oscar Bid 'Philomena,' Drug War Doc 'Narco Cultura' & More

Thompson on Hollywood By TOH! | Thompson on Hollywood November 21, 2013 at 4:24PM

Something for everyone this weekend. While most audiences will surely flock to the new "Hunger Games" film, Oscar hopeful "Philomena" arrives in select cities after its sweep through the festival circuit, and the new Vince Vaughn vehicle "Delivery Man" gets a wide release. Doc lovers, head to "Narco Cultura" if not "Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?"
1
'Catching Fire'
'Catching Fire'

Something for everyone this weekend. While most moviegoers will flock to the new "Hunger Games" film, which looks to break box office records around the world, Oscar hopeful "Philomena" arrives in select cities after its festival sweep, and new Vince Vaughn vehicle "Delivery Man" gets a wide release. Doc lovers, head to "Narco Cultura" if not "Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?" Trailers after the jump.

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is as terrific as everybody says it is. It took at least three great writers to massage Suzanne Collins' second novel in her bestselling "Hunger Games" trilogy into a taut, thrilling movie balanced between reluctant symbol Katniss Everdeen's pure mission to protect her family by surviving and her conflicted feelings for her two loving swains, Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). Jennifer Lawrence carries this movie on her shoulders with nary a wrong move--athletic but feminine, strong but vulnerable, loving but resolute.

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in "Philomena"
Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in "Philomena"

It's no surprise that the Weinstein Co. is releasing "Philomena," which is one of those movies aimed squarely at the Academy middle. This relatable true story of a woman forced to join other unwed mothers at a Catholic convent in a state of servitude should be heart-wrenching and often is, thanks to a naturalistic unshowy performance by Judi Dench that deserves awards kudos. 

Waning comic actor Vince Vaughn returns to theaters this weekend in sperm donor comedy "Delivery Man," costarring network sitcommers Cobie Smulders ("How I Met Your Mother") and Chris Pratt ("Parks and Recreation"). DreamWorks is upbeat about the film's chances for a Golden Globe comedy nomination. 

"Narco Cultura"
"Narco Cultura"

In US-Mexican drug war doc "Narco Cultura," director Shaul Schwarz not only follows the near-hopeless battle against the meth-coke-and-pot cartels, but the musical culture that they’ve spawned, a genre built around the glorification of murder, decapitation and crime.

Meanwhile, brilliant French director Michel Gondry returns with the experimental animated Noam Chomsky doc "Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?" But his idea of animating a documentary to reveal its inherent fakery is counterproductive. Even for staunch Chomskyites, the film is a distracting challenge to anyone's concentration.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Dir. Francis Lawrence, USA | Lionsgate | 94% Fresh | Slant: "Francis Lawrence imbues the source material with visceral pleasure in well-wrought scenes vacillating between elaborate spectacle, breathtaking terror, and--occasionally--surprising beauty." | Our review and premiere coverage

Philomena Dir. Stephen Frears, UK | The Weinstein Company | 93% Fresh | AV Club: "A sober consideration of how ideals relate to institutions-whether they're religions or political parties-anchored by two well-rounded, funny lead performances." | Our review and roundup

Delivery Man Dir. Ken Scott, USA | DreamWorks | 32% Fresh | Variety: It would be no stretch at all to interpret "Delivery Man" as a pro-life movie... But Scott’s warm-hearted humanism extends further than family, as if to remind that we are all brothers and sisters, with more in common than could possibly separate us."

Narco Cultura Dir. Shaul Schwarz, USA, Mexico | Cinedigm | 100% Fresh | Time Out New York: "Ping-ponging between grisly South of the Border carnage and Angeleno musician Edgar Quintero's growing success as one of the subgenre's stars, you start to see how this parasitic relationship works." | Our review

Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? Dir. Michel Gondry, USA | IFC Films | 100% Fresh | Indiewire: "Gondry's eccentric look at Chomsky's intellectual proclivities leads to a thoughtful examination of both director and star." | Our review and roundup

This article is related to: Reviews, Weekend Preview, Hunger Games: Catching Fire , The Hunger Games, Philomena, Vince Vaughn, Delivery Man, Michel Gondry, Jennifer Lawrence, Narco Cultura


E-Mail Updates