If you're in New York or Los Angeles this weekend, run don't walk to James Ward Byrkit's dizzying metaphysical horror film "Coherence," or Roman Polanski's elegant pas-de-deux "Venus in Fur." But think twice before heading to Clint Eastwood's 1960s musical biopic "Jersey Boys," meeting a mixed critical response, or Paul Haggis' awful collage of interlocking soap operas "Third Person," currently crashing with reviewers.
On the indie side of the spectrum, you can catch Brit Joanna Hogg's "Exhibition," starring Tom Hiddleston, which Indiewire says has shades of Michael Haneke by way of Miranda July; Filipino helmer Lav Diaz's latest multi-hour epic, "Norte, The End of History," will hold court at NY's Lincoln Center after a long festival tour dating back to Cannes 2013, where "Venus in Fur" also bowed; and Jan Troell's austere WWII-era psychodrama "The Last Sentence" hits select markets too.
The film to see this weekend is "Coherence," which in terms of its pared-down dinner party setting, is also a psychodrama. But convention quickly shatters as our eight partygoers start to collectively go insane on the eve of a rare astronomical event. Cell phones are shattered, power is lost and a spooky box enters the picture, unleashing a reality-bending nightmare for all involved -- but to say any more would take the piss out of this explosively brilliant and deeply scary little movie.
Also wowing critics, and rightly so, is Roman Polanski's late-career triumph "Venus in Fur" from the David Ives play about a theater director and an actress, incarnated here by Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Seigner, dueling for power in the confined spaces of the stage. As they engage in a very wicked game of lusty wits -- and, not to mention, a casting director's hell -- Polanski directs with the vigor of an old pro who's learned more than a few new tricks.
Trailers and specs for all below.
Norte, The End of History Dir. Lav Diaz, Philippines | Cinema Guild | Cast: Cid Lucero, Archie Alemania, Soliman Cruz | 100% Fresh | Time Out NY: "You'd have to go back to Edward Yang's 'Yi-Yi' to find a movie that approaches marathon-length running times yet still makes you wish it were twice as long."
Venus in Fur Dir. Roman Polanski, France | IFC Films | Cast: Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric | 97% Fresh | Village Voice: "Polanski orchestrates this cat-and-mouse game with devilish delight, dancing around Ives's play as if it were a pagan bonfire, jabbing at it with his figurative pitchfork."
Exhibition Dir. Joanna Hogg, UK | Kino Lorber | Cast: Viv Albertine, Tom Hiddleston, Liam Gillick | 88% Fresh | Indiewire: "Hogg's third feature magnifies the relationship between people and the spaces they live in with a keen eye for the way the two tend to blend together."
Coherence Dir. James Ward Byrkit, USA | Oscilloscope Pictures | Cast: Emily Foxler, Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon, Elizabeth Gracen | 85% Fresh | The Dissolve: "No-budget filmmaking at its most delectably inventive." | Our review
Jersey Boys Dir. Clint Eastwood, USA | Warner Bros. | Cast: John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza, Christopher Walken, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda | 58% Fresh | The Hollywood Reporter: "A dash of showbiz pizzazz has been lost but some welcome emotional depth has been gained in the big-screen version of the still-thriving theatrical smash..." | Our review roundup
The Last Sentence Dir. Jan Troell, Sweden | Music Box Films | Cast: Jesper Christensen, Ulla Skoog, Pernilla August, Amanda Ooms | 57% Fresh | The New Republic: "[Troell] is a great and restrained director, seldom extravagant or showy, but trusting of actors, decor, and a relentless attention to mixed motives."
Third Person Dir. Paul Haggis, USA | Sony Pictures Classics | Cast: Mila Kunis, Olivia Wilde, Adrien Brody, James Franco, Kim Basinger | 43% Fresh | New Yorker: "The kind of eccentric and emotionally exhausting movie whose ardent sincerity remains in memory after smoother, more conventional works have passed into oblivion."