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Weekend Preview: Tom Cruise's 'Oblivion' a Mediocre Mission, Francois Ozon's 'In the House' Liked by Critics

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood April 19, 2013 at 2:37PM

Tom Cruise apocalyptic vehicle "Oblivion," which is expected to score about $30 million when it opens wide this weekend, is a rare thing these days: a movie that arrives full-blown from the head of its filmmaker. While critics agree that Joseph Kosinski's spectacular piece of grown-up sci-fi boasts impressive visuals, some complain that the familiar sci-fi rehash -- unfavorable comparisons to "Total Recall" keep coming up -- bogs down the film.
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Tom Cruise in "Oblivion"
Tom Cruise in "Oblivion"

Tom Cruise apocalyptic vehicle "Oblivion," which is expected to score about $30 million when it opens wide this weekend, is a rare thing these days: a movie that arrives full-blown from the head of its filmmaker.  While critics agree that Joseph Kosinski's spectacular piece of grown-up sci-fi boasts impressive visuals, some complain that the familiar sci-fi rehash -- unfavorable comparisons to "Total Recall" keep coming up -- bogs down the film. Meanwhile, in limited release, Francois Ozon's psycho-sexual thriller and dark comedy "In the House," starring Fabrice Luchini, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ernst Umhauer, is the weekend's top-rated film.

Past Sundance entry "Filly Brown," starring Gina Rodriguez as an up-and-comer in the hip-hop world, is landing tepid reviews, as is Rob Zombie's visually enticing witch-hunt horror title "The Lords of Salem," which the NY Times laments abandons its interesting aspects for "hallucinatory garishness."

Finally, the April 17 release of Molly Bernstein's documentary "Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay" has pulled a rabbit out of the critical hat, and is winning praise for its highly engaging title subject.

In the House Dir. Francois Ozon, France | Cohen Media Group | Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ernst Umhauer, Emmanuelle Seigner | 87% Fresh | Variety: "More inspired by than adapted from Juan Mayorga’s play “The Boy in the Last Row,” this low-key thriller feels like a return to form for Ozon, whose pictures lost their psychosexual edge after the helmer stopped collaborating with Emmanuele Bernheim (“Swimming Pool”)." | TOH! exclusive clip | Our TOH! review.

Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay Dir. Molly Bernstein, USA | Kino Lorber | 80% Fresh | New York Times: "Unsurprisingly, Mr. Jay proves a hugely entertaining guide, and as generous about his professional inspirations as he is reticent about his own life."

Oblivion Dir. Joseph Kosinski, USA | Universal | Cast: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Melissa Leo, Zoe Bell | 60% Fresh | Village Voice: "The good news: Here's a lavish, serious science-fiction picture, one that on occasion transcends big-budget hit-making convention to glance against grandeur...Which brings us to Tom Cruise, the not-necessarily-good news. However engaging its end-times mysteries, Oblivion is still a Tom Cruise movie." | TOH! Kosinski interview | Our TOH! review.

Filly Brown Dir. Michael D. Olmos, USA | Pantelion Films | Cast: Edward James Olmos, Jenni Rivera, Gina Rodriguez | 51 Metascore | The Hollywood Reporter: "Gina Rodriguez’s magnetic star turn keeps this often overwrought film engaging, even when the script lets her down."

The Lords of Salem Dir. Rob Zombie, USA | Anchor Bay Films | Cast: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel Phillips | 42% Rotten | New York Times: "Considerable care goes into establishing the premise, but the film eventually abandons psychological subtlety for hallucinatory garishness, which is too bad."

All trailers are below.

This article is related to: Reviews, Weekend Preview, In the House, Oblivion, Filly Brown


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