By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood November 17, 2011 at 2:06PM
There is something you can see in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" that you will likely never ever see in real life: George Clooney as a cuckolded husband and the father of two daughters. But the film is down to earth, offering something you rarely see these days at the movie theater: Situations you can relate to, characters you care about, whose highs and lows don't revolve around super powers or the apocalypse. You will want to see "The Descendants" eventually, as Fox Searchlight's multiple Oscar campaigns hit full strength. Gurus o' Gold has "The Descendants" leading picture, director, screenplay and actor categories. Consider this essential viewing. Here's our interview with Payne and Oscar Talk on Clooney.
Critics scores are low for Bill Condon's penultimate "Twilight: Breaking Dawn" and George Miller's "Happy Feet Two" (which has nothing to do with how much money they'll rake in). Meanwhile the UK's "Tyrannosaur" and France's "Tomboy" have been earning rave reviews since their premieres at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals, respectively. Details, reviews and trailers on these films and more are below:
"The Descendants," Fox Searchlight, US | Director: Alexander Payne; Cast: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Judy Greer, Beau Bridges, Matthew Lillard, Robert Forster | B+ criticWIRE | Roger Ebert: "Payne is gifted at using the essence of an actor. He links something in their nature to their characters...What happens is that we get vested in the lives of these characters. That's rare in a lot of movies. We come to understand how they think and care about what they decide."
"Tomboy," Rocket Releasing, FR | Director: Céline Sciamma; Cast: Zoé Héran, Sophie Cattani, Mathieu Demy | A- criticWIRE | 100% Tomatometer | Women and Hollywood interviews Sciamma | Village Voice: "Tomboy astutely explores the freedom, however brief, of being untethered to the highly rule-bound world of gender codes."
"Tyrannosaur," Strand Releasing, UK | Director: Paddy Considine; Cast: Peter Mullan, Eddie Marsan, Olivia Colman, Ned Dennehy, Sian Breckin | B criticWIRE | 87% Tomatometer | ThePlaylist: "The film crescendos in an entirely unpredictable manner, and first-time director Paddy Considine side-steps the cheap audience release of a showdown in favor of an intriguing subversion of social realist dramas built upon broken relationships."
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Part One" Summit, US | Director: Bill Condon; Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli | 25% Tomatometer | Manohla Dargis: "The latest and best of the movies about a girl, her vampire and their impossible, ridiculously appealing - yes, I surrendered - love story." | TOH Talks to Condon.
"Happy Feet Two," Warner Bros., AUS | Director: George Miller; Cast: Elijah Wood, Pink, Elizabeth Daily, Sofia Vergara, Robin Williams | 43% Tomatometer | Roger Moore: "A clever and adorable original film remade with most of the charm wrung out of it."
"Elite Squad: The Enemy Within" | New Video, BRAZIL | Dir: José Padilha; Cast: Wagner Moura, Irandhir Santos, Andre Ramiro, Milhem Cortez | 100% Tomatometer | Village Voice: "Plays footsie with both socialism and fascism, it’s never easy to peg,..its conviction makes it tough to dismiss." | ThePlaylist: "Elite Squad: The Enemy Within" aims to be more than just some action movie, even if it is an action movie with a potential Best Foreign Language Feature nomination pedigree. It looks to be about what causes the violence and unrest in these communities – the power of the people pulling the strings and the unending cycle of corruption that, as the movie comes to a close, keeps on chugging."
"Another Happy Day," Phase 4, US | Director: Sam Levinson; Cast: Ellen Barkin, Ezra Miller, Kate Bosworth, Demi Moore, Thomas Haden Church | 57% Tomatometer | Chris Bumbray: "A searing look at the modern family dynamic, and the way love and hate can be inter-changable at times." | Indiewire interviews Levinson.