Weekend Preview: 'Act of Valor,' 'Wanderlust,' 'Hell and Back Again,' 'Forgiveness of Blood'

Box Office
by Anne Thompson & Sophia Savage
February 23, 2012 1:44 PM
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"Wanderlust," "Act of Valor," "The Forgiveness of Blood" & "Good Deeds"
While our last fave rave "Bullhead" expands, this weekend brings some fresh meat. Jennifer Aniston's "Wanderlust" is so far her best-reviewed (78% Fresh) film since 2002's "The Good Girl." Indiewire, however, finds that the film illustrates the problem with every David Wain movie. Albanian drama "The Forgiveness of Blood" finally lands in theaters after playing Telluride and Berlin (where it received two awards).

Actioner "Act of Valor," meanwhile, claims to be "an unprecedented blend of real-life heroism and original filmmaking," complete with active-duty Navy SEALs (how did they find the time?). Roger Ebert explains how the film--once intended as a training/recruitment tool--became what it is.

The must-see this weekend: Sundance 2011 documentary jury prize-winner and current Oscar nominee "Hell and Back Again," which cross-cuts between a marine battling to survive in Afghanistan and back at home (playing in select markets).

Amanda Seyfried's thriller "Gone" and Tyler Perry's "Good Deeds" also open this weekend, though neither was screened for review. Vulture's agent-manager-contributor Gavin Polone takes a look at The False Circular Logic Behind Hollywood’s Resistance to Black Entertainment, in which he states, "The percentage of people in the entertainment industry making movies and television for the African-American market is Tyler Perry." He adds, "Obviously, I’m exaggerating — but not by much."

Reviews, details and trailers for this weekend's films below:

"Bullhead" Drafthouse Films, BELGIUM | Dir: Michael R. Roskam; Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeroen Perceval, Jeanne Dandoy, Barbara Sarafian | 82% Tomatometer | AP says: "Eventually it reveals itself to be a character drama about the way the past shapes us and our inability to escape it, no matter how convincingly we believe we've transformed ourselves." | TOH! Q & A.

"The Forgiveness of Blood" Sundance Selects, US/ALBANIA | Dir: Joshua Marston; Cast: Refet Abazi, Tristan Halilaj, Sindi Lacej | 86% Tomatometer | NYMag says: "[A] compelling film touching on the perils of being young-that's it, merely young-in a culture without justice." | ThePlaylist calls it: "A tight, taught, grounded dramatic thriller."

"Wanderlust" Universal, US | Dir: David Wain; Cast: Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux, Alan Alda, Malin Akerman | 78% Tomatometer | EW says: "Every actor who gets the joke shines, even when the story occasionally bumbles and bobbles its momentum." | AP says: "Some do reach the levels of brilliant, unfettered lunacy to which they aspire."

"Act of Valor" Relativity Media, US | Dir: Mike McCoy; Cast: Alexander Asefa, Drea Castro, Jason Cottle | 8% Tomatometer | Village Voice says: "The villains come across as individuals rather more compellingly than do the film's ostensible heroes, mostly mouthpieces for warrior credo recited in voiceover."

"Gone" Summit, US | Dir: Heitor Dhalia; Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Daniel Sunjata, Jennifer Carpenter, Sebastian Stan, Wes Bentley | Tomatometer.

"Good Deeds" Lionsgate, US | Dir: Tyler Perry; Cast: Tyler Perry, Thandie Newton, Gabrielle Union, Eddie Cibrian, Phylicia Rashad, Rebecca Romijn | Tomatometer.

 

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