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This Weekend: Don't Miss Cuaron's Breathtaking 'Gravity,' Micro-Indie 'The Dirties' and K2 Disaster Doc 'The Summit'

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood October 3, 2013 at 2:51PM

The obvious must-see this weekend, as anyone knows who's been following the fall festival circuits and doesn't live under a rock, is Alfonso Cuaron's space survival epic "Gravity," starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in "Gravity"
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in "Gravity"

The obvious must-see this weekend, as anyone knows who's been following the fall festival circuits and doesn't live under a rock, is Alfonso Cuaron's space survival epic "Gravity," starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

But other strong titles are hitting theaters, too. Jia Zhangke's graphically violent "A Touch of Sin," which wowed at Cannes, is sitting with healthy reviews. It follows four different dramatic threads across modern-day China, supposedly based on real-life horrific events.

"The Dirties"
"The Dirties"

Nick Ryan's Sundance thriller doc "The Summit" uses actual footage, interviews and impressive reenactments to solve the mystery of K2's deadliest day, which left 11 climbers dead due to overcrowded slopes, ice avalanches and breakdowns in communication. As they did out of Park City, critics are praising the film.

The little indie that could this weekend is Matt Johnson's brilliant, hilarious and terrifying "The Dirties," which won awards out of both Slamdance and the recently wrapped Fantastic Fest. The film, which debuted only a month after the Newtown shootings, deals with school violence as seen through the lens of a couple of high school film nerds -- quoting Tarantino and Scorsese galore -- who plot revenge against the bullies who make their lives hell.

JFK assassination drama "Parkland" is falling with flat with critics, as it did on the fest circuit. 

Gravity Dir. Alfonso Cuaron, USA | Warner Bros. | Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney | 98% Fresh | TIME: "Gravity isn’t as ambitious as “2001,” but then, what is? It is, however, absolutely a worthy successor, a masterpiece of hard science fiction, and the movie to beat at this point for next year’s cinematography and visual effects Oscars." | Our TOH! review

The Summit Dir. Nick Ryan, USA | Sundance Selects | 80% Fresh | The Dissolve: "Though Ryan and Monroe prove adept at the film’s most elemental factors, they don’t offer enough backstory or characterization." | Our TOH! review

"A Touch of Sin."
"A Touch of Sin."

A Touch of Sin Dir. Jia Zhangke, China | Koch Lorber Films | Cast: Jiang Wu, Li Vivien, Luo Lanshan | 79% FreshVillage Voice: "In A Touch of Sin, Jia is attuned to, and saddened by, the violence he sees creeping through his country, caused at least partly by the ever-widening disparity between rich and poor. He ends on a note that's more haunting than hopeful." | Our TOH! review

The Dirties Dir. Matthew Johnson, Canada | Phase 4 Films | Cast; Matthew Johnson, Owen Williams | 75% FreshIndiewire: "Matthew Johnson directs, co-writes and stars in this queasy yet dead-on depiction of two high-school film nerds (Johnson and Owen Williams), who slowly hatch a plan to exact brutal -- and videotaped -- revenge on their tormenters, a vicious group of popular jocks they call 'The Dirties.'" 

Parkland Dir. Peter Landesman, USA | Open Road Films | Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Giamatti, Tom Welling, Zach Efron, Marcia Gay Harden | 55% RottenTime Out New York: "The tone never stops waffling, and nothing truly revelatory ever emerges about those terrible few days in Texas. What we’re left with is the Disney theme-park version of history — all waxworks and weepiness."

This article is related to: Reviews, Reviews, Gravity, A Touch of Sin, The Summit, Machete Kills

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.