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This Weekend: See 'In a World,' 'Prince Avalanche,' Smart but Uneven 'Elysium,'; Skip 'Lovelace,' 'Planes,' 'We're the Millers'

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood August 8, 2013 at 3:45PM

Indies are your best bet this weekend. Don't miss Lake Bell's hilarious feminist comedy "In a World," skewering the macho trailer voice-over business; and David Gordon Green's return to independent filmmaking, the well-reviewed "Prince Avalanche," a two-hander starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch.
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Lake Bell in "In a World"
Lake Bell in "In a World"

Indies are your best bet this weekend. Don't miss Lake Bell's hilarious feminist comedy "In a World," skewering the macho trailer voice-over business; and David Gordon Green's return to independent filmmaking, the well-reviewed "Prince Avalanche," a two-hander starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch.

Also receiving praise from critics is Jesse James Miller's documentary "The Good Son: The Life of Ray 'Boom Boom' Mancini," centering on the life and career of the retired American boxer.

Neill Blomkamp's "Elysium," starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley, finally hits theaters, and is being met with positive to middling reviews. Critics can't fault Blomkamp for knowing how to put together a sci-fi film; but the heavy-handed socially conscious message and character development don't quite live up to the dazzling effects and world-building of this original story.

Meanwhile, Sundance entry "Lovelace," starring Amanda Seyfried as the eponymous "Deep Throat" star, isn't, er, going down so well with critics; the biopic lacks profundity of any sort.

"We're the Millers" opened Wednesday, and the occasional funny moments from the trailer aren't translating to a feature-length comedy in this Jennifer Aniston starrer. The film is sitting with 36% Rotten Tomatometer score. Disney's animated "Planes," set in the world of Pixar's "Cars,"which was originally not destined to be a theatrical release, is doing even worse. Critics are completely bored by the first "vanilla" installment in what's predicted to be a multiple film franchise (a sequel is already slated for next summer).

In a World Dir. Lake Bell, USA | Roadside Attractions | Cast: Lake Bell, Ken Marino, Fred Melamed, Michaela Watkins, Rob Corddry, Demitri Martin | 84% FreshVariety: "To call Lake Bell a magnetic, intelligent, blithely screwball leading lady in the Carole Lombard tradition might be selling her short. With In a World… , a rollicking laffer about the cutthroat voiceover biz in Los Angeles, she proves herself a comedy screenwriter to be reckoned with." | Our TOH! review

"Prince Avalanche"
"Prince Avalanche"

Prince Avalanche Dir. David Gordon Green, USA | Magnolia Pictures | Cast: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch | 78% FreshA.V. Club: "By going back to nature — and to his indie roots — the director of "George Washington" has reconnected with his poetic side. The Malick comparisons seem appropriate again." | Our TOH! interview with David Gordon Green

Elysium Dir. Neill Blomkamp, USA | Columbia Pictures | Cast: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Diego Luna | 72% FreshChicago Tribune: "With most films, that'd be enough to cut out half the potential American audience. But effective, evocative science fiction, which Elysium is, has a way of getting by with an ILA (Insidious Liberal Agenda) in the guise of worst-case dystopia. | Our TOH! review and interview with Neill Blomkamp

The Good Son: The Life of Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini Dir. Jesse James Miller, USA | SnagFilms | 71% Fresh | Los Angeles Times: "A powerful story of triumph and tragedy — and the infamous moment that encapsulated both — gets a stirring workout in the colorful, absorbing documentary "The Good Son: The Life of Ray 'Boom Boom' Mancini," directed by Jesse James Miler, based on the book by Mark Kriegel."

Lovelace Dir. Jeffrey Friedman, USA | RADiUS-TWC | Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Juno Temple, James Franco | 53 % RottenEntertainment Weekly: "Seyfried works hard for your empathy, with the same naïveté that helped secure Boreman's rep as the ''sexy Raggedy Ann.'' And Sarsgaard is perfect for this role, oozing '70s sleaze in all its mustache-smoothing glory. But even they can't add depth to this sad story." 

We're the Millers Dir. Rawson Marshall Thurber, USA | Warner Bros. | Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Ed Helms, Emma Roberts | 36% RottenThe Hollywood Reporter: " Director Rawson Marshall Thurber adequately manages the mechanics demanded here but adds no finesse or grace notes."

Planes Dir. Klay Hall, USA | Walt Disney Studios Motions Pictures | Cast: Carlos Alazraqui | 21% RottenThe Dissolve: "It’s a pleasant enough expression of a series of familiar story beats, but apart from a few brief action-sequence moments, it could hardly be more rote or vanilla."

This article is related to: Reviews, Reviews, Prince Avalanche, Prince Avalanche, Elysium, Lovelace, Lake Bell


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Thompson on Hollywood

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.