By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood January 6, 2012 at 1:27PM
At this time of year there's no shortage of quality films in theaters. There are Oscar contenders (Steven Spielberg's "War Horse"), dark adaptations (David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo") and straight-up fun ("Mission: Impossibe - Ghost Protocol"). But you can also check out smaller films opening this weekend: "In The Land of Blood & Honey," "Once Upon A Time In Anatolia" and "Norwegian Wood" are all worth a trip to the big screen. Enjoy the plentiful offerings while you can. You can also catch-up with such knock-out indies as Iran's frequent prize-winner "A Separation," 3-D dance documentary "Pina" or fest favorite "Pariah."
Reviews, details and trailers below:
"Norwegian Wood" Red Flag, JAPAN | Dir: Anh Hung Tran; Cast: Rinko Kikuchi, Ken'ichi Matsuyama, Tetsuji Tamayama, Kiko Mizuhara, Kengo Kara | 73% Tomatometer | Indiewire: "While the novel exists in Matsumoto's headspace, the movie externalizes his point of view by its very nature. His voiceover mainly fleshes out the plot with a few introspective lines cribbed from the source material, seemingly paying ode to Murakami instead of realizing his vision. Admittedly lovely and heartfelt, 'Norwegian Wood' is also hollow." | New York Daily News: "Tran seems to realize that the best a filmmaker can do under these circumstances may be to substitute visual for linguistic beauty. And he has created stunning tableaux, before which the saddest of stories unfolds."
"In The Land of Blood and Honey" FilmDistrict, USA | Dir: Angelina Jolie; Cast: Nikola Djuricko, Rade Serbedzija | 49% Tomatometer | ThePlaylist: "Jolie tells a compelling, tragic story, framed inside of an unlikely romance, and pulls it off without pulling any punches,..It will probably be too brutal for most to stomach, but those that do will witness an assured screen debut from a woman who clearly has more than just on-screen talents." | New York Times: "[It] introduces the idea that war is very much about the violent domination of women and not just about nation-states, ethnic conflicts, historical grudges and men killing men,..[For the most part] it moves briskly and easily holds your attention, largely through a perverse love story that doesn’t suffer for being such an obvious metaphor for the larger battle raging beyond Ajla and Danijel’s relationship."
"Once Upon A Time in Anatolia" Cinema Guild, TUR/B&H | Dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylan; Cast: Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan, Taner Birsel, Ahmet Mumtaz Taylan, Firat Tanis | 94% Tomatometer | Star-Ledger: "There is very little overt drama. The camera waits, and watches, like a vulture." | Salon: "A subtle, gorgeous and mysterious allegory that may be Ceylan's masterwork to date."