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Weekend Preview: Jolie's 'Blood and Honey,' 'Once Upon A Time in Anatolia' & 'Norwegian Wood'

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood January 6, 2012 at 1:27PM

There's no shortage of quality films at the box office. "In The Land of Blood & Honey," "Once Upon A Time In Anatolia" and "Norwegian Wood" are each worth the trip to theaters. Enjoy the plentiful box office while you can...
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"In the Land of Blood and Honey"
"In the Land of Blood and Honey"

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."

"Once Upon A Time In Anatolia" | "Norwegian Wood"
"Once Upon A Time In Anatolia" | "Norwegian Wood"

This article is related to: Box Office, Genres, Directors, Reviews, Trailers, Critics, Foreign


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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.