A number of appealing cinematic treats open this weekend. Derek Cianfrance's crime saga "The Place Beyond the Pines," starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes, is receiving solid critical praise, while Rodney Ascher's documentary "Room 237," examining the wonkiest wonks' theories about Kubrick's "The Shining," is being roundly lauded (TOH! has a love-hate relationship with the film).
Spanish Oscar entry "Blancanieves," which satisfies both the recent silent film trend and the waning fairytale revisionism, is also loved by critics. Quentin Dupieux's surrealist stab "Wrong" is pleasing most reviewers, while TOH! asks thusly of the film's quirks: "Should we care?"
Meanwhile latest Stephenie Meyer entry "The Host," starring Saoirse Ronan vs. a body-snatching dystopia, isn't depressing critics, and brawny potential blockbuster "GI Joe Retaliation" is receiving an indifferent shrug.
Room 237 Dir. Rodney Ascher, USA | IFC Midnight | Cast: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cox, Juli Kearns, Jay Weidner, John Fell Ryan | 95% Fresh | Entertainment Weekly: "'Room 237' makes perfect sense of "The Shining" because, even more than "The Shining" itself, it places you right inside the logic of how an insane person thinks." | Our TOH! review
Blancanieves Dir. Pablo Berger, Spain | Cohen Media Group | Cast: Maribel Verdu, Sofia Oria, Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Angela Molina | 86% Fresh | A.V. Club: "Berger also shows a dark wit and a faith in old-fashioned melodrama that puts Blancanieves more in the camp of Pedro Almodóvar than Guy Maddin’s golden-age pastiches. (And aside from being silent and a period piece, the movie has almost nothing in common with 'The Artist.')"
Wrong Dir. Quentin Dupieux, USA | Drafthouse Films | Cast: Jack Plotnick, Eric Judor, Alexis Dziena | 78% Fresh | Village Voice: "The film's heady buzz is invigorating, and there are substantial pleasures—and laughs—to be found in all its real-life-just-gone-sour strangeness." | Our TOH! review
The Place Beyond the Pines Dir. Derek Cianfrance, USA | Focus Features | Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes | 74% Fresh | Salon: "I never stopped being interested in The Place Beyond the Pines, and never stopped rooting for Cianfrance to make the hubristic ambition of his immense tripartite scheme pay off, even as it evidently falls apart." | Clip and images from the film
GI Joe Retaliation Dir. Jon Chu, USA | Paramount | Cast: Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis | 34% Rotten | Chicago Tribune: "The directive behind this sequel, clearly, was non-stop action. Let's think about that phrase a second. Do we really want our action movies to deliver action that does not stop? Ever? I get a little tired of action sequences that won't stop."
The Host Dir. Andrew Niccol, USA | Open Road Films | Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Jake Abel, William Hurt, Diane Kruger | 10% Rotten | Miami Herald: "An invasion of the body snatchers is preferable to realizing that the true horror perpetrated here is not on the characters but on the audience."