Cristian Mungiu's brilliantly slow-to-burn "Beyond the Hills" (which people might start referring to as "the Romanian exorcism movie") opens this weekend, with critics appropriately impressed with the Cannes winner; leads Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan both won Best Actress at the fest last May.
In the land of wide releases, Sam Raimi's overstuffed 3-D buffet "Oz the Great and Powerful" is getting middling reviews (TOH! liked it a tad better than the majority). Stylishly twisty Euro-pudding thriller "Dead Man Down," the first English-language film by "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" director Niels Arden Oplev, isn't getting much critical love, even though it's charmingly unpredictable thanks to a pleasing cast led by original Lisbeth Salander Noomi Rapace, Colin Farrell and Isabelle Huppert.
"Electrick Children," Rebecca Thomas' coming-of-age tale about a devoutly religious girl who believes rock music has impregnated her, is getting good reviews, while World War II drama "Emperor," starring Matthew Fox and Tommy Lee Jones as U.S. generals dealing with Japan, is not.
Oz the Great and Powerful Dir. Sam Raimi, USA | Disney | Cast: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Zach Brach, Joey King | 57% Rotten | Chicago Sun-Times: "Some of the surprises in Oz the Great and Powerful, the much-anticipated "Wizard of Oz" origins movie, are delightful. Others, however, sink the movie just below the point of recommendation, with the primary drawback falling on the lovely shoulders of Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis, as early versions of Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West, respectively." | Our VFX feature and TOH! review
Dead Man Down Dir. Niels Arden Oplev, USA | FilmDistrict | Cast: Noomi Rapace, Colin Farrell, Isabelle Huppert, Dominic Cooper, Terrence Howard | 41% Rotten | Los Angeles Times: "With so many twists, the movie feels like it's trying too hard. Some moments are cleverly constructed; and others seem as if the filmmakers have left themselves no plausible escape." | Our TOH! interview with Noomi Rapace
Emperor Dir. Peter Webber, USA | Lionsgate | Cast: Matthew Fox, Tommy Lee Jones, Eriko Hatsune | 32% Rotten | New York Post: "“Let’s show ’em some good old-fashioned American swagger,’’
MacArthur says on his arrival in Tokyo. It’s too bad director Webber and the
screenwriters, David Klass and Vera Blasi, didn’t take his advice to heart
instead of largely wasting Jones and some very nice period details."