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Weekend Preview: 'Dictator,' 'Polisse,' Pregnant Movie Stars & Vibrators

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood May 17, 2012 at 4:05PM

"The Dictator" rules with provocateur Sacha Baron Cohen, and here's what you'll get from "What To Expect When You're Expecting": easy laughs, strategically placed music and one-dimensional characters. Jennifer Lopez is the soul of the movie (if there is one), Chace Crawford is the eye candy and Elizabeth Banks is the lovable mess. The rest are forgettable. You'd think a movie about the creation of vibrators, "Hysteria," would be hilarious, sexy and frank. Instead, it's lands between dull and creepy (even if it is the tame vibrator comedy you could watch with your mother). Per usual, the real gems arriving this weekend are foreign: "Polisse," "Beyond the Black Rainbow" and "Elena" - Criticwire's pick of the week. There's also "Animerican Animal," "Viriginia" and "Battleship." Details and trailers below:
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"Polisse."
"Polisse."

"The Dictator" rules with provocateur Sacha Baron Cohen, and here's what you'll get from "What To Expect When You're Expecting": easy laughs, strategically placed music and one-dimensional characters. Jennifer Lopez is the soul of the movie (if there is one), Chace Crawford is the eye candy and Elizabeth Banks is the lovable mess. The rest are forgettable. You'd think a movie about the creation of vibrators, "Hysteria," would be hilarious, sexy and frank. Instead, it's lands between dull and creepy (even if it is the tame vibrator comedy you could watch with your mother). Per usual, the real gems arriving this weekend are foreign: "Polisse," "Beyond the Black Rainbow" and "Elena" - Criticwire's pick of the week. There's also "Animerican Animal," "Viriginia" and "Battleship." Details and trailers below:

"What To Expect When You're Expecting" Lionsgate, US | Dir: Kirk Jones; Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Brooklyn Decker, Chace Crawford, Ben Falcone, Matthew Morrison, Dennis Quaid, Chris Rock, Rodrigo Santoro | 27% Rotten | Arizona Republic: "Some of the pregnancies are played for laughs, others are depicted more melodramatically. It's a mishmash of mediocrity."

"The Dictator" Paramount, US | Dir: Larry Charles; Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, Anna Feris, John C. Reilly, Megan Fox | 66% Fresh | Indiewire calls it Bitingly Funny | Rolling Stone: Rolling Stone: "starts at outrageous and rockets on from there."

"Polisse" Sundance Selects, FR | Dir: Maïwenn; Cast: Maïwenn, Karin Viard, JoeyStarr, Marina Foïs, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Emmanuelle Bercot, Naidra Ayadi, Frédéric Pierrot | toh! exclusive clip | toh! Review | 83% Fresh | Variety: "As in her previous efforts, Maiwenn coaxes terrific, naturalistic performances from her ensemble without eschewing the extreme emotional highs and lows that could have led to more caricatured turns."

"Hysteria" Sony Pictures Classics, UK/FR/GER/LUX | Dir: Tanya Wexler; Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Felicity Jones, Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett | Caryn James is a fan | 47% Rotten | The New Yorker: "Hopelessly antiquated."

"American Animal" Screen Media Films, US | Dir: Matt D'Elia; Cast: Matt D'Elia, Brendan Fletcher, Mircea Monroe, Angela Sarafyan | Indiewire Meets the Filmmaker | 91% Fresh | Wall Street Journal: "Personal filmmaking with ambition to burn."

"Virginia" Entertainment One, US | Dir: Dustin Lance Black; Cast: Jennifer Connolly, Ed Harris, Emma Roberts, Tobey Jones | 0% Rotten | What Black Really Thinks of His First Cut | Variety: "A scattershot Southern melodrama that can't decide what it's supposed to be."

"Beyond the Black Rainbow" Magnet Releasing, CAN | Dir: Panos Cosmatos; Cast: Michael Rogers, Eva Allen, Scott Hylands, Marilyn Norry | Tomatometer | An Interview with Cosmatos | A Reagan-Era Mindtrip | Slant: "Something like a trippy grindhouse homage whose familiar images are refracted through a prism of blacklight posters, Jodorowsky films, and even Rob Zombie's grungy psychotropic sensibility."

"Elena" Zeitgeist, RUS | Dir: Andrei Zvyagintsev; Cast: Yelena Lyadova, Nadezhda Markina | 100% Fresh | ThePlaylist hails it as a Dramatic Masterwork | New York Times: "a moral vacuum where money rules, the haves are contemptuous of the have-nots, and class resentment simmers."
 

This article is related to: Box Office, Features, Reviews, Weekend Preview, Genres, Reviews, Polisse, Hysteria, Beyond The Black Rainbow, Elena, Trailers


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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.