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Weekend Preview: Michael Bay's Latest a 'Pain'-Filled Experience; Jeff Nichols' 'Mud' Captivates Critics; Skip 'The Big Wedding'

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio | Thompson on Hollywood April 25, 2013 at 3:42PM

Fans of Michael Bay and his cast of beefy cohorts will likely flock to dumb male comedy "Pain & Gain," a soulless, "low-budget" exercise in machismo that has appalled critics. Those looking for lighter fare might seek solace in "The Big Wedding," which has earned universal pans despite its top-drawer cast. They are better off RSVPing to another event, such as "Take Shelter" director Jeff Nichols' southern drama "Mud," which premiered at Cannes, starring Matthew McConaughey, or the Oscar-nominated maritime doc "Kon Tiki," which traces a Norwegian's journey in 1947 across the Pacific Ocean in a balsa wood raft.

This article is related to: Pain & Gain, Michael Bay, Kon-Tiki, Jeff Nichols, Mud, Mira Nair, Arthur Newman

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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.