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Weekend Preview: Julia Loktev's Psychological Slow Burner 'The Loneliest Planet,' An Ambitious but Flawed 'Cloud Atlas'

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood October 26, 2012 at 12:09PM

While "Cloud Atlas" gets all the attention this weekend (good and bad), several other films are worth checking out for those not interesting in spending nearly three hours watching movie stars play multiple parts (races, genders, etc) to a mostly unsatisfying conclusion. While ambitious and epic, "Cloud Atlas" offers few characters with emotional impact: Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw and Jim Broadbent are stand-outs.
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The Loneliest Planet
'The Loneliest Planet'

While "Cloud Atlas" gets all the attention this weekend (good and bad), several other films are worth checking out for those not interesting in spending nearly three hours watching movie stars play multiple parts (races, genders, etc) to a mostly unsatisfying conclusion. While ambitious and epic, "Cloud Atlas" offers few characters with emotional impact: Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw and Jim Broadbent are stand-outs.

On the other hand, Gotham nominee Julia Loktev's "The Loneliest Planet," one of the best-reviewed films arriving in theaters, is visually and thematically thrilling, complete with the mystery and nuance that is absent from many indie and studio releases. It also features one of the most memorable opening shots in years. Also arriving is Deepa Mehta's poorly-reviewed "Midnight's Children," Scott Thurman's political education doc "The Revisionaries," France's "The Other Son," "The Black Tulip" from Afghanistan, Michael Apted's "Chasing Mavericks" and Luis Prieto's remake of "Pusher." Reviews, trailer and more details below:

"The Revisionaries" Kino Lorber, US | DIR: Scott Thurman | 86% Fresh | "Fascinating" | Indiewire Interviews Thurman | Slant: "Scott Thurman captures not only the fear and anti-intellectual resentment and insecurity that govern the dictations of the far right, but also the rampant unchecked egotism."

Doona Bae in 'Cloud Atlas'
Doona Bae in 'Cloud Atlas'

"The Loneliest Planet" IFC, US/GER | DIR: Julia Loktev CAST: Gael García Bernal, Hani Furstenberg , Bidzina Gujabidze | 84% Fresh | Indiewire Interviews Furstenberg | ThePlaylist says "is the kind of film that works best if you know little to absolutely nothing about it going in." | EW: "Every scene shift contributes vital information about what it means to guide or be guided over foreign territory, both emotional and physical."

"Cloud Atlas" Warner Bros. US/GER/SING/HK | DIR: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski CAST: Tom Hanks, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Hugo Weaving, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess, Hugh Grant, Keith David, James D'Arcy | 65% Fresh | TOH Review: And Now For Something Completely Different | ThePlaylist's 5 Movies that Paved the Way for "Cloud Atlas" which they declare "Disappointingly Unimaginative" | NY Daily News: "For all its strengths, the film is cursed by an ADD-style structure and a flashy but inevitably ineffective casting stunt."

"The Other Son" Cohen Media Group, FR | DIR: Lorraine Levy CAST: Emmanuelle Devos, Pascal Elbé, Jules Sitruk, Khalifa Natour, Bruno Podalydès | 60% Fresh | THR: "Moving French drama tackles the Israeli-Palestinian conflict via a pair of prodigal sons accidentally switched at birth."

"Chasing Mavericks" Twentieth C. Fox, US | DIR: Michael Apted CAST: Gerard Butler, Jonny Weston, Elisabeth Shue, Abigail Spencer | 57% Rotten | ThePlaylist on the Alterna-Heavy soundtrack | Newsday: "[It] invents minor conflicts but avoids major problems, coming off less like a biographical drama than a visit from a guest lecturer during Sunday school."

"Pusher" RADiUS-TWC, UK | DIR: Luis Prieto CAST: Richard Coyle, Agyness Deyn, Neil Maskell, Paul Kaye | 55% Rotten | TOH Review: "a stylish but perfunctory copy of his predecessor." | Village Voice: "Pusher faithfully mimics Nicolas Winding Refn's 1996 Danish crime saga while missing its nasty, grungy spirit."

"The Black Tulip" SnagFilms, AFGH/USA | DIR: Sonia Nassery Cole CAST: Haji Gul Aser, Sonia Nassery Cole, Walid Amini, Somajia Razaya, Hosna Tanha, Basir Mujaheed, Shafi Sahel, Payenda Joyenda, Sadaf Yarmal, Sayed Rahim Sayeed | 38% Rotten | Watch on VOD | NY Observer: "You will not go away unmoved. See it, and learn something."

"Midnight's Children" Paladin, CAN/UK | DIR: Deepa Mehta CAST: Rahul Bose, Shriya Saran , Ronit Roy, Satya Bhabha | 20% Rotten | Women and Hollywood interviews Mehta | Indiewire's Revew | Daily Telegraph: "Feels like sumptuously-illustrated Cliffs Notes rather than fluid cinema."
 

This article is related to: Weekend Preview, Box Office, Reviews, Reviews, Cloud Atlas, The Loneliest Planet


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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.