Very few new-release films are sitting positively with critics this weekend. But -- Tomatometer be damned -- Hannah Fidell's indie "A Teacher" is nonetheless a must-see, anchored by a startlingly complex performance from Lindsay Burdge as a high school teacher whose illicit affair with one of her students spirals into obsession.
Candy-colored Weinstein Company film "Populaire," starring Deborah Francois, Romain Duris and Berenice Bejo, centers on the world of 1950s competitive typing, and is sitting with generally solid reviews from critics.
All the hotness in "Adore" (Robin Wright, Naomi Watts and Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville as the women's hunky sons) can't bring reviewers around to the title, directed by Anne Fontaine; Time Out New York writes that one "can barely stifle a laugh" through the film, which probably isn't what the sexual thriller is going for.
Thriller-doc "Salinger," on the enigmatic author of "The Catcher in the Rye," is taking some heat also, for its unnecessarily long running time and, per TOH!, "ham-fisted reenactments... and overly dramatic score."
Lynn Shelton's 2013 Sundance entry "Touchy Feely," starring Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney, Ellen Page and Scoot McNairy, centers on the world of therapeutic massage. It's not a hit with critics either.
Finally, Vin Diesel steps outside his "Fast and Furious" wheelhouse for another installment in the "Riddick" franchise, which is sitting with middling reviews.
Populaire Dir. Regis Roinsard, France | Weinstein Company | Cast: Deborah Francois, Berenice Bejo, Romain Duris | 71% Fresh | Slant Magazine: "Candy-colored to a potentially cavity-causing degree, the film is a bubbly regurgitation of retrograde romantic comedy tropes and reactionary sexual politics."
Riddick Dir. David Twohy, USA | Universal | Cast: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Katee Sakhoff, Jordi Molla | 59% Rotten | Village Voice: "The only reason to root for Riddick is that his name is on the ticket stub. But he's so dull and the hunters so weird that we're literally cheering for the movie to kill off its personality, one throat slash at a time."
Adore Dir. Anne Fontaine, Australia | Exclusive Releasing | Cast: Robin Wright, Naomi Watts, Xavier Samuel, Ben Mendelsohn, James Frecheville | 44% Rotten | Time Out New York: "You can barely stifle a laugh, and the way Wright and Watts deliver rote, morally searching dialogue with deer-in-the-headlights stoicism (“We’ve crossed a line,” Lil blankly notes) doesn’t help matters."
A Teacher Dir. Hannah Fidell, USA | Oscilloscope | 38% Rotten | Cast: Lindsay Burdge, Will Brittain | The Hollywood Reporter: "What makes the film work is that this potentially lurid material is treated at all times with sensitivity and probing psychological seriousness."
Salinger Dir. Shane Salerno, USA | Weinstein Company | 33% Rotten | Entertainment Weekly: "At two hours and nine minutes, Salinger is at least 40 minutes too long, suffering, just like the book, from its creators' obsessive zeal. Only here, you can't page ahead to the next chapter." | Our TOH! review
Touchy Feely Dir. Lynn Shelton, USA | Magnolia Pictures | 33% Rotten | Cast: Rosemarie DeWitt, Scott McNairy, Ellen Page | Variety: "Trading her improv-based filmmaking style for a more traditional screenplay-grounded model, Lynn Shelton delivers an uneven mix of half-formed conflicts." | Our TOH! video interview with Lynn Shelton and Rosemarie DeWitt