Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Ranking the 5 Best Editing Oscar Nominees Ranking the 5 Best Editing Oscar Nominees Kristen Stewart Is First American Actress Nominated for César Awards in 30 Years; 'Saint Laurent' Leads with Ten Kristen Stewart Is First American Actress Nominated for César Awards in 30 Years; 'Saint Laurent' Leads with Ten How They Sustained the Times Square Momentum in 'Birdman' VIDEO How They Sustained the Times Square Momentum in 'Birdman' VIDEO 6 Things to Know About Sexy Sundance Breakout 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' Part of Sundance's Women's New Wave 6 Things to Know About Sexy Sundance Breakout 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' Part of Sundance's Women's New Wave Sundance Raves About Ewan McGregor as Jesus and the Devil in 'Last Days in the Desert' Sundance Raves About Ewan McGregor as Jesus and the Devil in 'Last Days in the Desert' Oscar Loves Diseases and Disorders: 6 Contenders and the Hard Truths They Don't (or Do) Ignore Oscar Loves Diseases and Disorders: 6 Contenders and the Hard Truths They Don't (or Do) Ignore Watch: Jason Segel on Playing David Foster Wallace in Sundance's 'End of the Tour' (Exclusive Interview) Watch: Jason Segel on Playing David Foster Wallace in Sundance's 'End of the Tour' (Exclusive Interview) Filmmakers, Give Us Your Numbers! Sundance and Cinereach Unveil The Transparency Project Filmmakers, Give Us Your Numbers! Sundance and Cinereach Unveil The Transparency Project Sundance Market Explodes with 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' and 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' Sundance Market Explodes with 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' and 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' Screen Actors Guild Awards: 'Birdman' Takes Ensemble, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne Win Leads Screen Actors Guild Awards: 'Birdman' Takes Ensemble, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne Win Leads Top Ten Takeaways: Polarizing 'American Sniper' Speeds Past $200 Million; Lopez Trounces Depp Top Ten Takeaways: Polarizing 'American Sniper' Speeds Past $200 Million; Lopez Trounces Depp Arthouse Audit: Panic Time? 'Mommy,' 'Red Army,' 'Black Sea,' 'Cake,' 'Duke of Burgundy' All Disappoint Arthouse Audit: Panic Time? 'Mommy,' 'Red Army,' 'Black Sea,' 'Cake,' 'Duke of Burgundy' All Disappoint 2015 PGA Winners: 'Birdman' Steals 'Boyhood''s Awards Season Thunder 2015 PGA Winners: 'Birdman' Steals 'Boyhood''s Awards Season Thunder Watch: Nicole Kidman Talks 'Strangerland' at Sundance (Exclusive Video Interview) Watch: Nicole Kidman Talks 'Strangerland' at Sundance (Exclusive Video Interview) Sundance Acquisitions Market Heats Up with 'The Bronze' and 
'The Witch' Sundance Acquisitions Market Heats Up with 'The Bronze' and 'The Witch' Sundance: 5 Things to Expect From Alex Gibney's Damning Scientology Doc 'Going Clear' Sundance: 5 Things to Expect From Alex Gibney's Damning Scientology Doc 'Going Clear' Watch: Meet the Women of 'Birdman' (Exclusive 4-Minute Featurette) Watch: Meet the Women of 'Birdman' (Exclusive 4-Minute Featurette) Watch: Hitchcock's Thwarted Holocaust Documentary Comes to HBO Watch: Hitchcock's Thwarted Holocaust Documentary Comes to HBO Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED Oscar Predictions 2015 Oscar Predictions 2015

This Weekend: See Gibney's 'The Armstrong Lie,' Miyazaki's 'The Wind Rises,' and Marvel's Fun 'Thor: The Dark World' (TRAILERS)

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood November 7, 2013 at 4:03PM

This weekend movie-goers can take their pick from a shrewd documentary about Lance Armstrong's fall from grace ("The Armstrong Lie"), an enjoyable turn-your-brain-off Marvel entry about a hot guy with a hammer ("Thor: The Dark World"), or an animated drama from one of the greats of the medium, Hayao Miyazaki ("The Wind Rises").
0
"The Wind Rises"
"The Wind Rises"

This weekend movie-goers can take their pick from a shrewd documentary about Lance Armstrong's fall from grace ("The Armstrong Lie"), an enjoyable turn-your-brain-off Marvel entry about a hot guy with a hammer ("Thor: The Dark World"), or an animated drama from one of the greats of the medium, Hayao Miyazaki ("The Wind Rises").

"The Armstrong Lie"
"The Armstrong Lie"

Also opening is documentary legend Frederick Wiseman's "At Berkeley," a four-hour meditation on the California university. That film is the critical winner of the weekend, sitting with the strongest reviews.

Alex Gibney's "The Armstrong Lie" takes us from the Tour de France titan's comeback year in 2009 to the doping scandal that ended his career and stripped him of his medals. Gibney, originally brought on to make a more uplifting film about the comeback, has made a documentary that intelligently looks at the many facets of Armstrong's personality before and after the scandal -- his determination, his ruthlessness, his brilliant ability for storytelling and self-branding, his charity work, his bullying of opponents -- without succumbing to easy answers.

"Thor: The Dark World" lags in its first half, with needless Asgard backstory and unfunny earth-bound comic relief, but starts humming and hammering along in its second half, thanks to well-choreographed action sequences (one involving universe jumping) and the outsized charms of stars Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston.

Studio Ghibli's "The Wind Rises," an historical true story of the brilliant designer behind the Zero fighter plane that wrecked havoc in World War II, is possibly the last film from Hayao Miyazaki, the Walt Disney of Japan, who won the animated Oscar for "Spirited Away." A must-see for animation buffs and Miyazaki fans, this film is far more adult than most of Miyazaki's family-friendly features. 

Fox's Oscar hopeful "The Book Thief" is sitting with modestly positive if not spectacular reviews. The film, starring Geoffrey Rush, Sophie Nelisse and Emily Watson, is adapted from the novel of the same title and set in a small town in Nazi Germany, where a young girl pushes back against the powers-that-be by spiriting away books meant to be burned. Her foster family meanwhile harbors a Jewish hideaway.

At Berkeley Dir. Frederick Wiseman, USA | Zipporah Films | 100% Fresh | Hollywood Reporter: "At times fascinating, at times not, its in-depth look at the administration, campus, students and faculty offers an insider's view into the way American academia functions."

Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World"
Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: The Dark World"

The Armstrong Lie Dir. Alex Gibney, USA | Sony Pictures Classics | Cast: Lance Armstrong, David Walsh, Frankie Andreu, Michele Ferrari | 89% FreshVariety: "Director Alex Gibney delivers not just a detailed, full-access account of his subject, in all his defiance, hubris and tentative self-reckoning, but also a layered inquiry into the culture of competitiveness, celebrity, moral relativism and hypocrisy that helped enable and sustain his deception." | Our TOH! interview with Gibney | Our TOH! behind-the-scenes look at Gibney's Jigsaw Productions

The Wind Rises Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, Japan | Disney | 79% Fresh | Indiewire: "The grim subtext of The Wind Rises goes largely unacknowledged, leading to a gaping hole in this otherwise beautifully realized narrative that celebrates the power of curiosity as a motivating force."

Thor: The Dark World Dir. Alan Taylor, USA | Marvel | Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, Stellen Skarsgard, Kat Dennings | 70% FreshTime Out London: "This is a deeply silly, extremely noisy and sometimes impenetrable action movie that’s drowning in CGI, wild overacting and mullets. And it’s enormously entertaining."

The Book Thief Dir. Brian Percival, UK | Fox | Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nelisse | 69% FreshFilm.com: "An embarrassing gut-punch of unfiltered schmaltz, but its sympathy for the devil-style humanism is well-meaning." | Our TOH! review and backstory.

This article is related to: Reviews, Reviews, The Wind Rises, The Armstrong Lie, Thor: The Dark World, The Book Thief


E-Mail Updates