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Weekend Preview: Madea, RPattz, Witherspoon & Elephants, Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Incendies

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage and Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 22, 2011 at 7:15AM

Tyler Perry fans and Robert Pattinson shriekers can flock to theaters this weekend. In the meantime, check out a variety of alternatives from the indiesphere.
Thompson on Hollywood

Tyler Perry fans and Robert Pattinson shriekers can flock to theaters this weekend. In the meantime, check out a variety of alternatives from the indiesphere.

Morgan Spurlock's provocative doc on product placement and movie marketing The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is eye-opening and entertaining (here's our interview). Tribeca Fest day-and-date title The Bang Bang Club is all too timely, given the recent death in Libya of photojournalist Tim Hetherington. It's based on a real group of adrenaline-junkie war zone photographers. Indie actioner Stake Land satisfies any zombie cravings, while Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen delivers martial arts action as well as striking images. And be warned: Denis Villeneuve's foreign language Oscar nominee Incendies, based on a Wadji Mouawad's fictional play, may elicit strong feelings (from disgust to rage), but its gorgeous opening shot alone is worth the trip to the theatre.

Details, images, reviews and trailers are below.

Water for Elephants, Twentieth Century Fox | Dir: Francis Lawrence; Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Christoph Waltz | 48% Tomatometer, 52% Metacritic, Caryn James's Review.

Madea's Big Happy Family, Lionsgate | Dir: Tyler Perry; Cast: Tyler Perry, Loretta Devine, Cassi Davis, Shannon Kane, Isaiah Mustafa | 33% Tomatometer.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Sony Pictures Classics (Doc) | Dir: Morgan Spurlock | 73% Tomatometer, B- indieWIRE, 70% Metacritic.

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Sony Pictures Classics (Canada/France) | Dir: Denis Villeneuve; Cast: Allen Altman, Yousef Shweihat, Bader Alami, Karim Babin | B+ indieWIRE, 83% Metacritic, 91% Tomatometer, ThePlaylist Review.

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The Bang Bang Club

Tribeca Film (Canada/South Africa) | Dir: Steven Silver; Cast: Ryan Phillippe, Malin Akerman, Taylor Kitsch, Neels Van Jaarsveld, Frank Rautenbach | B- indieWIRE, Caryn James's Review: "With powerful immediacy, and an eerie resonance with today’s headlines, The Bang Bang Club takes us into the dangerous world of combat photography. Set in South Africa in 1994, the drama is based on the real lives of four men who photographed the violence just before that country’s first non-apartheid election..."

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Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

(Hong Kong) | Dir: Andrew Lau; Cast: Donnie Yen, Shu Qi, Anthony Wong, Huang Bo | B- indieWIRE, 43% Tomatometer, 48% Metacritic.

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Stake Land

IFC Midnight | Dir: Jim Mickle; Cast: Connor Paolo, Nick Damici, Kelly McGillis | B+ indieWIRE, 75% Tomatometer, Spout Review.

Among Women and Hollywood's listings (*our recommendations):

Women's Films Now Playing 
Soul Surfer (co-written by Deborah Schwartz)
Miral (written by Rula Jebreal)
I Will Follow (written and directed by Ava Duvernay)
Jane Eyre* (written by Moira Buffini)

Women Directed Films Opening
The Arbor (directed by Clio Barnard; Doc, April 27)

Women Directed Films Currently Playing
Meek's Cutoff* (Kelly Reichardt)
Blank City (Celine Danhier)
In a Better World* (Susanne Bier)
Queen to Play (Caroline Bottaro)
My Perestroika (Robin Hessman)
Waste Land* (Lucy Walker)
Even the Rain (by Iciar Bollian)

Women Written Films Now Playing
Limitless (Leslie Dixon)
The Music Never Stops (Gwyn Laurie) 
Mars Needs Moms (Wendy Wells)
Take Me Home Tonight (Jackie and Jeff Filgo)
No Strings Attached (Elizabeth Meriwether)


Medea's Big Happy Family trailer

This article is related to: Box Office, Directors, Franchises, Genres, Headliners, Independents, Video, Reviews, Weekend Preview, Media, Marketing, Spring, Rob Pattinson, Trailers

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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.