Judging from the Arts section in today’s New York Times, this is the perfect weekend to spend some time outside – or at least check out the restored THE THIRD MAN or Apu Trilogy at Film Forum.
The best reviewed new title is probably Jalmari Helander’s BIG GAME, co-starring Samuel L. Jackson as the President of the United States (some motherf***ing change we can motherf***ing believe in!), which Andy Webster calls an “irresistible fable-thriller.” But aside from some muted compliments of the “good for a debut” or “great performance in a losing effort” variety, it’s pretty slim pickings this pre 4th of July.
The most high profile release is Seth McFarlane’s TED 2, which Manohla Dargis calls a “comedy dead zone” in the first line of her review. (Not to be outdone, the second paragraph calls it “insultingly lazy hack work.”)
Stephen Holden offers tepid praise for Alan Rickman’s A LITTLE CHAOS (“this handsomely mounted costume drama”) and Jay Martin’s debut 7 MINUTES (“a directorial calling card to the Quentin Tarantino school of blood-bath cinema.”) Needless to say, not expecting to see either of those blurbs on the box art.
Matias Pineiro’s THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE, despite a strong festival pedigree (Locarno, Toronto, New York) doesn’t get a lot of love from A.O. Scott. (“Feels flimsy and thin.”) Nor does Boaz Yakin’s MAX (“The kind of story that would fill a decent hour of television.”)
New documentaries don’t fare much better. Jeannette Catsoulis says that BATKID BEGINS “is content to package the phenomenon and coast on its feel-good wave.” And in an otherwise positive review of the Chicago-set A MURDER IN THE PARK, Daniel M. Gold ponders the ethics of the film’s failure to disclose certain piece of information (“the lack of transparency raises questions of its own.”)
Reviews for the other films aren’t exactly making their publicists’s hearts leap. “At once under-written and overconceptualized,” “a story plagued by unconvincing leaps” and – my favorite – “There’s a niche for a polite sex comedy with the soul of a sitcom, but hasn’t been a formula for mass appeal since, maybe, ‘Three’s Company.’”
Unfortunately for New Yorkers, this weekend’s forecast calls for rain. But hey, how about that Apu?