It was supposed to be an indie-tastic week, but then Tom Cruise had to show up.
The Cuban Missile Crisis sets the scene for Ginger & Rosa, the new London-based coming-of-age drama from Sally Potter (The Man Who Cried; Yes). Elle Fanning and Alice Englert respectively star as the titular teenage girls whose ironclad friendship is tested by their separate reactions to potential nuclear war. The impressive supporting cast includes Annette Bening, Christina Hendricks (a.k.a. Joan from Mad Men), Timothy Spall, and Oliver Platt, and though the trailers say “And introducing Alice Englert,” for those who saw Beautiful Creatures in February, that discovery has already occurred. Look for my review on Friday.
Renowned Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami takes his picturesque visuals and ambiguous storytelling to Tokyo for Like Someone In Love. His latest film follows sociology student Akiko (Rin Takanashi), who moonlights as a high-end escort. Her time with elderly professor Takashi (Tadashi Okuno), a client who’s more interested in company than sex, enrages her jealous boyfriend (Ryo Kase) and leads to an intense and revelatory standoff. I didn’t think Kiarostami’s previous film, Certified Copy, was the masterpiece many claimed it to be, though its craftsmanship definitely got me interested in the man’s work. Look for my review on Friday.
The end of Earth has long been a staple of science fiction, but 2013 is turning out to be the year of the apocalyptic film. We’ve already had Warm Bodies and The Host. June brings M. Night Shyamalan’s return to star vehicles with the Will Smith headliner After Earth and will be followed a few weeks later by Brad Pitt’s World War Z. But first, Tom Cruise gets his chance at post-planet heroics with Oblivion, in which he plays a drone repairman charged with extracting vital resources for his space station civilization of fellow Blue Planet refugees. While on one such mission, he rescues a gorgeous woman from a crashed aircraft and in the process uncovers some dark secrets. Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy) directs a cast that also includes Morgan Freeman and Melissa Leo. Otherwise, it looks like a fairly standard Cruise action piece.
Fleeing the Scene
Stoker hung around a good little while and hopefully gave enough viewers the willies. Also, cheers to West of Memphis for lasting more than a week, even if its second stretch was a split screening. Elsewhere, if you absolutely must see G.I. Joe: Retaliation and/or Tyler Perry’s Temptation on the big screen, you have until Thursday evening to do so. Vote with your dollars, people.
Even though it’s wildly overrated and missing the touch of his longtime and sadly deceased editor Sally Menke, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained is still worth a look. Other options are the can’t-escape-your-past martial arts flick Dragon and the wedding/anti-wedding comedy Save the Date, with Mad Men‘s Alison Brie, New Girl‘s Lizzy Caplan, and my main man Martin Starr (a.k.a. Bill Haverchuck from Freaks and Geeks).
On Netflix Instant
The safest streaming bet is ParaNorman, a superb stop motion animated film that’s fun for the whole family. Among its fellow 2012 releases are last year’s mandatory Jason Statham exercise Safe; the latest take on Dangerous Liaisons (which I reviewed for DVD Snapshot); and Blue Like Jazz, said to be one of the better faith-based films. Meanwhile, kicking it old school is that classic tale of imaginary friendship Drop Dead Fred. Can My Boyfriend’s Back be far behind?