Baz Lurhmann behind the camera. Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby. Carrie Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan. Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway. Jay-Z in charge of the soundtrack. The Great Gatsby in 3D. See you at the Carolina on Friday.
Gilles Bourdos’ Renoir is as much about the famous painter as it is about his budding filmmaker son Jean (The Rules of the Game; Grand Illusion). Set on the beautiful French Rivera during the summer of 1915, the film examines the impact of attractive model Andrée (Christa Theret) on the old artist (Michel Bouquet, Javert in the 1982 Les Miserables) and his eldest child (Vincent Rottiers), the latter of whom is home recovering from a war wound. Think of it as a cousin of Girl with a Pearl Earring, but with a ton of tasteful nudity, and look for my review on Friday.
From Germany comes Lore, Cate Shortland’s look at the country in the aftermath of Hitler’s death. After her Nazi parents are imprisoned, the eponymous young woman (newcomer Saskia Rosendahl) must lead her two siblings to safety at the far-off home of her grandmother. Along the way, Lore’s quest is aided by concentration camp escapee Thomas (The White Ribbon‘s Kai Malina), whose kindness challenges her ingrained hatred of Jews. Critical response has been generally high and the film shared the Outstanding Feature Film prize at this year’s German Film Awards. Look for my review on Friday.
Our wired society and the various pitfalls of online life take center stage in Disconnect, the debut narrative feature from Murderball director Henry Alex Rubin. The film looks at four seemingly unlinked stories that collide via technology and seems poised to wag a giant finger at modern behavior. While the cast has its appeals (Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘s Michael Nyqvist, Paula Patton, and Alexander Skarsgard), the trailer depicts the film as preachy and predictable. Perhaps the clips are misleading and a wealth of surprises await?
The lone mainstream film to challenge Gatsby this weekend is Peeples, the debut from Drumline and ATL writer Tina Gordon Chism. In it, Wade Walker (The Office‘s Craig Robinson) wants to marry the lovely Grace Peeples (Kerry Washington), but first he must get approval from her protective parents Daphne (Lincoln‘s S. Epatha Merkerson) and Virgil (David Alan Grier)…plus contend with hoards of her relatives who’ve gathered at the Hamptons for their annual reunion. To confuse matters, Melvin Van Peebles shows up as Grandpa Peeples…and yes, that sound you just heard is the Internet imploding. Beware: the film’s superscript is “Tyler Perry Presents,” meaning he produced but (hopefully) didn’t have a hand in the content.
Fleeing the Scene
Last week’s Iron Man 3 “rivals” Beyond the Hills and Room 237 didn’t do so well, even though both make the superhero flick look like the steaming cow pie that it is. Speaking of fecal matter, The Big Wedding is also scheduled to be flushed on Thursday evening.
The superstar choice is Upstream Color, Shane Carruth’s follow-up to his enigmatic time travel film Primer. I watched the Sundance darling within minutes of its delivery on Monday and seriously debated canceling my plans to watch it again. It’s certainly not for everyone, but I found it spectacular.
Also out is the decent Jessica Chastain scare-fest Mama, Tom Cruise beating people up in Jack Reacher, and the 26-chapter horror anthology The ABCs of Death. On an entirely different plane, continuing the horror anthology that is Nicholas Sparks adaptations is Safe Haven, whose bat guano ending may or may not be worthy of your time.
On Netflix Instant
Three excellent options for you this week: John Dies at the End (one of my favorite films of the year so far), The Cabin in the Woods (an honorable mention from last year), and The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (an honorable mention from 2001).