On the heels of an unpleasant week for indie and mainstream titles comes one with a good deal more potential. Art-wise, I can safely recommend Words and Pictures, starring Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche an English and art teacher, respectively, who challenge one another to see whose medium is more powerful. Corny as that sounds (and there are a few unfortunate speeches, the likes of which one expects in such a film), the two leads more than overcome the material’s limitations.
Not nearly as wonderful is Night Moves, in which ecoterrorists Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard plot to blow up an Oregon dam. The film is the first dud I’ve seen from director Kelly Reichardt (Meek’s Cutoff; Wendy and Lucy), but looking at what else is coming out this week, there’s a good chance the bleeding stops there.
A pair of sequels and Friday the 13th would seem like a perfect match in luck hell, but in a bizarre twist, both of these Part Twos happen to follow up excellent franchise starters. I’m most excited for 22 Jump Street and more hilariously witty antics from Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, but How to Train Your Dragon 2 isn’t that far behind. I didn’t go nearly as gaga for its processor as many viewers, but it’s easily one of the best non Pixar animated features of the modern era and the addition of Cate Blanchett’s voice for the second act appears to bode well.
Fleeing the Scene
Zac Efron moves out of the frat house, the giant lizard goes back to the sea, the lady up the street calls the cops on those damn teenagers, and the Good Taste police do their thing as Neighbors, Godzilla, Palo Alto, and Blended bid adieu. It’s also most likely the final week to catch two of the best films of 2014 thus far, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Cold in July, at the Carolina. Prioritize accordingly, my friends.
If you like action movies, and I’ll bet one or two of you do, give Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Non-Stop a look. On the indie front there’s the superb Palestinian drama Omar, the “good idea, so-so execution” art documentary Tim’s Vermeer from Penn and Teller, and the big-screen expansion of Steve Coogan’s most beloved character (other than himself), Alan Partridge.
On Netflix Instant
Hey, look! Omar‘s here, too, along with the criminally underrated Kristen Wiig comedy Girl Most Likely. Joining them in the “fairly new” category is the Kurt Russell one-last-heist picture Art of the Steal and the TV miniseries of Bonnie & Clyde, starring Emile Hirsch and Great Expecations’ Holliday Granger.
Among the oldies but goodies are The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, Three Men and a Baby (ain’t afraid of no ghost!), the good-until-it’s-not Al Pacino/Colin Farrell CIA thriller The Recruit, and the timeless What About Bob?, featuring a memorable performance by Bill Murray, who I’ve just been informed is at your door and interested in helping you cook supper.