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Review Revue: SNOW WHITE's GREATER GLORY

Going to the movies should never, ever be stressful (unless, of course, you’re planning on seeing the latest Lars von Trier flick). You want to see something new and relevant so that you can talk it up with your know-it-all friends. But you don’t want to sit through the one film that everyone thought would be great, but…isn’t. So here is our formula, simplifying the should-you-see-it conundrum: 5 new releases x 2 critical samplings = what you should go see. Simple enough, right? This week we have a kickass fairytale, some stoners in high school, Mexican rebels, an animated Parisian cat and a closeted country crooner.

SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN


Synopsis: It goes like this: Once upon a time…Charlize Theron took a bath in milk and sent Thor to kill the Fairest Maiden of Them All, Bella Swan. Then shit got crazy.

Most typical critique: Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com:

I resisted this derivative mishmash of classic fairytale and modern epic fantasy for as long as I could, but ultimately it swept me up into its geeky but manly embrace and carried me away on a white charger.

The quote not to miss: Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com:

This visullay striking, darkly-toned, revisionist version suffers from the same problems that inflict all spectacles helmed by debutant directors who come from ads and commercials.

Should you go see it?

Do you dare defy the Queen? Although initial reviews seem mixed to positive, most would agree that the opportunity to watch Charlize Theron in practically anything is always a plus, and the visuals in the trailer are positively smashing.


HIGH SCHOOL


Synopsis: Try to see through the haze of this latest installment in the buddy-stoner-comedy genre, featuring The Shield’s Michael Chiklis as a supremely anti-drug principal and Adrien Brody as a drug dealer named Psycho Ed. This is what would happen if FERRIS took the day off to smoke some ganj.

Most typical critique: Justin Chang, Variety:

This madcap romp runs out of steam well before the finish, but its combo of sweetness and high spirits — not unlike the chemical composition of the dope-infused brownies that serve as a key plot device — proves sufficiently ingratiating to satisfy viewers.

The quote not to miss: Nick Schager, Slant Magazine:

According to HIGH SCHOOL, marijuana makes teens sleepy and confused, and adults express their innermost deviant sexual urges…the exaggerated behavior of young and old characters alike has a cartoonishness that’s as dreary as Henry and Travis’s rapport.

Should you go see it?

Iffy. Apparently, HIGH SCHOOL was made back in 2010, and its inability to find a distributor until now would usually indicate that the film is a new kind of awful. However, buzz dating from the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and onward has been teetering ever so slightly toward the positive…



FOR GREATER GLORY


Synopsis: A Mex-Western period piece starring Andy Garcia and Eva Longoria as renegades in the war-torn Mexico of the late 1920s.

Most typical critique: Sam Adams, Time Out:

Dean Wright, making his directing debut, stages the battles capably (if bloodlessly) but has little command over his actors, which makes them difficult to keep straight as he ping-pongs from one mustachioed freedom fighter to the next.

The quote not to miss: Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice:

This bloated mess’s crass piety invites a response from Whit Stillman’s DAMSELS IN DISTRESS: “Vulgarity is, in essence, blasphemous.”

Should you go see it?

No. Consensus practically across the board says that this one is a misfire.


A CAT IN PARIS


Synopsis: An hourlong animated account of a Parisian cat’s nocturnal escapades; could this finally reveal what the cat was up to in Cedric Klapisch’s other charming Paris cat caper, WHEN THE CAT’S AWAY? Hmm…

Most typical critique: Leba Hertz, San Francisco Chronicle:

A charming little French animation…about a cat – pet by day and cat burglar by night – in which all the men have splintery stubble on their arms and legs and all the characters’ pointy noses are reminiscent of a Modigliani painting.

The quote not to miss: David Parkinson, Empire Magazine:

Not since Disney’s THE ARISTOCATS has Paris looked so romantic or mysterious in cartoon form.

Should you go see it?

Take the (not too young) kids. An unexpected contender for last year’s Best Animated Feature Oscar, this jazzy piece definitely isn’t your standard Disney fare, so if you appreciate a little cartoon originality, then go for it!


CHELY WRIGHT: WISH ME AWAY


Synopsis: A documentary detailing a closeted lesbian country singer’s decision to come out. Country-lovin’ right wing be damned!

Most typical critique: Sam Adams, AV Club:

The movie’s heart is the moments that take place in private (meaning, in this case, in front of only one camera). Wright’s self-shot video diaries chart her turbulent mood swings…a palpable fear at odds with her confident stage persona.

The quote not to miss: Jennifer Merin, About.com:

Chely’s story has wide appeal, not only because she’s a celebrity who chooses to risk her career in order to be true to herself…Along with documentaries such as FOR MY WIFE and THE TOPP TWINS, for example, it speaks very eloquently to the need to establish without question our rights to personal civil liberties

Should you go see it?

Yes ma’am. Although not the most novel story out there anymore, this chronicling of a coming-out in 2010 Tennessee is evidence that even today, when ‘gay’ is an edgy political buzzword and publicly ambiguous celebrities now claim to have never been in the closet, the decision to come out is still an intensely personal, often terrifying and very brave step.