Festival

Sundance Film Festival

2012

Review Revue: BEASTS are pure MAGIC


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 stormy little girl hero, a vulgar talking stuffed animal, mystery siblings, flirty Torontonians and some hot male strippers.

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

Synopsis: The celebrated (and rightful) Sundance winner finally hits theaters, spinning a Louisiana yarn that is part forlorn fairytale, part political commentary and a whole lot of magic.

Most typical critique: Rex Reed, New York Observer:

Don’t miss this one. A brave and inspired antidote to time-wasting mainstream movies, it is unlike anything you’ve seen before or will likely ever see again.

The quote not to miss: Geoff Berkshire, Metromix:

A feeling of genuine enthusiasm and ingenuity … as if everyone involved was truly discovering the power and potential of filmmaking for the first time.

Should you go see it?

Absolutely, and we’re not just tooting our own horn. With 35 out of 39 reviews marked as positive on Rotten Tomatoes, it is safe to say BEASTS promises for an original and gratifying night of movie-watching, after having taken the festival world by storm.

TED

Synopsis: Family Guy Seth MacFarlane taking on Mark Wahlberg and his foul-mouthed talking teddy bear? Along with Mila ”Meg” Kunis as the hot girlfriend? Yes, please.

Most typical critique: Blake Howard, Graffiti With Punctuation:

It’s ridiculous, inappropriate, hilarious, nostalgic, geek heroin.

The quote not to miss: David Fear, Time Out New York:

Feel free to shake your head all you want: You can’t overestimate how funny it is to watch a stuffed bear behave boorishly, go on coke binges and engage in the greatest man-versus-plush-toy fistfight ever committed to celluloid…

Should you go see it?

If you ever had a stuffed animal… This vehicle seems to have a lot going for it; the raucous and whip-smart mind of an established comic genius, subtle CG animation, good jokes and game actors.

PEOPLE LIKE US

Synopsis: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks and Michelle Pfeiffer star in a tale of mystery inheritance, long-lost siblings and some garden variety family drama. Oh, and it’s based on ‘true events’.

Most typical critique: Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice:

A certifiable adult drama built atop sturdy thematic supports, a rare enough item these days.

The quote not to miss: Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter:

As overcranked as it is — the film is directed as if it were an action drama, with two or three times more cuts than necessary — PEOPLE LIKE US has a persuasive emotional pull at its heart that’s hard to deny.

Should you go see it?

The buzz on this has been fairly good. Plus, we’ll see anything with Michelle Pfeiffer.

TAKE THIS WALTZ

Synopsis: Michelle Williams in her latest hipster romance, this time led by Canadian actress/writer/director Sarah Polley and co-starring Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman.

Most typical critique: Melissa Anderson, Village Voice:

There are enough unexpected delights, such as repurposing “Video Killed the Radio Star” during a critical moment between Margot and Daniel, to keep us interested in their drawn-out, teasing, tantalizing courtship.

The quote not to miss: Justin Chang, Variety:

Despite a few tonal and structural missteps, this intelligent, perceptive drama proves as intimately and gratifyingly femme-focused as Polley’s 2006 debut, AWAY FROM HER.

Should you go see it?

Another winner. Having made splashes at both the Toronto and Tribeca Film Fests, WALTZ boasts several Oscar darlings, like Polley (nominated for her AWAY FROM HER script) and Michelle Williams (nominated for everything). Should also be interesting to see Silverman in a not purely comedic performance.

MAGIC MIKE

Synopsis: Steven Soderbergh (yes, Soderbergh) directs a gaggle of naked boys and men in a film about male strippers. Based on Channing Tatum’s formative early years as a ‘dancer’.

Most typical critique: Barbara VanDenburgh, Arizona Republic:

Like any good strip tease, the film has a way of clouding your judgment. Though it may not have you throwing dollar bills at the screen, it is likely to leave a smile on your face.

The quote not to miss: James Berardinelli, ReelViews:

MAGIC MIKE is an allegory and its appeal lies in part in its message. You don’t have to be a stripper to recognize what the filmmakers are saying.

Should you go see it?
For the pecs, but that’s about it. Although by no means terrible, Soderbergh has managed to make a movie about male strippers somewhat boring.