Lore


Lore's future looks bittersweet.

Lore’s future looks bittersweet.

(2012) Drama (Music Box) Saskia Rosendahl, Nele Trebs, Andre Frid, Mika Seidel, Kai-Peter Malina, Nick Holaschke, Ursina Lardi, Hans-Jochen Wagner, Sven Pippig, Philip Wiegratz, Katrin Pollitt, Hendrik Arnst, Claudia Geisler. Directed by Cate Shortland   

 Offshoring

Florida Film Festival 2013

 

The Second World War left millions of refugees at its end, many traversing shattered lands as survivors tried to find some semblance of family, often with roughly the same odd of finding a needle in a haystack.

Lore (Rosendahl) is a beautiful young German girl just entering her mid-teens. Her parents are important people and they live in a beautiful home near Buchenwald. She has a younger sister, younger twin brothers and a baby brother. Life is good.

Except that this isn’t modern Germany but Nazi Germany and the war is grinding to a conclusion. Her father (Wagner) and mother (Lardi) are fleeing their home and headed to a rural cabin to hide, hoping for the best but fearing that if the Americans win the war that they’ll be arrested. In fact, that’s what actually happens. Alone, Lore knows she must take the children to her grandmother’s house 900km away. Without any choice, she hits the road.

Once there they are followed by a mysterious young man in black. Lore frets. At a schoolhouse where many have taken refuge, the American soldiers have posted pictures of the concentration camps. Lore is shocked at the horror depicted. Some disbelieve it completely – “they’re actors,” is the general thought. Lore knows better – one of the “actors” peering down at a pit of dead emaciated bodies is her father.

When Lore and the kids are stopped on the road by American soldiers demanding travel papers, she is terrified but the young man, who calls himself Thomas (Malina) and has the necessary papers (not to mention a Star of David identifying him as a concentration camp survivor) intervenes and gets them  a ride for at least part of the distance.

Lore is drawn into a love-hate relationship with Thomas. There’s no doubt that the kids love him and that he is looking out for them as he would his own family, but he is also everything her parents warned her against and was the object of their scorn and hatred. She doesn’t know what to think about him – nor of her own burgeoning sexuality which is beginning to emerge. It’s a long, long road to Hamburg and they’ll have to get through plenty of obstacles to get there.

This is a movie that looks at the other side and not necessarily with sympathy. Lore’s parents are monsters, and the more we see of them the more we realize that they had full knowledge of what was happening in regards to the Final Solution.

The problem I had is with Lore herself. One moment she’s sympathetic, the next intolerable, the following plucky, and the moment after that sensual. Her emotions are like a pachinko machine, bouncing from here to there without any real rhyme or reason. Part of that is endemic to being a hormonal teenage girl, another part is inconceivable stress. Either way, it makes it very difficult for an audience to identify with Lore.

That’s not necessarily Rosendahl’s fault. She seems to be a very capable young actress with a great deal of promise – she’s just given a character to play who isn’t an easy one to pull together and she does the very best she can. I’m not sure that any actress, even a Meryl Streep, could have pulled off this part any better.

Lore is beautifully photographed as we see pristine German woodlands and bucolic country villages which makes the heinous deeds we see even more wrenching. There are unburied bodies everywhere, some dead by their own hand. A misguided old woman who takes Lore’s family in temporarily wails at a portrait of Der Fuhrer “We let him down. He loved us all so.”  It’s disquieting to say the least.

These aren’t perfect kids and the world they inhabit is chaotic and unpredictable. There are no real rules and surviving is not an easy task – just procuring food isn’t a given. Survival isn’t a given. The baby give them a bit of an advantage and Lore knows it but she also realizes that she is becoming a woman and that can be an advantage with certain kinds of men.

Lore grows from being something of a spoiled brat at the beginning of the movie into a cynical woman who is in bare-bones survival mode. Her last actions in the film are of defiance and transformation as she realizes that what she has been through has changed her forever – nothing will ever be the same again. It’s a powerful message.

And yet I didn’t connect with the film the way I think I should have. Perhaps it’s the pacing which is very slow. Perhaps it is the emotional pinball machine that is Lore. Or perhaps it’s just the wrong day and the wrong time for me to see a movie like this. It certainly requires a good deal of commitment from the viewer. It’s a movie whose skill and technique I admire, and whose story I think is one that should be told. I just didn’t fall under its spell the way I would have liked.

REASONS TO GO: Beautifully photographed. Gripping material.

REASONS TO STAY: Lore’s character is all over the map and gives us nothing to hold on to emotionally.

FAMILY VALUES:  There is some violence, some sexuality, a bit of foul language and some adult themes.

TRIVIAL PURSUIT: The family photographs in Thomas’ wallet actually belong to Shortland’s husband, who is of German Jewish descent and whose family fled Nazi Germany in 1936.

CRITICAL MASS: As of 4/27/13: Rotten Tomatoes: 93% positive reviews. Metacritic: 76/100; this is a critical hit.

COMPARISON SHOPPING: The Way Back

FINAL RATING: 6/10

NEXT: Offshoring, Day 3

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New Releases for the Week of April 19, 2013


Oblivion

OBLIVION

(Universal) Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo, Zoe Bell. Directed by Joseph Kosinski

Earth is recovering from an alien invasion and no, I’m not talking about migrant lettuce pickers. I’m talking about the bug-eyed outer space rectal probing sorts and these specific aliens have been driven off but at a steep cost – the planet is essentially uninhabitable now. Drones are mining the last of the planet’s resources so humanity can make a new beginning. One of the last drone repairmen is doing some routine maintenance when he stumbles onto a secret that will force him to re-evaluate everything he knows and put the fate of humanity squarely in his hands. From the director of TRON: Legacy.

See the trailer, clips, featurettes and a promo here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard, IMAX

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: PG-13 (for sci-fi action violence, brief strong language and some sensuality/nudity)

The ABCs of Death

(Magnet) Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Fraser Corbett, Hiroko Yashiki, Dallas Malloy. 26 of horror’s top young directors have directed segments involving horrific ways to die, one for each letter of the alphabet. The directors hail from all around the world and a wide variety of styles; there’s something to satisfy every one’s taste in horror. However be warned that while this is unrated, judging from what I’ve heard about the film it would have been slapped with an NC-17 had it been submitted to the ratings board.

See the trailer and a promo here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Horror

Rating: NR  

Ek Thi Dayaan

(ALT Entertainment) Emraan Hashmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Huma Qureshi, Kalki Koechlin. A popular stage magician is haunted by an Indian witch.

See the trailer here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Bollywood Horror

Rating: NR  

Home Run

(Goldwyn/Provident) Scott Elrod, Dorian Brown, Vivica A. Fox, Nicole Leigh. After a DUI conviction temporarily derails a major league baseball player’s career, he is sent home to coach a youth baseball team and enter a recovery program. While there he tries to woo the girl he left behind and rediscovers not only his love for baseball but his faith in God as well.

See the trailer here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Faith-Based Sports Drama

Rating: PG-13 (for some mature thematic material)

Lords of Salem

(Anchor Bay) Sherri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davidson, Meg Foster, Dee Wallace. A DJ living in Salem, Massachusetts – site of the infamous witch trials – gets a record in a mysterious wooden box. When she listens to the disc, she has flashbacks to the town’s violent past. She begins to doubt her own sanity, but if she isn’t insane, could there be powers acting to exact revenge on Salem from beyond the grave?

See the trailer and clips here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Drama

Rating: R (for disturbing violent and sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some drug use) 

Lore

(Music Box) Saskia Rosendahl, Kai Malina, Nele Trebs, Ursina Lardi. At the end of World War II, the staunch Nazi parents of five children are taken into custody. The kids, led by the eldest sister at 14 years old, must undertake a perilous journey across a war-ravaged Germany to reach their grandmother in the North. This movie played the Florida Film Festival last week.

See the trailer here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Period War Drama

Rating: NR  

Starbuck

(EntertainmentOne) Patrick Huard, Julie LeBreton, Antoine Bertrand, Dominic Philie. A slacker trying to prove to his girlfriend that he’s worthy of being a good dad to the baby she’s pregnant with discovers that due to a clerical error, the sperm he donated for money back in the day has been used to create over 500 babies. This movie also played the Florida Film Festival last week; you can read my review of it here.

See the trailer here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Comedy

Rating: R (for sexual content, language and some drug material)

Florida Film Festival 2013


Florida Film Festival 2013

The Florida Film Festival will be returning from April 5 through April 14. As in years past, Cinema365 is proud to cover our local film festival and this year will be bigger and better than any year before, with 173 features and short films taking up screen time. Voted one of the 50 best film festivals in the world, it’s different than the industry shmoozefests that are Sundance, Tribeca and TIFF. Those are places where filmmakers go to make a deal. FFF is where they go to mingle with the audience. There is an intimate feel that is missing from some film festivals where there is so much going on that you’re exhausted from day one. There is a more leisurely pace here but even so by the 14th you may well be reaching your limit.

The guest of honor this year is legendary Hollywood actress Tippi Hedren who will be honored with a screening of her classic film The Birds. She’ll be on hand to answer qustions, some of which hopefully will be about her new film Free Samples which will also be playing at the festival. These events always sell out so you won’t want to wait too long before getting your ticket. Also attending the festival will be renowned stuntwoman/actress Zoe Bell who will be on hand for a screening of Deathproof, the Quentin Tarantino-directed half of Grindhouse.  She’s done some of the most amazing stunts of the past decade so you won’t want to miss that either. Finally for those of a more romantic bent, the Festival will have Sunday brunch on the 14th with a screening of one of my all-time favorites The Princess Bride with star Cary Elwes in attendence. This promises to be an unforgettable event and, like the other celebrity appearances, is likely to sell out early.

But a film festival is all about, well, films and as usual there are a plethora of exciting entries at this year’s festival. While I’m not going to preview them all here, I will give you some films that I think are worth looking out for. The opening night slot is always a big deal at any film festival and the FFF is no different. This year the honor goes to Twenty Feet from Stardom, an acclaimed documentary that drew raves at Sundance earlier this year. For those who love classic rock and roll, the film focuses on the backup singers who share the stage and recording studio with some of the biggest stars and on the biggest hits of all time. It’s an amazing get up and dance kind of movie that is bound to have opening nighters boogaloo-ing in the aisles. Opening night is another event that sells out early so you’ll want to order your ticets as soon as you can.

Unfinished Song stars Terrence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave in a film that reminds me a little bit of Young @ Heart, about a grumpy senior whose life is transformed by singing in a chorus. Lore takes place at the end of World War II in occupied Germany when a group of children whose parents were arrested as Nazis try to make their way across the country to their grandmother’s. Renoir is the story of the love triangle between the great Impressionist, his son and his model slash muse. It looks achingly beautiful. Mud stars Matthew McConaughey , Reese Witherspoon and Sam Shepard in a thriller about a couple of kids who befriend a man on the run from the law, who is haunted by the woman who may have inspired him to do wrong.

V/H/S 2 is the sequel to the hit indie horror anthology and should be packing them in at midnight showings. So too should Cockneys vs. Zombies, a East End-set zombie flick that looks to be a worthy successor to Shaun of the Dead with a wicked sense of humor that had preview audiences laughing til they screamed. Starbuck is a French-Canadian film about a man who is ready to be a father of his girlfriend’s child although she is none too certain about his paternal skills. Matters aren’t helped when it is discovered that as a repeated sperm donor back in the day he had wound up fathering over 500 children. I’m sure his tie collection will be legendary.

SOMM is a food documentary chronicling the difficult process of becoming certified as a master sommelier. In the music realm Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me and AKA Doc Pomus look back at legendary figures in classic rock and roll while Bad Brains: A Band in DC looks at one of the most influential punk bands of all time.

The narrative competition films have some real promising entries this year, with The Forgotten Kingdom following a young man’s journey to reconnect with his family in Leostho, Putzel which is a different kind of romantic comedy (I know a lot of rom-coms claim that but this one really looks like the real deal), The History of Future Folk which has the daft premise of an alien invasion which goes awry when the aliens decide to become folksingers, All the Light in the Sky in the meantime follows an aging actress who is watching her indie career dwindle as younger actresses nab the roles that once went to her. Nancy, Please is a terrifying thriller about the roommate from Hell who goes to extreme lengths to reclaim the book she left behind and Be Good which observes new parents adopting to their changing roles.

The documentary competition is equally impressive with Year of the Living Dead which looks back on the lasting impact of George A. Romero’s legendary Night of the Living Dead while Magical Universe explores the bizaare world of artist Al Carbee’s Barbie-centric art. Shepard and Dark explores the unique and moving friendship (mostly expressed through correspondence) between actor/playwright Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark who was at one time married to the mother of Shepard’s wife. Informant traces the path of Brandon Darby from respected activist to FBI informant while Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story traces the career of revolutionary children’s book illustrator Tomi Ungerer.

And that’s just scratching the surface. Films like 8 1/2, Sleeper, The Sting and Pulp Fiction will also be screened as well as a plethora of foreign films, short films, documentaries, narrative features, family films and animated shorts. Individual tickets will go on sale on March 17th (this Sunday) although you can still buy passes and packages of five, ten and twenty vouchers which can be redeemed for individual films right now. For more details on the festival, ticket purchase information and directions to the festival venues, click on the logo above which will take you right to the Festival website. That same logo will appear on all festival film reviews even after the festival is over.

It should be noted that nearly every year since I started attending this event my number one movie on the year-end countdown has played at the Festival. Some of the films that have played here have gone on to commercial success (The Blair Witch Project) or Oscar nominations (Winter’s Bone). While there are no guarantees, I can tell you that this is one of the best-curated festivals that I’m aware of and the overall quality of the films that play it are nothing short of spectacular.

Enzian president Henry Maldonado liked the Festival to a gathering of friends, not unlike a reunion and he’s right. The atmosphere at the Festival is like none other I’ve experienced. Part of that is due to the bucolic scenery at the Enzian itself (although the atmosphere at the neighboring Regal multiplex in Winter Park Village where many of the screenings take place is no less idyllic) but most of the credit goes to the staff, volunteers and the attendees themselves. This is the kind of thing that loses something in the translation but once experienced for yourself will hook you for life. Even if I were to move out of the Orlando area, I’d come back every year for the FFF. I hope I’ll see some of my Orlando-area readers at the Festival; those who can travel to come see it should make the effort to do so. This is no theme park but if you’re a movie buff, this is so much better.

Four-Warned: February 2013


A Good Day to Die Hard

Every month I’m going to look at every movie on the release schedule and try to assign them a numerical value corresponding to how anxious I am to see it. The lower the number, the more I want to see it. A one means I would walk through hell and high water to see it; a four means there’s no interest whatsoever. The numbers are not arrived at scientifically but they aren’t arbitrary either.

The numbers aren’t a reflection of the artistic merit of any of these films, but merely a reflection of my willingness to go to a movie theater and see it. The top four scores will be gathered as a means of reflecting the movies I’m anticipating the most; you may use that as a guide or not.

Each entry is broken down as follows:

NAME OF FILM (Studio) Genre A brief description of the plot. Release plans: Wide = Everywhere, Limited = In selected markets. RATING A brief comment

Keep in mind that release dates are extremely subject to change, even at this late date.

FOUR TO SEE
1. A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (1.3)
2. BULLET TO THE HEAD (1.6)
3. WARM BODIES (1.7)
 TIE. SNITCH (1.7)

FOUR TO SEEK OUT (FILMS NOT IN WIDE RELEASE)
1. NO (1.0)
2. LORE (1.4)
 TIE. THE SORCRER AND THE WHITE SNAKE (1.4)
4. BLESS ME, ULTIMA (1.6)

RATING SYSTEM: 1) Must-see, 2) Should-see, 3) Perhaps-see, 4) Don’t-see

FEBRUARY 1, 2013

BULLET TO THE HEAD (Warner Brothers) Genre: Action. An assassin and a cop combine forces to take down the killers who murdered their partners. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.6 Although Stallone and director Walter Hill would have made a good fit 30 years ago, taking on a graphic novel might be a bit much for them now – but I still want to see it.
DAVID (Reliance) Genre: Drama. Three different men from three different parts of the world in three different years – but all three named David – are about to take steps that will radically change their lives. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.1 The trailer doesn’t shed any light on how the three stories are interconnected by anything other than the name.
THE GATEKEEPERS (Sony Classics) Genre: Documentary. The Shin Bet, Israel’s secret service agency, has been at the center of Israeli policy since the Seven Days War; for better or for worse, this film takes an accounting of their actions. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.2 This sounds like a fascinating subject but the trailer makes it look like a bunch of old men talking heads.
GIRLS AGAINST BOYS (Anchor Bay) Genre: Thriller. A pair of girls, sick of being victimized by men, go on a killing spree that begins to expand past their range of tormenters. Release Strategy: Limited RATING: 2.9 Gotta love a distaff revenge flick.
THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA (Lionsgate) Genre: Supernatural Horror. A family moves into a remote Georgia home to discover that the ghosts of escaped slaves and angry Rebels are still lurking there. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.9 Looks to be even better than it’s barely related predecessor.
KOCH (Zeitgeist) Genre: Documentary. Former New York City mayor Ed Koch is profiled. Release Strategy: New York City (opening in Los Angeles March 1). RATING: 2.3 Looks like it could be a fairly interesting portrait of a larger-than-life personality.
WARM BODIES (Summit) Genre: Horror Spoof. After the zombie apocalypse decimates the planet, a young woman discovers a young man turned zombie who is starting to feel emotions again – including love for her. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.7 A very different kind of zombie movie – looking forward to seeing it.

FEBRUARY 6, 2013

CAESAR MUST DIE (Adopt) Genre: Mockumentary. In a maximum-security Italian prison, a production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar has far-reaching consequences. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.7 This has kinda been done to death but we’ll see how this one works out.

FEBRUARY 8, 2013

A GLIMPSE INSIDE THE MIND OF CHARLES SWAN III (A24) Genre: Dramedy. After being dumped by his girlfriend suddenly, a successful graphic designer finds his life spinning into chaos. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.5 Despite having the Charlie Sheen factor, this one looks intriguing with Roman Coppola at the helm.
IDENTITY THIEF (Universal) Genre: Comedy. A nebbish travels to Florida to confront the woman who stole his identity and get his life back. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.6 If the only laughs are on the trailer, this could be bad news – or lose your bladder control-funny if not.
LORE (Music Box) Genre: War Thriller. Five children, whose parents were imprisoned at the end of World War II as SS officers, make a perilous journey across a ruined Germany to reach their grandmother in the north. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.4 Looks beautifully filmed and wonderfully tense.
THE PLAYROOM (Freestyle) Genre: Drama. An older sister tries to distract her younger siblings with stories of fantasy while her alcoholic parents party downstairs. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 1.8 Looks really intense; John Hawkes, one of my favorite actors right now, makes it a must-see but I understand newcomer Olivia Harris might be even better here.
PORFIRIO (Magic Lantern) Genre: True Life Drama. A paralyzed man in a diaper plots to highjack a plane to gain revenge over the government – and yes, it’s based on a true story (I couldn’t possibly make that up). Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.8 Looks so oddball that it might not resonate…but we’ll have to wait and see.
SIDE EFFECTS (Open Road) Genre: Thriller. A drug prescribed for anxiety has some unexpected side effects, leading to repercussions for both doctor and patient. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.9 Director Steven Soderbergh is usually a slam dunk for me.
THE SORCERER AND THE WHITE SNAKE (Magnet) Genre: Martial Arts. A sorcerer in ancient China tries to prevent a beloved herbalist from losing his soul to an evil white snake disguised as a beautiful woman. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.4 Amazing visuals and Jet Li – what more could anybody ask for?
SPIDERS 3D (Millennium) Genre: Horror. Giant spiders created by pieces of a crashed Soviet space station threaten to overrun New York City. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 They don’t make ’em like this anymore – possibly with good reason.
TOP GUN 3D (Paramount) Genre: Action. Maverick takes back to the skies with his wingman Goose, this time in murky 3D Release Strategy: Wide (3D). RATING: 3.9 I’ve already lost that loving feeling for 3D re-releases.

FEBRUARY 13, 2013

A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (20th Century Fox) Genre: Action. Supercop John McClane teams up with his son to take on a rogue Russian leader bent on world domination.. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, IMAX). RATING: 1.3 Bruce Willis is getting a bit long in the tooth for these; maybe this will be the passing of the torch.

FEBRUARY 14, 2013

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES (Warner Brothers) Genre: Supernatural Fantasy. A young girl who is about to become a witch of unthinkable power becomes the center of a family feud. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.3 This could either go the Twilight route or become interesting eye candy; I’m sure the studio would like a combination of the two.
ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH (Weinstein) Genre: Animated Feature. A heroic astronaut lands on a strange planet, gets captured and must be rescued by his brainier and less brawny brother – three guesses which planet he landed on. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 3.6 The animation looks cheesy and the story ripped off from other mediocre animated features.
MURDER 3 (FIP) Genre: Bollywood. A renowned photographer gets involved with a mysterious woman who may have the answers to the disappearance of his girlfriend. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.7 A Bollywood take on an erotic thriller might actually be better than most of the ones that have come out of the US lately.
SAFE HAVEN (Relativity) Genre: Romance. A woman running from her past finds a small town to hide in and a widower’s arms to hold her but the past has a way of finding you. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 3.1 Nicholas Sparks churns out yet another film to add to his growing list of credits.

FEBRUARY 15, 2013

THE BITTER BUDDHA (Self-Released) Genre: Documentary. Follows Eddie Pepitone, a comic deified by his peers but largely unknown to the general public. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.2 I haven’t seen Eddie Pepitone live but now I want to.
LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE (IFC) Genre: Drama. The story of the relationship between a young woman and an old man in Tokyo. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.5 The trailer is beautifully photographed and sensual.
NO (Sony Classics) Genre: True Life Drama. A referendum on Pinochet’s government in Chile in 1988 is expected to be a whitewash but the advertising exec tasked to spearhead the opposition campaign has other ideas. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.0 Surreal and funny and touching and with an underlying message – can’t wait to see this.
SAVING LINCOLN (Self-Released) Genre: Historical Drama. Lincoln’s bodyguard, famously absent the night of his assassination, is presented here using groundbreaking special effects. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.5 Purports to bring actual Civil War-era photographs to life but looks unconvincing in places; still an intriguing subject nonetheless.
WOULD YOU RATHER? (IFC Midnight) Genre: Thriller. A millionaire throws a dinner party in which desperate guests are forced to play a game of increasingly dangerous and deadly “Would You Rather.”. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 Cult favorite Jeffrey Combs is one of the stars so that’s a reason to see it – the trailer is pretty nifty too.

FEBRUARY 22, 2013

11 FLOWERS (First Run) Genre: Drama. During China’s Cultural Revolution, an 11-year-old boy is selected to lead gymnastics for his school, a great honor but he needs a new shirt. This shirt will entwine his fate with that of a fugitive in unexpected ways. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.6 The latest from one of China’s most acclaimed young directors.
BLESS ME, ULTIMA (Arenas) Genre: Drama. A young boy in New Mexico during the Second World War comes to terms with his spirituality and Chicano heritage when a curendera (spiritual healer) comes to live with his family. Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.6 Looks awfully intriguing; based on a controversial novel so that’s always good.
DARK SKIES (Dimension) Genre: Sci-Fi Horror. When a family moves into a new home, they are beset by mysterious forces they can’t understand but they soon realize that they must find a way to protect themselves from. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.0 From the producers of the Paranormal Entity series.
INESCAPABLE (IFC) Genre: Thriller. A Syrian expatriate must return home for the first time in 20 years to find his daughter amid the events of the Arab Spring. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.1 Looks pretty good with Deep Space Nine’s Alexander Siddig in a long overdue lead role.
RED FLAG (Tribeca) Genre: Romantic Comedy. An independent filmmaker taking his movie on tour enters into a surreal world of sex, fear, drugs and birds. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.1 I’ll go with Indie Clichés for $1000 Alex.
RUBBERNECK (Tribeca) Genre: Thriller. A researcher whose tryst with a fellow researcher has developed into an obsession loses it when she develops feelings for another man. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.4 Looks genuinely creepy.
SNITCH (Summit) Genre: Thriller. A father makes a deal with the FBI to go undercover in a drug cartel’s organization to save his son from going to jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.7 Based on a true story and starring The Rock – I’m there.
STAND-OFF (Ketchup Entertainment) Genre: Comedy. To pay off a gambling debt to a mobster, a man robs a fish store he’s unaware belongs to the same mobster; on the run from the cops and the mob, he is cornered in a curio store with a group of oddballs trying to find a way out of this mess. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.3 A really good cast includes Brendan Fraser and Colm Meaney.

SCHEDULED TO BE REVIEWED HERE AS NEW RELEASES
Bullet to the Head, Warm Bodies, Identity Thief, Side Effects, A Good Day to Die Hard, Safe Haven, Dark Skies, Snitch