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Weekend Watch: Not Necessarily a ‘Win Win’ Weekend

This week gives us few potentially watchable flicks but nothing great. It’s mid-march, which means nothing will be very exciting (to be fair, the noteworthy Greenberg did come out same time last year, but there’s a particularly large amount of mediocrity going on. If you want a decent dramedy that has something for everyone, Win Win, starring Paul Giamatti, is probably your best bet.

This week gives us few potentially watchable flicks but nothing great. It’s mid-march, which means nothing will be very exciting (to be fair, the noteworthy Greenberg did come out same time last year, but there’s a particularly large amount of mediocrity going on. If you want a decent dramedy that has something for everyone, Win Win, starring Paul Giamatti, is probably your best bet. For stoner and geek crowds, Paul might give you a laugh, and if you’re in New York, definitely check out docs Nostalgia for the Light or Bill Cunningham, New York which opened at the Film Forum on Wednesday.

U.S Indie 

The Music Never Stopped – Jim Kohlberg – Roadside

This father son pic based on a case study by Oliver Sacks was the first major film to be acquired at Sundance this past January. We say this will be “a sentimental father-son tale that will resonate deeply with some, but it’s really for those who don’t watch a lot of movies.”

: 61% : 55.1%

Win Win – Tom McCarthy – Fox Searchlight

Also at Sundance this year, the latest flick by the director of The Station Agent and The Visitor has been garnering rather favorable reviews. Everyone loves Paul Giamatti, but the standout here seems to be Alex Shaffer, a genuine high school wrestler appearing in his first film. NY/L.A

: 76% : 82.1%

Foreign

The Butcher, The Chef and The Swordsman – Wuershan

China Lion Film Distribution releases this TIFF selected film in 30 plus markets — you might think this will be fun because of how outrageously ridiculous it looks, but it’s just plain bad. Don’t do it.

: 22% : 40.8%

Cracks – Jordan Scott – IFC Films

There’s something strangely compelling about the trailer for this boarding school mystery directed by Ridley Scott’s daughter. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s too over the top not to be entertaining. Critics say the TIFF-selected title works on an atmospheric level, but lead Eva Green is unfortunately miscast.

: 52% : 59.3%

Desert Flower – Sherry Horman – National Geographic Entertainment

This biopic about a Somalian woman who becomes a model after a chance encounter with a photographer is not particularly recommended, unless you feel the need to watch a very graphic depiction of female circumcision. NY/L.A

: 52% : 55.7%

Winter in Wartime – Martin Koolhoven – Sony Pictures Classics

Another adaptation, this WW2 picture about a teenager wanting to get involved with the Resistance tries to treat all sides equally, but it doesn’t quite manage to distinguish itself from other films of the genre, often falling into cliché. NY/L.A

: 65% : 65.8%

Documentary Films

Nostalgia for the Light – Patricio Guzman – First Run/Icarus Films

This doc that played at Cannes and Toronto seems worth checking out. Guzman’s choice to mix astrologists and people looking for the bodies of those who were killed during the Pinochet regime may seem a little strange, but critics say it is generally a touching and poetic film.

: 82% : 85.2%

Bill Cunningham, New York – Richard Press – Zeitgeist Films

It’s unfortunate that this charming doc about fashion photographer Bill Cunningham is only out in New York, because it may be the most interesting release this weekend.

: 78% : 77.1%

Studio Films

Limitless – Neil Burger – Relativity Pictures

What happens if you take a pill that makes your brain work at 100% capacity? You end up with 100 movie clichés, several different hairstyles, and a blockbuster so ridiculous it may actually be entertaining to watch. From the helmet behind The Illusionist with Edward Norton.

: 57% : 60.3%

The Lincoln Lawyer – Brad Furman – Lionsgate Pictures

You may enjoy the third biggest release this weekend if you’re a fan of Matthew McConaughey. For those who aren’t, and don’t find themselves in the mood for a run of the mill legal thriller (based on a Michael Connelly novel) it’s probably best to pass.

: 62% : 68.7%

Paul – Greg Mottola – Universal Pictures

Despite the fact that Edgar Wright isn’t part of this Simon Pegg/Nick Frost comedy selected at SXSW, there may still be hope for quite a few laughs. Mottola directed Superbad as well as several Undeclared and Arrested Development episodes. Though the film won’t be the cult classic Shaun of the Dead was, it will surely please at least a few sci-fi geeks.

: 57% : 64.7%

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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