This Week at the Movies, Part 1 (Dec. 5-7, 2014)

Our critics have been hard at work reviewing the latest films. Here is a look at what’s coming out this weekend (in select cities, check your local listings) and what else may be in theaters right now.

Opening: Dec. 5-7, 2014

Limited (United States)

Life Partners

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema

Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic

  • Excerpt: While writer-director Fogel and co-writer Joni Lefkowitz don’t say anything too fresh here, besides incorporating both sides of sexual orientation, the film is often perceptive and even sharply funny about co-dependent relationships and how they are tested when one romantic door opens for one party and not the other.

Pioneer

David Bax @ Battleship Pretension

  • Excerpt: Skjoldbjærg’s style pastiche coheres to create something larger than the sum of its parts. Petter’s harrowing descent wraps us up viscerally in real-world deceptions and their devastating collateral damage.

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema
Carson Lund @ Slant Magazine

  • Excerpt: Pioneer’s greatest asset, and another trait it shares with Mann and Fincher’s work, is a careful attention toward the particulars of its milieu in a way that doesn’t call attention to those period touches. The film matches the quotient of moustaches, thick-rimmed glasses, and earth-toned blazers from Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy without ever getting Argo-level ostentatious about it.

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Wild

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Zero Motivation

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: Lavie’s made a film from an unique perspective, one which illustrates how discrimination works against the system, undermining it by breeding contempt. But while the film certainly has comedic aspects, it’s never as uproariously funny as it could (or should) be

2014 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

Algorithms

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

American Sniper

Bill Clark @ From The Balcony

  • Excerpt: American Sniper is at its freshest and most insightful when examining the physical and mental effects warfare takes on a soldier.

Annabelle

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Antarctica: A Year on Ice

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Babadook

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Birdman

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Black or White

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema

The Boxtrolls

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Boyhood

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

By the Gun

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: Cliched, confused and thoroughly unnecessary, “By the Gun” features a meaty role for Boston rapper Slaine (“The Town”) as Nick’s best friend George, but writer Emilio Mauro deep sixes the character’s early promise in a laughable “Mean Streets” ripoff.

Citizenfour

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Crossing

James Marsh @ Screen Daily

  • Excerpt: John Woo’s first directorial offering in four years is a grand scale war-time romance chronicling the plight of three unrelated couples whose lives become entwined during the Chinese Civil War. As was the case with Woo’s 2008 two-parter, Red Cliff, the eponymous event – in this case the tragic 1949 sinking of Chinese steamer the Taiping – is still yet to come, as this first installment delivers two hours of detailed set-up, with its feet firmly on terra firma.

Enemy

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Exodus: Gods and Kings

José Arce @ LaButaca.net [Spanish]

  • Excerpt: Ridley Scott propone una de sus peores películas desde un planteamiento erróneo y apelotonado, además de fallar en la elección de buena parte de su reparto. Bastante mal todo, en general.

James Marsh @ Twitch

  • Excerpt: Meeting, but rarely exceeding, expectations, Ridley Scott’s grand retelling of Moses and the Hebrews’ flight from Egypt is strong on visuals and A-list presence, but slight on narrative and characterisation. Christian Bale and Joel Egerton both put in fine performances as Moses and Rameses, while the rest of the big-name cast gets lost amidst a CG-heavy blizzard of battles, plagues, revolts and muddled imagery.

Filth

Dustin Freeley @ Movies About Gladiators

  • Excerpt: Irvine Welsh’s further examination of Scottish self hatred.

Force Majeure

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Foxcatcher

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Foxy Merkins

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Grand Budapest Hotel

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Great Invisible

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Hangar 10

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

The Heart Machine

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Homesman

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Horrible Bosses 2

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Imitation Game

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Inherent Vice

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Interstellar

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Into the Storm

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Ivory Tower

Dustin Freeley @ Movies About Gladiators

  • Excerpt: A documentary about education and its discontents.

Jessabelle

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Kill the Messenger

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Late Phases

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema

The Lego Movie

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Liberator

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Listen Up, Philip

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Magic in the Moonlight

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Meet the Mormons

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

A Most Wanted Man

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Mule

Simon Miraudo @ Quickflix

Nas: Time Is Illmatic

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Omar

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Penguins of Madagascar

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Rosewater

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Rude Dude

Jamie S. Rich @ DVDTalk

The Sacrament

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Selma

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A stirring and enlightening movie about civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his crusade for equality.

The Skeleton Twins

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Song of the Sea

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An Irish folktale about facing our fears, embracing death and human frailty, walking in wonder and returning home as transformed lovers.

St. Vincent

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Still Alice

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A caring and compassionate portrait of a linguistics professor stricken with early onset Alzheimer’s. carried home into our hearts by Julianne Moore’s mesmerizing performance.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: An impressive hallowing of play and laughter as the sources of a lightness of being.

Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies

  • Excerpt: The magic is in the technique.

The Theory of Everything

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

True Son

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Whiplash

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Why Don’t You Play In Hell

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Winter Sleep

Alan Mattli @ Facing the Bitter Truth [German]

  • Excerpt: An intense, complex, subtly poetic character drama inspired by Chekhov and evoking Bergman – a majestic, intimate monument.

Women Who Flirt

James Marsh @ Twitch

  • Excerpt: After dipping his toe into China with his 2012 sequel Love In The Buff, Hong Kong auteur Pang Ho Cheung embraces the inevitable and presents his first full-blown mainland production, Women Who Flirt. Zhou Xun and Huang Xiaoming play the longtime friends and colleagues whose til-now platonic relationship is jeopardised by Taiwanese dolly bird Sui Tang, forcing Zhou to step up and show she’s got what it takes to win the guy she’s always loved.

You’re Not You

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

2014 Films (Coming Soon)

Coming Home

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Death Metal Angola

Brent McKnight @ The Last Thing I See

  • Excerpt: Death Metal Angola’ is a quiet movie about a culture roaring back to life.

Déjà Vu

Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer

  • Excerpt: Romanian film has long takes galore.

Guidelines

Mathieu Li-Goyette @ Panorama-cinéma [French]

Heaven Adores You

Simon Miraudo @ Quickflix

Mea Culpa

David Upton @ So So Gay

  • Excerpt: Shoot out set pieces have no real rhythm to them; the tension rises and falls with unusual sharpness, dying off as the men cease in confusion. No one can see anything and the bullets don’t land; this is not a world of seamless choreography but a recognisably messy one where the camera lives among humans carefully searching for their unknown enemy.

The Nose

Mathieu Li-Goyette @ Panorama-cinéma [French]

Once Upon a Time, Veronica

Nicholas Bell @ Ioncinema

Ungli

Kathy Gibson @ Access Bollywood

Watchers of the Sky

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

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