TAGGED AS: Certified Fresh
This week at the movies, we’ve got a woman on the edge (Side Effects, starring Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum); a shameless fraudster (Identity Thief, starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman), and some hotshot pilots (Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer). What do the critics have to say?
Steven Soderbergh claims that Side Effects will be the last theatrical film he directs. Critics say that if that’s the case, he’s crafted a heck of a swan song in this sleek, mysterious thriller. Rooney Mara stars as a young woman suffering from depression after her husband (Channing Tatum) is released from prison. She turns to a psychiatrist (Jude Law) who prescribes her an antidepressant that he’s being paid to pitch, but soon she’s reeling from the drug’s adverse effects. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Side Effects is twisty, elegantly shot, and suspenseful, one that offers further proof of Soderbergh’s ability to elevate genre material to new heights. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Law’s best-reviewed movies.)
Melissa McCarthy has established herself as a scene-stealing supporting player, and critics say in Identity Thief she proves she has the goods to be a leading lady. Unfortunately, they also say she and co-star Jason Bateman can’t save the film from its rambling, aimless script. McCarthy stars as an identity thief whose posh lifestyle is being financed by a financial services drone (Bateman), who tracks her down but soon finds himself in over his head. The pundits say Identity Thief‘s laughs are attributable to McCarthy and Bateman, who labor mightily to create a framework for the movie’s undisciplined plotline. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of impostors and identity thieves.)
Upon its release in 1986, Top Gun was a massive success, one that made Tom Cruise a superstar, spawned a hit soundtrack, and inspired an uptick in enlistments into the Navy. It’s getting an IMAX 3D rerelease this week, so a new generation can see what all the fuss was about. Suffice to say, the critics were largely split, with many praising the film’s aerial footage while finding its characters to be pretty one-dimensional.
The Taviani brothers‘ Caesar Must Die, a documentary about a group of prison inmates staging a production of Julius Caesar, is at 90 percent.
Raul Ruiz‘ Night Across the Street, a drama about an elderly man both reflecting on his life and delving into his imagination, is at 89 percent.
Lore, a drama about a group of German children who undertake a perilous escape after their Nazi-affiliated parents are arrested by Allied troops, is at 85 percent.
Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder, a doc about the legendary beat poet, is at 50 percent.
The Playroom, starring John Hawkes and Molly Parker in a drama about a group of siblings who seem to exist in a separate world from their hard-partying parents, is at 50 percent.
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, starring Charlie Sheen and Bill Murray in a comedy about a man whose fantasies spiral out of control after his girlfriend leaves him, is at 18 percent.
The Sorcerer and the White Snake, starring Jet Li as a sorcerer who attempts to save a man who has fallen in love with a snake disguised as a woman, is at 18 percent.