Opening this week in limited release: Penn Badgely as Jeff Buckley, and the latest from Susanne Bier and Olivier Assayas.
If anybody knows how to commit to a regular-guy character who can be incredibly fearsome and threatening, it's Michael Shannon. Here, he plays a contract killer, alongside Winona Ryder (we LOVE Winona Ryder), Chris Evans, James Franco, Ray Liotta, and a whole crate full of mustaches and sideburns. Seriously, Chris Evans in this thing is better disguised than anyone on the entire season of The Americans.
What Maisie Knew
At first, it seems surprising that such potentially tawdry material -- after divorcing, Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan each re-marry in order to better their custody chances -- appears to be handled in such a thoughtful and sensitive manner. But the fact that it's a contemporary adaptation of Henry James backs up that feeling of gravitas. Julianne Moore knows how to play desperate mothers, but it's the fact that she appears to play a rock star that has us especially intrigued.
Love Is All You Need
Oscar-winning Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier returns with a sweet little road trip/family vacation dramady about a pair of middle-aged single parents traveling to their children's weddings. This looks to be something light and pleasant on a weekend when Iron Man 3 is going dark and bombastic, so it might be just the counterprogramming you're looking for.
Something In The Air
Olivier Assayas (Summer Hours; Carlos) has been delivering some of the finest non-American films of the last decade, and if the Venice Film Festival is any indication, this is no exception. Tackling the counterculture movement via two young artists and lovers, this promises something gorgeous and stirring and provocative. If you feel like it's been far too long since you've seen a movie about the '60s/'70s that had anything novel to offer, this could be your flick.
Greetings From Tim Buckley (TF)
After premiering last week at the Tribeca Film Festival, Dan Algrant's film opens in earnest this weekend, giving audiences their first look at Penn Badgley as musical icon Jeff Buckley. I saw this during the festival and was quite impressed with Badgley's sensitive performance of a singer-songwriter who many in the audience will have a lot invested in. The story is also satisfyingly tangential to some of the more well-known beats of Buckley's career. Worth watching at least to see how a traditional biopic can be made more intimate.
(CLICK HERE for more information on how you can see Greetings From Tim Buckley in theaters or online.)