What should I see this weekend?, 11/11-11/13

ScreenerBlog

New films from Ang Lee and Denis Villeneuve give audiences something to see this weekend. Here are all reviewers' opinions of all today's new releases.

(SR)=Specialty Release

The Good

Billy Lynn’s Long  Halftime Walk: “Powerful, engrossing war drama about a heroic Iraq War Army squad brought home for celebratory halftime recognition at a big Texas Thanksgiving Day football game scores on the all-important war, home and entertainment fronts, while garnering extra points for the new technology involved.”

The Monster (SR): "Stranded on a dark, deserted country road, a mother and daughter are stalked by a vicious creature in this well-written and acted horror picture."

Don’t Look Down (SR): “[T]he makers of Don’t Look Down must be commended for reminding us what real adventure looks like, and also for finally giving Richard Branson his due as an old-style, world class adventurer.”

Elle (SR): “Though fundamentally absurd, with a hodgepodge of genres to boot, Elle is an engaging and thought-provoking film.”

Disturbing the Peace (SR): “A moving documentary about a group of former Israeli and Palestinian combatants who renounced violence and together use peaceful activism to push toward the ever-receding goal of peace.”

Uncle Kent 2 (SR): “But in an age of corporate sequels, decision-by-focus group and blandest common-denominator marketing, there's something raffishly appealing—even admirable—about it, even if Uncle Kent 2 's box office is likely to be negligible.”

National Bird (SR): “In National Bird, documentarian Sonia Kennebeck (Sex: Made in Germany) focuses primarily on the human casualties wrought by the U.S. Air Force’s use of drones to take down targets in Afghanistan and other foreign lands… [T]his chilling exposé highlights the morally murky waters into which ongoing conflicts and advanced technology have led us.”

Asperger’s Are Us (SR): “Highly engaging doc about a different kind of Fabulous Four, who use their Asperger’s Syndrome to make comedy.”

The Anthropologist (SR): “Documentary about a single mom anthropologist studying global climate change with her teenage daughter in tow covers the worlds of both science and parental emotion and ultimately ends on a note both frightening and hopeful, as both those worlds tend to be.”

Come and Find Me (SR): “Zack Whedon’s missing person thriller starts out slow but showcases fine acting by Aaron Paul and his irresistible chemistry with Annabelle Wallis.”

The Blah

Rules Don’t Apply: “Much-anticipated Warren Beatty project about Howard Hughes and the people he affected. Despite excellent performances, the movie lacks cohesion and focus.”

Arrival: “This year's Contact, Arrival is a message drama disguised as a science-fiction adventure. Somber and slow-paced, it has been engineered more for the mainstream than fanboys. That might limit returns in a crowded marketplace.”

The Love Witch (SR): “Anna Biller’s The Love Witch nails the look and spirit of macabre ’60s B-movies, but largely leaves chills and thrills out of the brew, resulting in a handsomely crafted curiosity that’s far from magical.”

Dreamland (SR): “An enjoyable coming-of-age tale that doesn't quite manage to break hearts.”

The Ugly

Almost Christmas: “Maybe the laziest and shoddiest family holiday fare on film ever perpetrated. No glowing memories to be found here at all.”

USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (SR): “It’s difficult to discern which is worse in USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage—the torturous plotting or the Sharknado-grade CGI effects. Less challenging is understanding why the film is, after a token theatrical run, headed straight to VOD.”

Lazy Eye (SR): “This is a shallow snapshot of First World problems and feeble conflicts that makes you despair for the state of gay-themed drama, perhaps even more so because it's capably acted and assembled with a slick sheen.”