This weekend's Halloween-y releases, led by The House of the Devil and the likely box office winner, Michael Jackson's This Is It, are covered here; see below for a roundup of current festivals, events, series and the like. Coverage of the coverage of what's left to go out and see, then, the increasingly quaint traditional theatrical releases, follows.
"At one point during Gentlemen Broncos, a misfire from the filmmakers who brought the world Napoleon Dynamite and, more happily, Nacho Libre, I began to wonder how many evacuations a comedy can deliver before they ruin the joke," writes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. "The problem, of course, as great gross-out comedies from Monty Python's the Meaning of Life to American Pie have proved time and again, has nothing to do with waste matter and everything to do with timing, good jokes and characters you can laugh with and at, all mostly missing from Gentlemen Broncos."
"Point by point," counters Richard Brody, who's written the New Yorker's review, Dargis "misses what's going on.... What's at stake isn't just whether she gets Gentlemen Broncos - a strange and personal religious vision - wrong; it's what the role of the critic is."
He explains. Meantime, more from Simon Abrams (L), Alonso Duralde (MSNBC), David Edelstein (New York), David Fear (Time Out New York), Scott Foundas (Voice), Gary Goldstein (Los Angeles Times), Sean O'Neal (AV Club), Mary Pols (MSN Movies), Andrew Schenker (Slant) and Armond White (New York Press). And Robert Abele onterviews director Jared Hess for the Los Angeles Times.
"The Boondock Saints filmmaker Troy Duffy certainly makes for an easy target," begins Aaron Hillis in the Voice: "at least his former friends thought so when they made the 2003 doc Overnight, a rise-fall-and-turnaround portrait of Duffy's hubris and recklessness during the making of his first and only film." As luck would have it, Aaron got to ask Duffy about this very doc in his interview for IFC and the auteur becomes a little, well, testy: "I'm going to sit here and get in a grudge match with two little fucks that I helped out?"
As for the sequel at hand, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, the Philadelphia Weekly's Matt Prigge finds that it's "basically Boondock 1, only with the addition of a minstrelly Mexican comic relief (Clifton Collins, Jr), Peter Fonda with an Italian accent and hammy Willem Dafoe replaced by hammy Julie Benz, whose show Dexter offers a complex, unsettling view on vigilantism that renders these films even more obviously bullshit. Please let its blowhard filmmaker be stupid enough to piss off the few industry friends he has left."
More from Mike Hale (NYT), Nick Schager (Slant), Benjamin Sutton (L) and Keith Uhlich (TONY). And Jenni Miller interviews Duffy for Cinematical.
"A finely graded legal thriller, Storm effectively builds its moral and political investigation into the fabric of its central court case," writes Andrew Schenker in Slant. "Taking the atrocities of the Bosnian wars as its point of inquiry, Hans-Christian Schmid's film weighs the legacy of the past against the promise of the future and dramatizes, through the legal proceedings on display, the process by which a balance may be struck between the two." More from Andrew Grant (TONY), Stephen Holden (NYT) and Nicolas Rapold (Voice).
"Most movies about South Africa's racially charged history are told through the eyes of non-African A-listers (think Kevin Kline in Cry Freedom, Juliette Binoche and Samuel L Jackson in In My Country)." Kevin B Lee, reviewing Skin for TONY: "Rectifying this oversight is the one thing going for Anthony Fabian's biopic of Sandra Laing ([Sophie] Okonedo), a dark-skinned woman born to white-skinned parents ([Sam] Neill, [Alice] Krige) and thus caught in the rigid racial laws that divided the country for decades." More from Manohla Dargis (NYT), Nick Schager (Slant), Ella Taylor (Voice) and James van Maanen.
Nicolas Rapold in the Voice on Looking for Palladin: "Andrzej Krakowski pegs his water-treading labor-of-love indie to the always cool but here too blithe Ben Gazzara, playing a reclusive screen legend dodging a pushy agent. Guatemalan location-shooting is the only other attraction." More from Diego Costa (Slant) and Stephen Holden (NYT).
Andrew Schenker in Slant: "An Irish-set comedy-drama, Turning Green is not particularly comic or compellingly dramatic, but it's at least somewhat Irish - albeit in a superficial kind of way."
Vadim Rizov in the Voice: "I'd call Glenn Silber's Labor Day a well-intentioned but dull, video-ugly documentary if it weren't partly financed by its subject, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); that just makes it a crappy infomercial." More from Mike Hale (NYT), Mimi Luse (L) and Nick Schager (Voice).
"The experience of watching How to Seduce Difficult Women is best exemplified by its opening sequence, in which the English-challenged Mo (Jonathan Hova) harasses random women on a New York City street." Jeannette Catsoulis in the NYT: "Inept, immature and terminally irritating, Mo is the kind of persistent clown who only responds to a slap in the kisser; would that the film were as easy to banish." More from Joseph Jon Lanthier (Slant) and Vadim Rizov (Voice).
"Beginning with its title - You Cannot Start Without Me - Allan Miller's portrait of Russian Maestro Valery Gergiev examines both the basic and abstract purposes that conductors serve, using Gergiev as a model of what elevates one to greatness." That's Michelle Orange in the Voice (more from David Denby in the New Yorker) and this one doesn't open until Monday. At Symphony Space.
The current Philadelphia Weekly features two pieces on locally produced films, Matt Prigge's on Tom Quinn's "keenly observed" The New Year Parade and FH Rubino's on Camille Quinones Miller's adaption of her mother's novel, Uptown Dreams. Mark Mauer talks with Quinn for the Philadelphia City Paper.
To the west coast and Dennis Harvey in the San Francisco Bay Guardian: "A first feature for director Richard Harrah and writer Steve Allrich, The Canyon falls firmly within that vacation-from-hell subgenre recently capped by the very clever, funny, and fairly freaky A Perfect Getaway. (None of which adjectives apply here, alas.)"
The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw finds Cristian Mungiu's portmanteau collection Tales from the Golden Age, opening today in the UK, to be "comparable to Brecht's Fear and Misery of the Third Reich, yet the humour is drier, slyer." More from Wendy Ide in the Times. Earlier: Reviews from Cannes.
Images: Skin, and on top, Kerry Fox in Storm. On a related note, in Slate, Juliet Lapidos answers the question you, too, may have found yourself stumbling over: "Why Won't They Just Drag Karadzic to Court?"