I cannot think of another time in the past few years that there hasn’t been a single nationwide release over a weekend. The widest opener of the week lands on a whopping 54 screens. Most of us won’t have these titles playing nearby, which makes it a perfect time to play catch-up on some the greats that we may have missed.
Two of this week’s indie titles are filthy, sex-based dramas. The first of the two, ‘Shame‘, is about a sex-addicted man (Michael Fassbender) whose philandering ways are thrown out of whack when his sister (Carey Mulligan) unexpectedly moves in with him. Fassbender appears to be the ‘Dexter‘ of sexual exploits. He’s created a ritual around his dark character flaw. ‘Shame’ has been rated NC-17 for “some explicit sexual content.” From what I hear, you can expect a lot of full frontal male and female nudity accompanied by several graphic sex scenes. That sounds like an uplifting holiday movie to me!
The second title is the Cannes contender (not to be confused with “Cannes winner”) ‘Sleeping Beauty‘. No, this isn’t a sexy take on the fairy tale or the Disney animated classic. Instead, it’s about a young girl (Emily Browning) who becomes an upper-class prostitute with a unique gimmick – whenever she’s hired by a “john,” she takes a powerful sedative that knocks her out, allowing pervy old guys to do whatever they want to her lifeless body. Gross, right? ‘Sleeping Beauty’ is currently unrated, but I hear that its content is also NC-17-worthy. Where ‘Shame’ is getting Oscar buzz for its performances, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ is getting nothing. Considering that it premiered at Cannes with mostly bad reviews and didn’t win a single award, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ doesn’t seem like one to rush out and see.
Even though ‘Shame’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’ seem to be receiving the most buzz this weekend, they aren’t even in the top three widest opening films. The widest release is the heavy-handed Indian action flick ‘I Am Singh‘, which shows the effect of racism and racial profiling against any foreign-looking person wearing a turban in America after 9/11.
The Mexican comedic Christmas movie ‘Pastorela‘ gets the second-widest opening of the week. It tells the story of two men who duke it out when the local priest recasts their traditional roles in the annual Nativity play.
The third widest opener is the drama ‘Answers to Nothing‘. This ensemble piece sounds like a rip-off of ‘Crash’, where a bunch of different characters are eventually linked together by a single thing… No, not racism. This time it’s child abduction. Even better, right? Just when you thought he was gone for good, Dane Cook plays one of the leads alongside Elizabeth Mitchell, Julie Benz and Zach Gilford – or in other words, a bunch of television actors.
Having seen the trailers for all five films and having trustworthy sources who have seen a few of them, your best bet this weekend would be to catch up on some of the actually-good movies that you haven’t had the chance to see yet: ‘The Muppets’, ‘Hugo’, ‘Arthur Christmas’, ‘The Descendants’ or ‘My Week with Marilyn’.