Barely a week into August, and the summer already seems endless, a notion reinforced by the extreme heat and increasing threat of West Nile Virus! Hope you are staying cool, enjoying the outdoors when you can, and soaking in some good movies. This weekend features a trio of new indie releases.
The Queen of Versailles may be the most intriguing. Lauren Greenfield’s documentary “follows a billionaire couple as they begin construction on a mansion inspired by Versailles,” according to the official synopsis. “During the next two years, their empire, fueled by the real estate bubble and cheap money, falters due to the economic crisis.” I’m sure we can all relate to that! Peter Simek at FrontRow has an insightful review; among his observations: “‘Where’s the guillotine?’ I found myself shouting at the screen at one point.”
Hailing from Russia, Elena, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev (The Return), is a drama that revolves around a plot that sounds like a thriller: “When a sudden illness and an unexpected reunion threaten dutiful housewife Elena’s potential inheritance, she must hatch a desperate plan.” Again, money changes everything.
The French-language drama Nuit #1 begins with an extended look at a couple’s physical intimacy, and then pulls back as the man and woman get to know each other. I suppose it’s “sex first, talk later.” Anne Edmond directed the Canadian production.
All three open at Angelika Dallas, joining holdovers Moonrise Kingdom, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Safety Not Guaranteed, The Intouchables, Killer Joe, and The Graduate.
At Angelika Plano, your choices are Beasts of the Southern Wild, Bernie, The Intouchables, Killer Joe, and To Rome With Love.
Bernie, To Rome With Love, Farewell My Queen, and my personal pick, Ruby Sparks will play for at least one more week at Landmark Magnolia, while The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel continues upstairs at the Inwood. If you’re young and/or an insomniac, you can try and stay awake for Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction at midnight; great movie, but midnight for a movie that runs 154 minutes? Have fun!
In Oak Cliff, the Texas Theatre has booked a variety of special screenings and parties, so check their site for specifics.
The Bourne Legacy tops the wide releases. It’s a reset of the series, with Jeremy Renner stepping into the lead role, with Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton playing key roles. My review at Twitch explains more — no spoilers!
If you’re a fan of Will Ferrell’s work with Adam McKay, chances are good that you’ll enjoy The Campaign, which isn’t so much a political comedy as it is a vehicle for Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis to riff on their various comic personas. Here’s my review at Twitch. James Wallace conducted a great video interview with the two stars for the Dallas Observer’s Mixmaster blog; check it out here.
Also out: Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in Hope Springs, with Steve Carell as a marriage counselor trying to help the long-term couple deal with intimacy issues. Generally, I’ve heard that it’s better than the ads make it sound; here’s a review by Dave White at Movies.com.