New this Week: ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ ‘Shame’ and ’30 Minutes or Less (DVD)’

Hitting movie theaters this weekend:

Shame (limited) – Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale
Sleeping Beauty (limited) – Emily Browning, Rachael Blake, Ewen Leslie

Movie of the Week

Sleeping Beauty

The Stars: Emily Browning, Rachael Blake, Ewen Leslie
The Plot: A haunting portrait of Lucy (Browning), a young university student drawn into a mysterious hidden world of unspoken desires.
The Buzz: This film’s trailer contained more than a few subtle hints that Sleeping Beauty was to enact some very sinister sexual episodes, and a very creepy/harsh vibe was diffused throughout. I saw the film a few weeks ago and found that it fully lived up to its advertising.

The film was thoroughly dark, and had somewhat of a male-hating bent to it — I suppose that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d anticipated I would. There’s also a professed loathing of the wealthy therein, an assumption that all rich white men are sexual perverts — chalk another reason why I might have been rubbed the wrong way here (No, I’m not rich, just annoyed at the aforementioned suggestion). Emily Browning is winsome here, as per usual, and she’s responsible for carrying the entire film — which she did quite well. Beauty sees Browning continuing on with her trend of playing “institutionalized” and easily abused prey (Sucker PunchThe Uninvited).

All things considered, I found this film to be effective only its sexual creepiness. The cinematography was good, the casting fine, and the general mood relentlessly severe, however the story itself was a bit abstracted and consequently, a bit empty. A certain sense of foreboding emanates throughout the whole picture, but the film’s finale, however disturbing, is not the period at the end of the sentence that I was looking for. Browning’s character was the only bright shiny object here, and really that’s all she was, a beautiful shell, a soulless/penniless wandering sex toy. That was kind of a bummer too. I was hoping for more.

All things considered, I felt this film fell flat, ran a bit like a lame horse. That may have been the point though. The craftsmanship was excellent, no complaints there whatsoever. It was the subject matter however, that didn’t sit too well with me. Just a bit too edgy for my tastes perhaps? That and I had hoped for more of a concrete story, or at least something resembling a story. There’s not much here in the story department. Still, an interesting watch, a worthwhile exercise.

Sleeping Beauty opens this Friday in select cities. There are no wide releases this week.

Every Friday we’ll have new reviews of the latest films

TSR’s complete Film Review Database

New Blu-ray and DVDs released this week:

30 Minutes or Less (BD/DVD) – Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson
Another Earth (BD/DVD) – Brit Marling, William Mapother, Matthew-Lee Erlbach
Cave of Forgotten Dreams (BD/DVD) – Werner Herzog, Dominique Baffier, Jean Clottes
Horror Express (BD/DVD) - Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Alberto de Mendoza
One Day (BD/DVD) - Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson
Our Idiot Brother (BD/DVD) - Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel
Seven Days in Utopia (DVD) - Lucas Black, Robert Duvall, Melissa Leo
Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil (BD/DVD) - Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden

Blu-ray/DVD of the Week

30 Minutes or Less

The Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson
The Plot: Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery guy, strap a bomb to his chest, and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank or else
The Buzz:  This isn’t my typical fare for DVD of the Week, but 30 Minutes Or Less does have got a lot going for it. I haven’t seen this one yet, but I’m excited to based on the fact that it’s helmed by director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) and stars Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Zombieland). I should warn however, this film floundered at the BO. This was Michael Diliberti’s first screenplay, so perhaps that had something to do with the apparent lackluster results. But take all these blasted critics out of the picture, and I’d say this film looks to have some pretty good writing and an interesting/funny story to tell. The only real catch here (f0r me) is Danny McBride. Sure, he’s hilarious, but he also plays the same character in every single thing he’s ever done. I for one, am very tired of his schtick. Anyone else out there tired too? I think it’s time to give someone else a chance. That’s a minor complaint though, I guess, and I’m sure he’ll have his moments in 30 Minutes Or Less.

1 Comment

  1. Michelle says:

    I saw ‘Another Earth’ in the theater and I recommend it (amazing scene with a guy playing a saw – how many movies have that?! You can listen to the ethereal music from this scene on the composer’s website http://www.scottmunsonmusic.com/news/music-in-film-another-earth-soundtrack

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