LA Weekly introduces a new regular post that will give you the lowdown on films to see this weekend, with links to our film articles and reviews. This week:
J. Hoberman reviews Le Quattro Volte (The Four Times), calling it "grave, beautiful, austerely comic and casually metempsychotic...one of the wiggiest nature documentaries -- or almost documentaries -- ever made."
Nick Pinkerton reviews The Princess of Montpensier, and posits that the "finest Western you'll see this year is set in aristocratic 16th-century France, in the heat of Counter-Reformation."
Pinkerton also reviews Scream 4, writing, "There is a particular sort of stupid-acting-smart movie experience that can be achieved only through the reunion of David Arquette, Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell."
In his review of My Perestroika, Pinkerton notes that its "struggling to untie the personal-political knot makes for compelling oral history, even as [director Robin] Hessman occasionally overreaches to create anticapitalist anxiety."
Ernest Hardy previews the Indian Film Festival. "The festival contains three films whose titles contain the declarative "I am ...," and all three deal pointedly with issues of class or social struggle," he writes.
Andrew Schenker reviews American: The Bill Hicks Story and appreciates the man (and his work) more than the film: "Hicks' shtick is so good and his life so ordinary that it's hard to escape the feeling that we might've been better off just watching a compilation of the groundbreaking funny man's work."
In his review of Fly Away Ernest Hardy commends director Janet Grillo's ability to put the viewer in "the emotional and psychological grinder of what it means to have every hour of every day defined by the consuming demands of a child" but notes that it "could have been stronger if its antiseptic visual style...had been more adventurous in shouldering some of the weight of depicting the emotional and psychic anguish of the story."
Eric Hynes doesn't find much in the way of aesthetic merit in Wretches and Jabberers, a documentary on Autism that's "more info packet than story" though its "subjects are never less than entrancing, and genuine conflict arises whenever they attempt to communicate or complete a simple action."
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Nick Schager reviews Footprints and finds it "a cutesy, toothless variation on Mulholland Dr., one whose attempts to pay tribute to movie magic ultimately are undercut by stagey aesthetics and narrative theatricality."
Though one might hope an animated movie about parrot sex would be anything but dull, in his review of Rio Nick Schager laments that director Carlos Saldanha's film is "[t]oo timid to be either inspired or outrageously inept."
For Michelle Orange, Henry's Crime is "[a] low-blood-sugar heist movie set in the tumbleweed thoroughfares of downtown Buffalo...[with] a little too much in common with its aimless namesake."
And finally, another flop for Robert Redford, who Nick Pinkerton says in his review of The Conspirator "has become the browbeating professor he played in Lions for Lambs, dotting rhetorical i's for the audience in every scene, while failing to blow dust off The Conspirator's period setting."