This Weekend at the Movies: Mutants, Mutants, Mutants

I’d be inclined to declare this whole weekend a massive multiplex fail if it weren’t for the fact that the only major release is actually getting really great reviews. And if you’re looking for something a little more low-key, this weekend is absolutely booming with opportunities provided you live in New York or Los Angeles. So onward we press into summer!

X-Men: First Class


Aside from its surprising ability to draw in very talented actors (its cast includes James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt, and January Jones), my hopes for this film were unfathomably low until a couple of weeks ago, when word got out that Matthew Vaughn’s fourth feature (he previously directed Layer Cake, Stardust, and Kick-Ass) was actually really, really good. I don’t know why it surprised me so; after all, I liked all of his films to varying degrees, but it seems like, at least this once, a film slipped through the famously rigorous Fox development process. Currently boasting an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is better than any superhero movie has faired since the 2008 one-two-three punch of Iron Man, Hellboy II, and The Dark Knight, X-Men: First Class is poised to make a big dent this weekend both culturally and financially. I’ll be wading through the masses tomorrow to find out for myself how it holds up. Join me!

Hit the jump to see what else is coming out this weekend in limited release, including one of my favorite films of the year thus far.

All right, there’s a little film coming out this weekend in a couple of theaters in New York and Los Angeles called Submarine. The debut feature of writer/director Richard Ayoade has been getting good reviews, rocking a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s about a boy trying to save his parent’s marriage while also trying to lose his virginity before his 16th birthday. Let’s hope the two don’t intertwine, shall we? It’s supposed to be funny in that quirky sort of way and touching in…well, that quirky sort of way. And the negative reviews tend to mostly say it’s just too quirky.

There’s a CGI animated movie opening called The Lion of Judah. I literally had not heard of this film until now. According to its tagline, it’s about “the lamb who saved the world!” According to its official website, it’s the story of Easter as seen through the eyes of the animals who were present when Jesus was born. According to Box Office Mojo, it’s opening in 81 theaters, but according to Fandango, none of those theaters are anywhere near Hollywood. Might explain why I haven’t heard of it.

If you live in New York, you can see the new Jean-Luc Godard film, Film Socialisme, which has had a habit of totally enraging everyone who sees it, including those who liked it. It’s rumored to be his final film, though, so if you want to claim you saw a new Godard film in its theatrical run, man, now’s your time to act.

In New York and Los Angeles, a lovely little film called Beginners (pictured above) is opening. It stars Ewan McGregor as Oliver, who’s trying to get ahold of himself after his father (Christopher Plummer), who revealed his homosexuality to Oliver in the last few years of his life, passes away. And it sounds terribly contrived and cutesy and it sort of is, but it’s a really earnest, heartfelt movie with great little moments and wonderful performances. Melanie Laurent (of Inglourious Basterds) also stars.

Other smaller releases include Beautiful Boy, with Michael Sheen and Maria Bello, which has been getting solid notices. Love, Wedding, Marriage is directed by Dermot Mulroney and stars Mandy Moore, and has been savaged by the few who have seen it. Two documentaries, Rejoice and Shout, about the history of gospel, and Women Art Revolution, about the feminist art movement, have been getting respectful reviews.

Finally, if you haven’t had the opportunity yet, Midnight in Paris expands to 147 additional screens while The Tree of Life begins its expansion across the country by hitting  San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Austin, Dallas, as well as additional theaters in New York and Los Angeles. Both have been getting incredible, enthusiastic reviews.

  

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