Our movie-house winning streak continues, as this week delivers yet another collection of worthwhile options — from Davis Guggenheim's eye-opening documentary Waiting for Superman and Sam Taylor-Wood's John Lennon docudrama Nowhere Boy to the latest works from the irrepressible Jackass crew and the ceaselessly prolific Woody Allen. Even the right-wing “documentary” about the role government should play in our lives, I Want Your Money — which (not so) curiously didn't have an advanced press screening — looks intriguing/amusing if likely one-sided.
Counting this week's half-dozen openings, that's 27 traditional theatrical releases over the last month, almost twice the typical amount. Add in the Cincinnati Film Festival (CFF), whose daily programing climaxes with a 1 p.m. “Best of Fest” screening tomorrow (Oct. 16) at the Carnegie in Covington, and we have a multiplicity of cinematic offerings from which to choose.
Finally, as if that's not enough, Cincinnati World Cinema is back, this time collaborating with CFF at the Carnegie on Saturday to present a pair 2009 Cannes Film Festival favorites: Andrea Arnold's excellent coming-of-age family drama Fish Tank and Iranian filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi's illuminating No One Knows About Persian Cats, which features real underground Iranian bands risking harassment and even bodily harm in an effort to express themselves through song. (For more information, go to cincyworldcinema.org or cincinnatifilmfestival.com.)
So, as I said last week, apathy is not an option. Who knows how long this smorgasbord of options will last.
I WANT YOUR MONEY — A who's who of right-wing taking heads — everyone from Ohioan Ken Blackwell and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to spoiled rich boy Steve Forbes and online “journalist” Andrew Breitbart — appear in this documentary from director Ray Griggs that features animated versions of Barack Obama and Ron Reagan debating what role government should have in our lives. Given the people involved, I Want Your Money's point of view seems obvious. (Opens today at Esquire Theatre.) — Jason Gargano (Rated PG.) Review coming soon.
JACKASS 3D — Johnny Knoxville and his merry band of juvenile thirtysomething buddies — including Steve-O, Bam Margera and Chris Pontius — are back, inflicting all kinds of mayhem and bodily harm on each other, and all of it in three glorious dimensions. Longtime Jackass maestro Jeff Tremaine directs this sporadically funny showcase of male bonding. (Read full review here.) (Opens wide Friday.) — JG (Rated R.) Grade: C
NOWHERE BOY — Conceptual artist, photographer and filmmaker Sam Taylor-Wood takes audiences back to the early nowhere days of John Lennon (Aaron Johnson) in this dynamic docudrama based in part from the memoir Imagine This: Growing Up With My Brother John Lennon by Julia Baird, Lennon’s younger half-sister. Co-stars Kristin Scott Thomas. (Read full-length review here.) (Opens today at Esquire Theatre.) — tts (Rated R.) Grade: A-
RED — Here's another pound of cautionary proof supporting the theorem that "story is about thoroughness, not shortcuts." Director Robert Shwentke's adaptation of a DC Comics action/comedy graphic novel is nothing but a series of creaky narrative half-steps. The result leaves no cohesive story in which an audience can invest despite a cast that includes Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren. (Read full review here.) (Opens wide today.) — Cole Smithey (Rated PG-13.) Grade: D
WAITING FOR SUPERMAN — Documentarian Davis Guggenheim delivers the same level of cultural awareness about American education myths as his film An Inconvenient Truth brought forth regarding global warming. The filmmakers methodically introduce America's systemic public education crisis with data and graphs that show how the majority of U.S. high schools have become "Drop-Out Factories.” (Read full review here.) (Opens today at Esquire Theatre.) — CS (Rated PG.) Grade: A-
YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER — Woody Allen's latest reaches out to a thoroughly eclectic group of collaborators (Naomi Watt, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas, and Freida Pinto, to name a few here) for a tale of marital discord with the fickleness of fate reshuffling the deck against a multi-generational gaggle of would-be lovers. And while it doesn’t quite match the stellar Match Point or the fiery romance of Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Stranger is an alluring stop on Allen's long dark journey. (Read full review here.) (Opens today at Mariemont Theatre.) — tt stern-enzi (Rated R.) Grade: B-