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« 'My Beautiful Laundrette' for the UK stage| Main| 75th Anniversary: Double Indemnity »
Friday
Jul 12 2019

New this weekend: "The Farewell"and "The Art of Self Defense"

The alligator thrillerCrawland the buddy comedy Stuber are the new wide releases this weekend but let us now direct your attention to the new films in limited release today,as we reviewed both during their festival runs...

The Farewell(in 4 theaters,platforming from there.If you're in NYC or LA do not miss it this weekend)
Lulu Wang's autobiographical dramedy is about a woman who immigrated to the states when she was little (Awkwafina) returning to China to see her dying grandmother one last time.The catch is that the grandmother doesn't know she's dying and thinks everyone is in town for a wedding.If this film performs well in its platform release --  and that's a big if since the movie is mostly in Chinese and moviegoers are less and less adventurous these days -- it could be a major Oscar ticket for A24.It's a wonderfully specific story that has universal emotional hooks.Lulu Wangis the real deal,folks.

From Murtada's Sundance review...

When reality forces families to disperse,the push/pull of old vs new country can get contentious,emotional,and raw.Writer/director Lulu Wang captures this exact tension acutely.She also writes with love and authenticity about family soThe Farewellhits an emotional bullseye.

The Art of Self-Defense(in 7 theaters,with a major expansion next week)
After a violent mugging,Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) takes a karate class but his new sensei (Alessandro Nivola) has some questionable and disturbing teaching methods.

From Abe's SXSW review...

[Eisenberg's characters]never vary all that much from his recognizable on-screen persona.It's not a surprise to see him trampled on both literally and metaphorically,and the look of shock in his eyes as he experiences Sensei's particular teaching style indicates just how uncomfortable he is in his own skin.Yet where Eisenberg truly shines here is when his character is pushed to be someone else and abruptly shifts his behavior,expressing rage and hatred with expert deadpan delivery.

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Reader Comments (10)

What about a post on Crawl.Somehing different for thefilmexperience.

July 12,2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

^ If the alligator were played by Isabelle Huppert posters would be asking about her chances at an Oscar nod.

July 12,2019 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

V funny.

July 12,2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I'm watching The Farewell tomorrow.Really excited for it after reading Murtada's interview.

July 12,2019 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

@Amy

I don't know you but I love you for that post - hilarious!(B/c it's true)

July 12,2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

BTW The Farewell sounds really lovely.Saw the preview at the theater this week and we were all unanimous in that it was a Definite Must See.

July 12,2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I really want to see both of these movies,especially The Farewell,but they haven't opened here yet,alas.

July 12,2019 | Unregistered CommenterLynn Lee

I understand the attraction to The Farewell,as my screening audience last Thursday demonstrated,but it's a predictable film in which every tear is telegraphed in advanced and the performances (at best okay) don't compensate.

July 13,2019 | Unregistered CommenterAlfred

Alfred -- but predictability is not a flaw if you're not trying to be surprising.To me everything felt inevitable about the situation so I didn't view it going where it was expected to go was in any way a problem.

July 13,2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel --

You're right about predictability.I guess I wanted more than "feel-good Asian-American comedy -- you'll laugh,you'll cry!"

July 14,2019 | Unregistered CommenterAlfred

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