Happy New Year! This week at the movies, we’ve got a vengeful frontiersman (The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy) and haunted woodlands (The Forest, starring Natalie Dormer and Taylor Kinney). What do the critics have to say?
Alejandro González Iñárritu took home a boatload of awards last year — including a quartet of Oscars — for Birdman, which was as much a technical marvel as it was a showcase for stellar acting. Critics say his follow-up, The Revenant, is another expertly crafted piece of cinema, even if its onscreen brutality is sometimes difficult to watch. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as real life explorer Hugh Glass, who survives a vicious bear attack during an expedition. Left for dead by his fellow hunters, Glass crawls across the wilderness to safety and seeks retribution. The pundits say the Certified Fresh The Revenant is potent filmmaking, with stunning cinematography and a powerhouse performance by DiCaprio, though its unflinching portrayal of Glass’ punishing ordeal may be too intense for some.
The Aokigahara forest near the base of Japan’s Mount Fuji is infamous as the venue of choice for hundreds of people looking to commit suicide. In other words, it might seem an ideal locale for a horror film. Critics say The Forest, unfortunately, manages to botch the opportunity. Natalie Dormer stars as Sara Price, an American who learns her twin sister Jess (also played by Dormer) has ventured into Aokigahara and disappeared. In search of the truth, Sara travels to Japan and enters the forest herself, only to be confronted by ghostly visions. The pundits say The Forest begins with an intriguing premise but fails to deliver any genuine chills.
Melodramatic characters and soapy class struggles continue to keep Downton Abbey compelling as this celebrated series approaches its grand finale.
American Crime‘s intense second season infuses a complicated, topical story with genuine emotion, and patiently allows its narrative arc to develop without sacrificing momentum.
Also Opening This Week In Limited Release