To see or not to see? Here’s a handy little cheat sheet of five of the week’s new releases, with a positive review and a negative review for each – because it’s always good to keep up with the literature.

1. The Counselor (Director: Ridley Scott)

counselorThumbs up:

The Counselor achieves the almost unheard-of daily double of giving us the most outrageous sex scene of the year AND the most unforgettably brutal murder of the year. This is a badass journey from start to finish.”– Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

Thumbs down:

“Whatever his strengths in print, McCarthy clearly doesn’t understand how drama and suspense work onscreen, pouring most of his efforts into crafting impenetrably baroque conversations between loosely sketched stereotypes, wrong-headedly convinced that confusion and a growing sense of dread are sufficient to keep us riveted.” –Peter Debruge, Variety


2. Blue Is The Warmest Color (Director: Abdellatif Kechiche) (MovieMaker‘s Editor’s Pick Review here)

bitwc_280x415_02Thumbs up:

“Mr. Kechiche’s style is dizzy, obsessive, inspired and relentless, words that also describe Adèle and Emma and the fearless women who embody them. Many more words can — and will — be spent on “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” but for now I’ll settle for just one: glorious.” – A.O Scott, New York Times

Thumbs down:

“(Mr. Kechiche is) as bad as the male character who prattles on about “mystical” female orgasms and art without evident awareness of the barriers female artists faced or why those barriers might help explain the kind of art, including centuries of writhing female nudes, that was produced.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times


3. Bastards (Director: Claire Denis)

Bastards_posterThumbs up:

“Conditioning the audience to find dread in every seemingly innocent gesture, the film turns even the simplest touch between family members into something tinged with menace.” Jesse Cataldo, Slant Magazine

Thumbs down:

“Denis’s drama intrigues more than it actually delivers . . . Sleight of hand is all well and good. But sooner or later a film must pay up.” Xan Brooks, The Guardian



4. I Am Divine (Director: Jeffrey Schwarz)


Thumbs up:

“An enjoyably naughty trip through Divine’s career that happily makes time to introduce us to Glenn Milstead, the sweet kid and fledgling hairdresser who transformed himself so daringly.” – John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter

Thumbs Down:

“It feels like a veiled apology for Babs Johnson and other exercises in bad taste. In my book, the filthiest person alive will always win the prize.” – Steve Davis, Austin Chronicle



5. Spinning Plates (Director: Joseph Levy)


Thumbs up:

“Framed as a profile of three eateries, Spinning Plates is most satisfying as portraits of three very disparate families in the same line of work.” – Inkoo Kang, The Village Voice

Thumbs down:

“The overall effect is not unlike watching a chef de cuisine experimenting in his off-hours; not everything takes, but you still come away with a pleasingly stimulated palate.” – Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York


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