Movies This Week: January 25-31, 2013


The Love God

Oh, if only Movie 43 had screened for press before it opens this weekend. The premise -- a search for the world's most banned movie -- and cast are tantalizing. (Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Seth MacFarlane, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Emma Stone, Richard Gere, Naomi Watts, Uma Thurman, Halle Berry and a dozen other famous faces -- yeah, even Snooki -- in the same movie? Yowsa -- I'm reminded of It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.) But prudent filmgoers should wait awhile to find out if this star-studded but unreviewed collection of comic shorts is any good. Let your friends take one for the team by seeing it first.

Two other new releases are critically vetted and worth a look, depending on your taste: Amour is outstanding but oh-so-sad, and Quartet is a Dustin Hoffman-helmed comedy that's garnering some good reviews but may not be for everyone.

The Love God? (pictured above) also may not be for everyone, but I'm recommending this Alamo Drafthouse screening because it features a live appearance by the patron saint of film criticism, Joe Bob Briggs. This 1969 comedy stars Don Knotts as the publisher of a bird-watcher's magazine that becomes a porn magazine in the hands of an unscrupulous business partner. I'm sure Joe Bob has plenty to say about this largely forgotten film, which screens Wednesday at Alamo Drafthouse Ritz.

Cine Las Americas continues its Latin American comedy showcase with Buena Vida (Delivery) (Good Life Delivery), a 2004 Argentine film in which a young man's home is overtaken by his girlfriend's family and their churro (a type of fried-dough pastry) bakery. Buena Vida (Delivery) screens Wednesday at the Mexican American Cultural Center, and the price is right: it's free.

This week's Austin Film Society Essential Cinema series offering is Norwegian Wood, an acclaimed 2010 Japanese film in which a man remembers his tumultuous past in 1960s Tokyo, his tragic outlook on life and the woman who tried to change it. Norwegian Wood screens Tuesday at the Alamo Drafthouse Village.

Movies We've Seen

Amour -- Winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes and a strong Oscar contender, this somber French drama explores a retired Parisian couple's marriage as they reach the ends of their lives. Debbie saw it and says, "Although Amour is a bit drawn out, this intimate and emotional portrayal will resonate with anyone who's had to care for an aging loved one." For a full review, we recommend Marjorie Baumgarten in the Austin Chronicle. (Arbor, Violet Crown)

Quartet -- Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut is set in a home for retired musicians, where the arrival of a resident's ex-wife disrupts an annual concert to celebrate Verdi's birthday. Elizabeth calls the plot "a bit of a muddle," saying in her review that Quartet "lags and stutters, with weird editing slowing it down and the main characters never getting fully fleshed out." (Arbor)

Other Movies Opening in Austin

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters -- This update of the fairy tale stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as bounty hunters Hansel and Gretel, who track and kill witches worldwide. (wide)

Movie 43 -- In this series of interconnected short comedy films, three kids search the Internet to find the world's most banned movie. The long roster of A-list talent is extraordinary, but be advised that Movie 43 was not screened for the press. Proceed with caution. (wide)

Parker -- This action film stars Jason Statham as a thief whose crew double-crosses him and leaves him for dead; seeking revenge, he disguises himself to hijack the crew's latest heist. (wide)