This week, a light slate is highlighted by a landmark limited series in HBO’s version of “Watchmen.” Beyond that? Well, there frankly isn’t too much else. Read on to see for yourself.
PICK OF THE WEEK
What Lindelof and his team have accomplished is stunning in scope, sleek and magnificent in style. Maybe the comic truly was unfilmable. Or maybe Zack Snyder accomplished the impossible with his 2009 film. Regardless of whether you think that was a success or a misfire, the series is a perfect way to pay homage to the source material, without attempting to reinvent something that was only ever intended for the page.
“Watchmen” is a true achievement. From Regina King‘s perfect leading role on down, it all just works. If you missed it on HBO or are eager to revisit the show, you now have the opportunity!
Total Box Office: N/A
Major Awards: Won Best Actress in a Drama Series (for King) at the Critics Choice Awards
For today’s Vintage pick, it makes perfect sense to tie into our top pick. So, getting the nod here is “Watchmen,” Zack Snyder’s slavish adaptation of the graphic novel. Some found it to be mesmerizing. Some found it to be creatively inert, due to its devotion to the source material. The truth resides somewhere in the middle, but some of the raves were quite enthusiastic. For example, Roger Ebert was quite impressed by it, as you can see below:
Another bold exercise in the liberation of the superhero movie.
Both versions of “Watchmen” are worth your time, albeit for very different reasons.
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here is what else is being released today, aside from the sole recommended title in the limited series version of “Watchmen.”
A Russian drama that fell short of an Academy Award nomination last year, “Beanpole” now can build a fanbase removed from Oscar attention. It’s a grueling watch, but a worthwhile one, especially to see the start of a potentially fascinating career from filmmaker Kantemir Balagov. Here’s a bit from our New York Film Festival review:
“Beanpole” is a calling card for filmmaker Kantemir Balagov, who is just 26 years old. Despite the young age, his maturity behind the camera gives the movie a ton of narrative heft. It’s just as easy to believe that this was helmed by a crusty veteran who grew up in the shadow of World War Two. However, this was directed by someone who wasn’t born until after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Those looking for something much heavier than “Watchmen” may want to give this a look.
This historical drama sees Angus Macfayden reprise the role of this title character, whom he played in “Braveheart.” While the actor gives his all, the production, on the whole, is thoroughly mediocre, and works more as Macfayden scratching an itch than anything particularly memorable. The Hollywood Reporter was unimpressed:
It’s easy to understand Macfayden’s desire to reprise one of his most important screen roles… Despite this, however, Robert the Bruce doesn’t represent a notable addition to the Braveheart legacy.