Film

“Distant Voices, Still Lives” and “Let the Corpses Tan” Top This Week’s Must-Watch Movies

Also, Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder reunite in “Destination Wedding”

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Each week, the Village Voice reviews the dozen or so films that open in theaters both locally and nationwide. Because we understand that you probably won’t read every single one of these reviews (although we think you should give it a try), here’s the definitive guide to what you should watch.

You Should Definitely Watch

DISTANT VOICES, STILL LIVES

“Like Davies’s spiritually aligned and similarly song-rich The Long Day Closes (1992), Distant Voices, Still Lives opens with a downpour; here, the raindrops fall on a front step stocked with fresh milk bottles. Unlike that later movie, which maintains a mostly childhood-specific p.o.v., Distant Voices, Still Lives loops with abandon through the years and personalities, observing deaths, births, hospital visits, weddings, holidays.” — Danny King (full review)

LET THE CORPSES TAN

“Most of the story takes place within a tense 24-hour shootout among the ruins in the hills. Characters are split up into different bunkers and lookouts, and the story will often rewind itself to examine the same scene from a different character’s point of view. This method also allows viewers to gain a surety of space — the ruins are almost labyrinthine.” — April Wolfe (full review)

Worth Watching

THE LITTLE STRANGER

“Like many gothic tales, The Little Stranger hangs tantalizingly between genres: It has elements of haunted-house thriller, of doomed romance, of psychological thriller, of historical allegory. This also presumably makes it a hard sell, as it never quite fully becomes any of these things.” — Bilge Ebiri (full review)

PICK OF THE LITTER

“As the filmmakers check in intermittently on the progress of all five sweet, sweet, good, good boys and good girls, yes they are, the critic’s mind might start worrying over questions like, ‘Wait, why did this one rambunctious puppy get moved to a new family?’ or ‘Why don’t the filmmakers slow down and show us what exactly the day-to-day life of these volunteer trainers is like and how much work goes into it?’ But, no dopes, the filmmakers instead emphasize the puppies themselves — such good boys and girls they are! — and the high emotions shared by their temporary human companions at meetings and partings.” — Alan Scherstuhl (full review)

The Rest

DESTINATION WEDDING: “In Destination Wedding, nary a human being outside the forever-bantering co-stars utters a single word in the hour-and-a-half running time.” — Danny King (full review)

ACTIVE MEASURES: “Active Measures is an assault on the eyes, the ears, the mind. By coming on so strong, so fevered, Bryan achieves the dubious feat of making his host of documented facts, reasonable inferences, and alarming subjects for further research all seem seem less persuasive than if they had been presented more soberly.” — Alan Scherstuhl (full review)

OPERATION FINALE: “In Operation Finale’s best scenes, Weitz dramatizes the tension that’s always there in Isaac’s face, emphasizing the difference between the breezy caper films we might wish we could live in and the brutal messiness of actual life.” — Alan Scherstuhl (full review)

REPRISAL: “You can tell that the filmmakers only had Willis for a limited number of days during filming. Despite sharing top billing with Grillo, the man only shows up in a few scenes — mostly all set in the same interior location — giving the minimum number of fucks.” — Craig D. Lindsey (full review)

INVENTING TOMORROW: “Though [director Laura Nix’s] film shares a lot with the hit student-achievement doc Spellbound, her focus on the [International Science and Engineering Fair] somewhat blunts her impact. We’re privy to the students’ backgrounds and get a tiny glimpse into their futures, but the film skims a lot in favor of showcasing the ISEF gathering.” — Daphne Howland (full review)

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