Paranoia
Distributor:
Relativity Media
Director Robert Luketic's thriller "Paranoia" has a host of problems, but the biggest seems to be that no one in it is nearly paranoid enough. This is a film in which titans of industry discuss nefarious world takeover schemes with the discretion of Bond villains, tech whizzes work on top-secret military projects in the middle of dive bars, and corporate henchmen chase targets through crowded restaurants with guns drawn to deliver messages most people would send via text. Indifferently made and nearly tension-free, this Liam Hemsworth starrer should generate moderate opening weekend B.O.; after that, it would be well advised to look over its shoulder.
-- Andrew Barker
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(<a class=IFC)





Opens: Aug. 16 in theaters, on demand Aug. 23





Sundance's cinematography award went to this deliberately-paced Texas-set outlaw drama starring Rooney Mara, Ben Foster, Casey Affleck and Keith Carradine." src="http://pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/aint-them-bodies-saints.jpg?w=490&h=276&crop=1&#8243; />

Ain't Them Bodies Saints
Distributor: IFC Films
Bowing at Sundance, David Lowery's "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" landed with the excitement of a bold new voice, and yet, there's also something undeniably old-fashioned in his approach, suggesting a lost artifact freshly unearthed from the 1970s, or the origin story behind a half-forgotten folk ballad about criminal lovers whom prison couldn't keep apart. Slow as molasses but every bit as rich, Lowery's gorgeously shot third feature (following two tiny indies) may be too lyrical for mainstream expectations, though strong reviews and a star cast should make this romantic deconstruction of classic outlaw pictures a powerful indie player.
-- Peter Debruge
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Austenland
Distributor:
Sony Pictures Classics
Genial "Austenland" stars Keri Russell as a die-hard Janeite who hopes her real-world-incompatible dreams of Regency Era courtship will come true at the titular English literary theme park. Adaptation of young adult writer Shannon Hale's cleverly conceived first grown-up chick-lit novel likewise lightly amuses, though those hoping for refined wit more in line with the original prose lioness's creations may be taken aback by the generally broad humor here. Jerusha Hess' directorial bow will thus require marketing finesse, but as one of this year's most clearly commercial Sundance entries, the pic should attract buyers in various territories and formats.
-- Dennis Harvey
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The Patience Stone
Distributor:
Sony Pictures Classics
Sensual and horrifying, "The Patience Stone" plays like a mesmerizing, modern take on the tales of Scheherazade and a parable on the suffering of Afghan women. Afghanistan-born, France-based helmer Atiq Rahimi adapts his own novel set in a Muslim country torn apart by war, where a beautiful woman in her 30s cares for her comatose husband, relieving her burden by confessing her frustrations, dreams and desires. Featuring a tour-de-force performance by exiled Iranian thesp Golshifteh Farahani ("About Elly"), Eastern rhythms and Euro production polish, this opened-up chamber drama should engage niche arthouse audiences in the West without testing their forbearance.
-- Alissa Simon
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Cutie and the Boxer
Distributor:
Radius-TWC
Although Brooklyn-based artists Ushio and Noriko Shinohara may not be the first pair that come to mind when one is asked to name famous artist couples, charming observational docu "Cutie and the Boxer" should certainly garner them greater recognition. Capturing colorful lives dedicated to artistic practices that have so far garnered scant financial success, multihyphenate debut helmer Zachary Heinzerling's five-years-in-the-making pic is a warts-and-all portrait of love, sacrifice and the creative spirit, which should please auds who frequent the alternative exhibition circuit of cinematheques and art museums, before it segues to broadcast and other home formats.
-- Alissa Simon
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Herblock: The Black & the White
Distributor:
TSC Distribution Services
Herbert Lawrence Block, the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist who created his signature by compressing his name, is the subject of a warmly celebratory portrait in "Herblock: The Black & the White." But wait, there's more: While detailing the decades-long career of the Washington Post illustrator who sometimes drew blood while drawing 13 successive U.S. presidents, documaker Michael Stevens also constructs what amounts to a history lesson in 20th-century progressive political philosophy. Limited theatrical exposure should generate favorable buzz for the pic's eventual release in home-screen formats. Moreover, "Herblock" doubtless will have a long shelf-life as a college-level teaching tool.
-- Joe Leydon
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Inch'Allah
Distributor:
Entertainment One
A sober, intelligently made drama, "Inch'Allah" offers a strong albeit deeply depressing look at the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians chafing under occupation. Tackling incendiary subject matter in a realist style, Quebecois writer-helmer Anais Barbeau-Lavalette tells an occasionally too-neat story from the perspective of a young obstetrician who is working at a United Nations clinic in the Ramallah refugee camp, but living in Jerusalem. Sure to be controversial for putting a human face on an inhumane act, the pic reps niche arthouse material for brave distribs.
-- Alissa Simon
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Standing Up
Distributor:
ARC Entertainment
Original title:
"Goat Island"
Quietly screened in the Cannes market the same day Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" kicked off the fest proper, "Standing Up" offers an alternate, more realistic tale of two summer-camp runaways roughing it in the woods alone. Based on Brock Cole's controversial young-adult novel "The Goats," this low-budget passion project from "Eagle Eye" director D.J. Caruso offers a practical solution to the issue of adolescent bullying, as its two young protags respond to a case of vicious hazing not with despair or retaliation, but through teamwork and character-building. Marketing challenges aside, this quality coming-of-ager deserves a proper release.
-- Peter Debruge
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This Is Martin Bonner