Weekend movie guide: See it or flee it?
The best movie opening this week was made 60 years ago (Kurosawa's classic Rashomon). You'll take your chances with the others, though there's one movie to avoid this Valentine's Day: Valentine's Day.
The Lagoon unwraps a new print of this 1950 Kurosawa classic, which remains the definitive big-screen statement of the relativity of truth--as well as the best-known Japanese movie ever made. The story is simple: In 12th-century Kyoto, a ruthless bandit (Toshiro Mifune) ambushes a samurai warrior (Masayuki Mori) and his wife (Machiko Kyo), tying the man to a tree and raping the woman. But how exactly does the samurai die and the wife disappear? The bandit, wife, an eyewitness, and even the dead samarai all have different versions of what happened. (Lagoon Cinema)
City Pages was kinder than other critics to this film about Charles Darwin's writing of On the Origin of Species. It's not just a treatise on evolution, but a human story of Darwin's grief over the death of his favorite daughter and his somewhat distant love for his wife. (Edina Cinema)
City Pages: "Creation commits the sin of thoughtfulness, and is quite moving in the process. ... A visually lovely, solidly tasteful period piece. ... Paul Bettany is note-perfect as Darwin."
Star Tribune: 1.5 stars Pioneer Press: 1 star RottenTomatoes.com: 44% positive
MAYBE: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
A modern-day teenager (Logan Lerman) discovers that he is the son of the Greek god Poseidon, and that the Olympian gods are in an uproar because someone has stolen Zeus's lightning bolt. Pursued as a suspect, he embarks on a cross-country trip with his friends to track down the lightning thief and find his mother, who has mysteriously disappeared. (area theaters)
City Pages: "The film doesn't have any traits that qualify as having an actual personality. Even so, as long as the kiddies aren't too upset by the major liberties reportedly taken with the source material, it might be enough to distract them until Harry returns."
Star Tribune: 2.5 stars Pioneer Press: 3 stars RottenTomatoes.com: 54% positive
MAYBE: The Wolfman
It's got Benicio Del Toro, lush atmospherics, and chilling special effects, so it's probably on your list, but don't be surprised if you come out less than blown away. After acclaimed actor Lawrence Talbot (Del Toro) receives a letter from his brother's fiancee (Emily Blunt) informing him of his sibling's disappearance, he hightails it to the sprawling home of his estranged family, only to be bitten by the creature who did in his brother. (area theaters)
City Pages: "The Wolfman is full of sound, fury, and unintentional camp--and it's still bafflingly inert."
Star Tribune: 3 stars Pioneer Press: 2 stars RottenTomatoes.com: 31% positive
FLEE: Valentine's Day
Garry Marshall's embarrassingly star-studded stiff--an ensemble film of intertwining love stories--is long on talent but short on entertainment. (area theaters)
City Pages: "With so many stars and only so much celluloid to fill, each boldface name has barely more than a cameo's worth of screen time--hardly enough for even the Oscar winners (Jamie Foxx, Julia Roberts) to fully flesh out a character."
Star Tribune: 2.5 stars Pioneer Press: 1.5 stars RottenTomatoes.com: 16% positive
Next pages: Special screenings, art houses, and ongoing films