Opening This Week: Anomalisa and The Revenant
Posted on January 4, 2016 at 3:49 pm
There were no major national releases in movie theaters last week, and this week’s releases are not entirely “new” — their titles may be familiar from critics’ end of year top ten lists. Both had “qualifying” limited releases so they can be considered for Golden Globes, Oscars, and Broadcast Film Critics awards. But both will now be available to audiences across the country for the first time.
“The Revenant” stars Leonardo diCaprio and Tom Hardy in a fact-based story of survival and revenge in the American frontier of the 1830’s. It is directed and co-written by “Birdman’s” Alejandro González Iñárritu, with astonishing cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki. DiCaprio plays a trapper/guide left for dead after he is ravaged by a bear. He makes it back to camp in an extraordinary act of determination and courage. “Revenant” means ghost or spirit of someone who has died.
“Anomalisa” Charlie Kaufman (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Being John Malkovich”) wrote and co-directed a stop-motion animated story of loneliness, isolation, and the competing urges for and against true intimacy. The title is a portmanteau (combination of two words) — Lisa is a character voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh whose unique characteristics (possibly temporary) make her an anomaly. Like all of Kaufman’s work, it is challenging, imaginative, and darkly funny. Here animator Carol Koch talks about creating the stop-motion characters.