Cineast Movie Previews: ‘Muppets,’ ‘Anita,’ ‘Cheap Thrills, ‘Nymphomaniac’

Hoping to see a movie this weekend? Check out out Cineast previews to help you decide which film is worth your $11.50.

Nymphomaniac Volume I
Before you get excited about an opportunity to view porn under the guise of watching an art-house flick, there’s some bad news. Nymphomaniac Volume I is the work of Lars von Trier, the Danish filmmaker best known for inspiring episodes of confused boredom and for building a fan-base of Bjork-obsessed poseurs. On the other hand, there’s some good news, too: Like Tarantino’s Kill Bill, Nymphomaniac Volume I has a vengeful Uma Thurman, in this case beating the crap out of Charlotte Gainsbourgh. It promises to be the highlight of the picture. The other thing it has in common with Kill Bill is that it’s divided into two parts—Volume II is set to arrive in theaters in a few weeks.

Muppets Most Wanted
Zaniness abounds in Muppets Most Wanted, the latest entry from the thoroughly Disneyfied Muppet universe. You’ve got a villainous Tina Fey doing an Eastern European accent, you’ve got Ricky Gervais playing a tour manager with the last name “Badguy” (it’s pronounced Bahd-gee in French, he explains), and you’ve got an international criminal named Constantin who looks just like Kermit the Frog but speaks with a thick Russian accent. And, of course, you’ve got the reliably lovable cast of Muppets. Good for
the kiddies!

Anita
Over 20 years have passed since Anita Hill was called to Capitol Hill to testify against Clarence Thomas’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Many of today’s younger people have no idea who Anita Hill is, let alone the media circus that resulted from her explosive sexual-harassment allegations against Thomas. Anita, a new documentary from Freida Mock, recounts the episode from Hill’s perspective, using news footage from the period and more recent interview footage. The striking thing, revisiting the footage of Hill’s testimony from a contemporary vantage point, is the realization that there is NO WAY Clarence Thomas’s nomination would have been successful if it had happened today. Thomas’s mediocre tenure on the highest court in the land is therefore the legacy of a unique historical window in the late ’80s: on the one hand, a woman’s testimony about male harassment was taken seriously enough to reach the ears of Congress; on the other, racial guilt among the elite was strong enough to cause her testimony to provoke a backlash that redounded to her harasser’s
benefit.

Cheap Thrills
In a set-up that will send the squeamish racing for the exits, Cheap Thrills takes a broke guy who needs the money and pairs him with a sociopathic couple that sets up a series of cash prizes for a sequence of dares of ever increasing violence and danger. The black comedy features David Koechner, familiar from the Anchorman films.

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