If you were blinded by the glare of "The Avengers" this week, which backed up high hopes by landing a solid three-star review from Globe critic Wesley Morris, you may have missed the release of another movie that packs a powerful, albeit far different, punch.
"This is Not a Film," a documentary shot by Iranian director Jafar Panahi while under house arrest for "assembling and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s national security," received the highest star-rating from our critics this week, earning a full four stars from Ty Burr, who call it "quietly devastating."
“This Is Not a Film” may be one of the most eloquent blows against a dictatorship ever filmed because it forces you to think about everything that can’t be said and everything that’s just off-screen. Panahi digs out his most recent banned script and tries to block it out on his living room rug with masking tape. The story’s about an Iranian girl whose parents lock her in the house to prevent her from going to college, and the ironies are unspoken but obvious. He reads the dialogue and takes a stab at acting out the parts. “Acting and reading aren’t an offense, are they?” he asks, only partly in jest.
While "This is Not a Film" is perhaps deserving of more attention, another movie that's release was overshadowed by "The Avengers" may deserve its quiet entrance. The British comedy-drama "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" received two stars, though Burr calls it "proof that art-house films can be as clichéd and soggily sentimental as the big-ticket items playing at the multiplex." The movie stars Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and "just about every aging English actor who didn’t make it into a 'Harry Potter' movie and a few who did" as British retirees in India. Writes Burr: "It’s predictable fluff, sometimes pleasantly so, at others times irritatingly."
About Movie Nation
ContributorsTy Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.
Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.
Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.
Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.
Take 2 reviews and podcast
Look for new reviews by Ty Burr and Wesley Morris at the end of each week in multiple formats.