Movie Critics: Still Matter? Woody Allen, Lasse Hallstrom, Linklater

I have always claimed that critics and reviews are crucial for auteur films, middle-range pictures (biopics, issue-oriented features), independents, documentaries, and especially foreign-language films.

Foreign Language Film: Ida from Poland

As of today, the most impressive foreign language film of the year is Polish’s entry for the Oscar, “Ida.”

Lasse Hallstrom’s Food Film

How to explain the failure of “The Hundred-Foot Journey”?

DreamWorks’ “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” the story of a high-end French restauranteurs standoff with the proprietor of a new Indian restaurant, bowed to $11.2 million in 2,023 theaters in the U.S. and Canada. The film carries a $22 million production budget and traded heavily on the appeal of producers Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey. It’s a humdrum opening and the picture will need older crowds to continue to show up in the coming weeks if it wants to venture into the black.

“Lucy” secured fifth place with $9.3 million and now stands at $97.4 million domestically. It passes “He’s Just Not That Into You” ($93.9 million) as Scarlett Johansson’s highest grossing, non-Marvel movie.

The James Brown biopic “Get on Up” failed to attract audiences, falling 63% in its second weekend to $5 million. It has made a paltry $23 million so far.

Woody Allen

Woody Allen’s “Magic in the Moonlight” expanded from 65 to 170 screens this weekend, adding $803,922 to its $2.4 million total.

The Woodman’s latest has divided critics right in the middle: According to Rotten To,atoes, half of all the reviews have been favorable and the other half unfavorable.

IFC Films’ “Boyhood,” perhaps the biggest critical hit of the summer, continued to build on strong word-of-mouth. The indie darling expanded to 500 screens grossing over $2 million. Its total now stands at $10.7 million, making it the third-highest grossing Richard Linklater film, beyond only his more overtly commercial offerings, “School of Rock” and “The Bad News Bears.”