New films in theaters this week:
— “Crude” (not rated), a documentary feature about the so-called “Amazon Chernobyl” environmental disaster. With subtitles.
— “Invictus” (rated PG-13), a sports drama directed by Clint Eastwood, and starring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela.
— “The Maid” (not rated), a darkly comic drama about a determined servant to a Chilean family. Spanish with subtitles.
— “The Princess and the Frog” (rated G), Disney’s latest, an animated musical-fantasy based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.
The performances — particularly that given by Catalina Saavedra as the title character — are good in “The Maid.” The faux-documentary shooting style works against it, though, and the problematic third act nearly ruins the whole thing.
Poster art courtesy Warner Bros.
Freeman’s unconvincing South African accent is distracting, but he is still charismatic, and bulked-up co-star Matt Damon is quite good in “Invictus.” Besides, there are still some worthwhile moments.
“Crude” works as both a nonfiction film and as a legal thriller, and it has some of the best villains seen in any movie this year. (The filmmakers let the oil corporations condemn themselves with their own words and actions.)
Poster art courtesy Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The week’s best film is “The Princess and the Frog,” a welcome return to form for Disney’s traditional, hard-drawn animation division. It’s a warm, funny and tune-filled fantasy tale that will win over many audiences, both young and old.
Which, if any, of these movies fit into your weekend viewing plans?