Film Shorts

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Posted October 10, 2012 by KRISTIAN LIN in Film
Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman and David Oyelowo star in The Paperboy opening Friday in Dallas.Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman and David Oyelowo star in The Paperboy opening Friday in Dallas.

OPENING:

The Paperboy (R) Lee Daniels (Precious) adapts Pete Dexter’s novel about an investigative reporter (Matthew McConaughey) returning to his Florida hometown to find the truth about a decades-old murder. Also with Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, David Oyelowo, Scott Glenn, Macy Gray, and John Cusack. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Atlas Shrugged: Part II (PG-13) The sequel to last year’s non-hit features an entirely new cast, director, and writers continuing the adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novel of self-actualization. Starring Samantha Mathis, Jason Beghe, Esai Morales, Patrick Fabian, Kim Rhodes, Richard T. Jones, Diedrich Bader, John Rubinstein, Robert Picardo, Paul McCrane, and D.B. Sweeney. (Opens Friday)

Here Comes the Boom (PG-13) Kevin James stars in and co-writes this comedy about a burned-out high-school biology teacher who decides to raise money for his failing school by becoming an MMA fighter. Also with Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, Gary Valentine, Reggie Lee, and Greg Germann. (Opens Friday)

The Inbetweeners Movie (R) Based on the popular British TV sitcom, this movie stars Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, and Joe Thomas as four socially inept teenagers who go for a vacation in the Greek islands. Also with Emily Head, Lydia Rose Bewley, Laura Haddock, Tamla Kari, and Anthony Head. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The Other Dream Team (NR) Marius Markevicius’ documentary about the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team and its travails in representing a new nation. Starring Arvydas Sabonis, Sarunas Marciulionis, Rimas Kurtinaitis, Jonas Valanciunas, Donnie Nelson, and Bill Walton. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Sinister (R) Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) directs and co-writes this horror movie about a novelist (Ethan Hawke) who jeopardizes his family’s life when he finds home-movie footage capturing the murders of his new house’s previous owners. Also with Vincent D’Onofrio, Juliet Rylance, Michael Hall D’Addario, James Ransone, Clare Daley, and Fred Dalton Thompson. (Opens Friday)

Smiley (NR) Caitlin Gerard stars in this horror flick as a mentally troubled college student who believes she’s being stalked by a faceless killer with a smiley carved into his head. Also with Shane Dawson, Melanie Papalia, Andrew James Allen, Liza Weil, Roger Bart, and Keith David. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The Thieves (NR) Choi Dong-hoon’s caper film stars Lee Jung-jae as the leader of a group of Korean thieves who run into trouble while lying low in Macao after their latest heist. Also with Gianna Jun, Oh Dal-su, Simon Yam, Kim Hae-suk, Kim Hye-su, Kim Soo-hyun, and Angelica Lee. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

V/H/S (R) This anthology horror film is about a group of burglars who are hired to steal a rare videotape, only to find its owner dead and various creepy home movies playing on his TVs. Segments directed by Joe Swanberg, Ti West, Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, and Radio Silence (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, and Chad Villella). (Opens Friday in Dallas)

 

NOW PLAYING:

The Bourne Legacy (PG-13) New director Tony Gilroy and star Jeremy Renner take over the series and turn this installment into a deeply average spy thriller. Renner portrays another agent from the same program as Bourne who teams up with a virologist (Rachel Weisz) so he can get more of the magic pills that make him a superspy. Seriously, that’s the plot. The climactic foot and motorcycle chase through the streets of Manila is well-managed, but elsewhere Gilroy mangles the spy jargon and action sequences into incoherence. Renner is too expressive for what he’s given to do here; surely he has enough money by now to take a break from doing franchise pictures. Also with Edward Norton, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach, Donna Murphy, Oscar Isaac, Corey Stoll, Zeljko Ivanek, David Strathairn, Joan Allen, and Albert Finney.

Dredd (R) Faint praise: This is better than the 1995 Sylvester Stallone movie that also tried to bring John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s character to the big screen. Karl Urban takes over as the heavily armored judge, jury, and executioner who administers justice in a dystopian future society. He and a recruit in training (Olivia Thirlby, sadly miscast as a tough action heroine) are trapped in a 200-story apartment tower controlled by a drug lord (Lena Headey) and her murderous minions. It’s not unwatchable, and there are some surreally beautiful shots depicting the influence of a narcotic that slows down reality. You’d have to say, though, that The Raid: Redemption handled this whole premise better. Also with Wood Harris, Rakie Ayola, Deobia Oparei, Langley Kirkwood, and Domhnall Gleeson.

End of Watch (R) The chemistry between Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña is the best thing in this buddy-cop thriller that thinks it’s more groundbreaking than it is. They portray L.A. beat cops who film themselves as they patrol the city’s meanest streets. Writer-director David Ayer adopts a found-footage look that’s little more than a gimmick, although it does encourage freer and more spontaneous performances from the actors. Gyllenhaal and Peña have an effortless rapport as best friends, and their relaxed banter in the squad car (about coffee, women, and the differences between the social lives of Anglos and Latinos) is even more compelling than the movie’s shootouts and chase scenes. Also with Anna Kendrick, Natalie Martinez, David Harbour, Frank Grillo, Maurice Compte, Yahira Garcia, Cody Horn, and America Ferrera.

Finding Nemo (G)  Nine years after opening in theaters, Pixar’s film is re-released in 3D. This exhilarating, exhausting film is about a clownfish (voiced by Albert Brooks) who searches the ocean after his young son (voiced by Alexander Gould) is scooped up by a scuba diver. The movie’s delirious comic highs exist alongside ingenious action sequences that place the characters in constant jeopardy, and the hectic pace swirls it all together into one big, disorienting vortex. The cast, led by the inspired pairing of Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres as his bubble-brained sidekick, is skilled comically but plays the material as seriously as needed. This fable about the importance of letting kids grow up strays into dark territory, but it’s the brightest thing out there. Additional voices by Willem Dafoe, Allison Janney, Brad Garrett, Vicki Lewis, Austin Pendleton, Stephen Root, Barry Humphries, Andrew Stanton, Elizabeth Perkins, Eric Bana, Bruce Spence, John Ratzenberger, and Geoffrey Rush.

Frankenweenie (PG) Tim Burton returns to form with this animated remake of his 1984 live-action short film. Charlie Tahan voices a scientifically gifted middle school kid who uses an electrical storm to bring his beloved dog back to life after the animal is run over by a car. The animation firm of Mackinnon & Saunders provides some nice puppetry, and screenwriter John August makes some inspired additions to the original, like a provocative subplot involving a science teacher (voiced by Martin Landau). The climax shows Burton at his morbidly funny best. All in all, this is good enough to come off as an honest piece of entertainment instead of wheel-spinning pastiche. Additional voices by Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, James Hiroyuki Liao, Conchata Ferrell, and Martin Short.

Hotel Transylvania (PG) One of the all-time top five Adam Sandler movies, this animated film has him voicing Dracula as an overprotective dad and hotel owner who operates a resort for his fellow monsters that protects them and his own hundred-plus-year-old daughter, a mere teenager in vampire years (voiced by Selena Gomez), from the world of humans. Everything he holds dear is threatened when a chilled-out American backpacker (voiced by Andy Samberg) finds his way through the hotel’s front door. The movie loses its way near the end, wandering into some soggy family melodrama, but Samberg gives the movie a shot of friendly energy, and director Genndy Tartakovsky finds all manner of funny details in life at the hotel. You can take your kids to this one without hating yourself too much. Extra points for a well-placed Twilight joke. Additional voices by Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Jon Lovitz, Chris Parnell, and Cee-Lo Green.

House at the End of the Street (PG-13) It’s the old familiar story: girl meets boy, girl loves boy, girl discovers that boy is keeping his raving maniac sister who murdered his parents locked up in his basement. Jennifer Lawrence plays the new-girl-in-town {girl} here, and Max Thieriot is the ostracized boy whose sweet, sensitive nature beguiles the girl. {, who’s newly arrived in town.} Director Mark Tonderai does a fair job of balancing the romance of the earlier scenes and the action of the later scenes, but he can’t disguise the way the plot falls apart near the end. It’s only Lawrence’s presence that gives focus and depth to this otherwise rampagingly mediocre thriller. Also with Elisabeth Shue, Eva Link, Nolan Gerard Funk, Allie MacDonald, Jordan Hayes, and Gil Bellows.


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