Filml Shorts

0
Posted April 10, 2013 by KRISTIAN LIN in Film
The Company You Keep opens Friday.The Company You Keep opens Friday.

OPENING:

The Company You Keep (R) Robert Redford directs and stars in this thriller as a former 1960s Weather Underground terrorist who’s forced to run from the law after a young journalist (Shia LaBeouf) exposes his identity. Also with Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins, Brendan Gleeson, Brit Marling, Sam Elliott, Stephen Root, Jackie Evancho, and Anna Kendrick. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Disconnect (R) Henry Alex Rubin (Murderball) directs this drama of interlocking stories about characters struggling to communicate in today’s world. Starring Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Frank Grillo, Michael Nyqvist, Paula Patton, Andrea Riseborough, Alexander Skarsgård, Max Thieriot, Jonah Bobo, and Norbert Leo Butz. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Fists of Legend (NR) Kang Woo-suk’s film stars Hwang Jung-min (New World, Private Eye) as an ordinary South Korean man selected to compete for a cash prize in a martial arts tournament broadcast as a reality TV show. Also with Yu Jun-sang, Yoon Je-moon, Park Won-sang, Lee Yo-won, Jeong Wong-in, and Gu Won. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Language of a Broken Heart (R) Juddy Talt stars in and writes this comedy about a best-selling author who returns to his hometown after a romance goes bad. Also with Julie White, Kate French, Ethan Cohn, Oscar Nuñez, and Lara Pulver. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Not Today (PG-13) Cody Longo stars in this drama as a spoiled rich kid who helps an Indian man (Walid Amini) to find his daughter, who has been sold to sex traffickers. Also with John Schneider, Justin Baldoni, Wilson Bethel, Shari Wiedmann, and Cassie Scerbo. (Opens Friday)

Room 237 (NR) Rodney Ascher’s documentary interviews several movie fans with convoluted interpretations of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and what it ultimately means. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Scary Movie 5 (R) Malcolm D. Lee (Roll Bounce) takes over the horror movie spoof series. Starring Ashley Tisdale, Erica Ash, Simon Rex, Katrina Bowden, Sarah Hyland, Jerry O’Connell, Kate Walsh, Molly Shannon, Katt Williams, Terry Crews, Heather Locklear, Charlie Sheen, and Lindsay Lohan. (Opens Friday)

Trance (R) A slick, pretentious pile of nonsense. James McAvoy plays a London art expert who helps a bunch of bad guys steal a Goya painting from his auction house, gets hit in the head, and has to visit a hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson) to help him remember where the purloined artwork is. Director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) gives the movie a seductive look and soundtrack full of trance music — heh, heh. The script unfortunately hinges on ludicrous coincidences and character revelations that aren’t nearly as shocking as the filmmakers seem to think. Along with The Beach, this is easily Boyle’s weakest directing effort to date. Also with Vincent Cassel, Danny Sapani, Matt Cross, Wahab Sheikh, and Tuppence Middleton. (Opens Friday)

 

NOW PLAYING:

Admission (PG-13) Tina Fey’s new movie is being sold as a standard-issue romantic comedy, but it’s much heavier and more interesting than that. Adapted from Jean Hanff Korelitz’ novel, this stars Fey as a Princeton admissions officer who learns from a nontraditional school founder (Paul Rudd) that one of his students (Nat Wolff) is the baby she gave up for adoption 17 years ago. Besides tart observations on the university admissions process, the movie packs intriguing characters, including Lily Tomlin as Fey’s feminist-scholar mother. Yet the chemistry between Fey and Rudd doesn’t take, and the movie comes to think of the boy’s acceptance to Princeton as a matter of life or death for some reason. Despite its flaws, this is still the best Tina Fey movie to date. Also with Michael Sheen, Gloria Reuben, Christopher Evan Welch, Travaris Spears, Olek Krupa, Sonya Walger, and Wallace Shawn.

The Call (R) Halle Berry stars in this thoroughly sadistic little thriller as a traumatized 911 operator who involves herself with the case of a teenage girl (Abigail Breslin) who is abducted by a serial killer and places a call from the trunk of his car. We learn much about how 911 operators do their jobs and how they might respond in a situation such as this. Yet the heroine’s actions make absolutely no sense in the last 15 minutes of this thing, and the movie overall is histrionic and tawdry. Director Brad Anderson used to make such great romantic comedies; What’s he doing wasting his time on something like this? Also with Morris Chestnut, Michael Eklund, David Otunga, José Zúñiga, Justina Machado, Roma Maffia, and Michael Imperioli.

The Croods (PG) This fitfully inspired animated comedy is about a family of prehistoric cavepeople headed by an overprotective, risk-averse dad (voiced by Nicolas Cage) until their home is destroyed and they’re forced to journey many miles to find a new place. The movie’s fanciful prehistoric landscape is nice to see, and terrific voice work from both Cage and Emma Stone as his adventurous daughter gives the movie some personality. However, the movie never really hits any memorable highs or sustains any sort of momentum and is populated by bizarre creatures. Check out the graceful flock of cute, murderous little red birds. Additional voices by Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Chris Sanders, and Cloris Leachman.

Evil Dead (R) Uruguayan filmmaker Fede Alvarez cleverly reframes Sam Raimi’s 1981 camp horror classic as the story of a junkie trying to get clean. Jane Levy (from TV’s Suburgatory) stars as a recovering heroin addict who becomes possessed by a demon while trying to quit cold turkey at a cabin in the woods with her friends. Alvarez does a fair job of replicating Raimi’s over-the-top gross-out humor, and Levy excels as both the troubled druggie and as the murderous hellbeast, thanks to a rewarding script co-written by Juno’s Diablo Cody. As the heroine has to slay the demon version of herself, the movie plays like the fever dream of an addict going through the worst withdrawal ever. That’s a good thing. Also with Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Elizabeth Blackmore, Jessica Lucas, and Jim McLarty.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (PG-13) In this sequel to the 2010 hit, the commando unit is exterminated except for three soldiers (Dwayne Johnson, Adrianne Palicki, and D.J. Cotrona), who try to prove that the U.S. president (Jonathan Pryce) who ordered them killed is actually an imposter and a terrorist agent. Had the movie focused on that plot, or indeed any other, it might have been all right. Instead, the action scenes (including a swordfight on a zipline high in the mountains) pile on one another in no discernible order and contain so many huge guns and combat vehicles that you wonder who’s compensating for their masculine shortcomings. The movie is nonsensical and not nearly as cool as it thinks it is. Also with Lee Byung-hun, Elodie Yung, Ray Stevenson, Ray Park, Luke Bracey, Walton Goggins, Arnold Vosloo, RZA, Channing Tatum, and Bruce Willis.

The Host (PG-13) Spectacularly bad. This thriller is set in an Earth where sparkly, floating alien invaders called “souls” have taken over the bodies of most humans, turning them into peaceful, courteous, loveless automatons with a curious preference for white clothing and silver vehicles. Saoirse Ronan (Hanna) stars a human girl captured at the beginning of the film and implanted with one of the souls, only the implant doesn’t quite take. Her human personality and the soul carry on a running conversation on the voiceover track, and the device is so laughable and hokey that you wonder why no one told writer-director Andrew Niccol that it wasn’t working. This is based on a novel by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer. Somehow, it manages to be worse than any of the Twilight movies. Also with Diane Kruger, Max Irons, Jake Abel, Chandler Canterbury, Boyd Holbrook, Frances Fisher, and William Hurt.

Identity Thief (R) Just about everything in this comedy is spectacularly miscalculated. Jason Bateman plays a responsible, repressed milquetoast-y finance guy in Denver who travels to Florida to capture the con artist (Melissa McCarthy) who has stolen his identity. The list of this movie’s failures is long: the depiction of the con artist as an overweight, oversexed caricature; the subsequent attempt to turn her back into a real person; the movie’s left turn into an action flick when one of her victims turns out to be a crime lord who sends his thugs (Tip “T.I.” Harris and Genesis Rodriguez) after her. Bateman and McCarthy struggle valiantly to mine laughs from the material, but it’s all for little effect. Also with Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, Morris Chestnut, John Cho, Robert Patrick, Ben Falcone, and Eric Stonestreet.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (PG-13) Steve Carell stars in this less-than-incredible comedy as a Las Vegas stage magician who falls from grace because of his complacency and who has lost his audience to a loathsome hack (Jim Carrey). Amid predictable jokes about guys who wear eyeliner and sequins professionally, the movie does find an essential truth about performing, as Burt has to rediscover his love for his craft. Yet despite a number of gags that score, the movie never finds a groove or delivers on any of its set pieces, and Carell is too nice a guy to play the lecherous, diva-like Burt. This act needed polishing before it hit the big stage. Also with Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, Jay Mohr, Michael Herbig, Brad Garrett, Gillian Jacobs, and James Gandolfini.

Jack the Giant Slayer (PG-13) Better than any of the other recent films based on children’s fairy tales, this entirely bizarre take on the story of Jack and the beanstalk is an encouraging sign that Bryan Singer’s talent hasn’t entirely gone away. Nicholas Hoult plays the orphaned farmboy who volunteers to accompany a bunch of royal soldiers to rescue a princess (Eleanor Tomlinson) who’s trapped in his house after the beanstalk carries it up to the sky. The CGI giants are filthy, repellent, and somehow fascinating to look at, but Singer doesn’t let the effects overwhelm his actors. Hoult comes off best, a mix of swashbuckling and scared out of his mind by the mythical creatures. Though it’s too violent for younger kids, the movie deserves an audience. Also with Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Eddie Marsan, Ewen Bremner, and Ian McShane.

Jurassic Park (PG-13) Steven Spielberg’s 1993 dinosaur blockbuster holds up better than you might think in this 20th-anniversary 3D re-release. The script’s characters are poorly drawn (the kids especially, but the adults too), which is the biggest reason why the movie doesn’t rank with the director’s best work. Still, Spielberg’s ingenuity and flair for action sequences are on good display here — check the T. rex’s artfully stage-managed entrance or the scene with the van stuck in a tree. For a movie whose success was based on special effects that were cutting edge 20 years ago, this has aged rather well. Starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Ariana Richards, Joseph Mazzello, Bob Peck, Wayne Knight, and Samuel L. Jackson.

New World (NR) This grim, overlong Korean cop thriller stars Lee Jung-jae as a burned-out deep-cover agent inside the mob who’s torn between his callous police handler (Choi Min-sik) and his depraved, trashy, half-Chinese boss (Hwang Jung-min, providing the few notes of humor here). The movie owes an obvious and heavy debt to The Departed and/or its Chinese original, Infernal Affairs. The story’s thoroughly bound by the clichés of thrillers about cops who are in too deep, and by the time it starts to fiddle with them, too much time has gone by. Also with Park Sung-woong, Song Ji-hyo, Choi Il-hwa, and Lee Kyoung-young.

Olympus Has Fallen (R) Gerard Butler stars in this thriller as a haunted-by-failure Secret Service agent who infiltrates the White House after North Korean terrorists breach the perimeter and massacre everyone who’s supposed to protect the president (Aaron Eckhart). The only thing that’s done well is the staging of a large-scale, multiplatform, paramilitary assault on the White House, executed in scarily plausible detail by director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day). Everything else here is lame, jingoistic, obvious, and casually racist. Oh, and the plot is full of holes, too. Every story beat is shamelessly cribbed from Die Hard, and not well, but that 13-minute White House sequence is worth buying a ticket to a different movie and then sneaking into this one for. Also with Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott, Rick Yune, Robert Forster, Finley Jacobson, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, and Ashley Judd.

Oz the Great and Powerful (PG) A good-looking mess. Sam Raimi directs this movie that stars James Franco as a circus illusionist who is transported to the magical land of Oz, where he meets three magically empowered sisters (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams) and becomes the wizard. Raimi and cinematographer Peter Deming render Oz and its creatures in eye-popping color, but the movie is tone deaf, lurching from slapstick comedy to lyricism to action thriller at will. It misses badly, whether it’s aiming for pathos or cuteness — the talking monkey voiced by Zach Braff is a big mistake. The only cast member who looks comfortable is Williams, finding the balance of funny and ethereal that the rest of the movie lacks. Also with Bill Cobbs, Tony Cox, Abigail Spencer, Joey King, and Bruce Campbell.

Silver Linings Playbook (R) Bradley Cooper stars in this volatile, terribly funny comedy as a bipolar former schoolteacher and die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan who leaves a mental institution to move back in with his parents. Adapting a novel by Matthew Quick, writer-director David O. Russell (The Fighter, Three Kings) captures the rage and instability inside his characters by filming ordinary domestic scenes with a whirling fury. His approach spreads to his actors, including Robert De Niro, bringing more energy than he’s brought in 20 years to the role of the hero’s combative dad, and Jennifer Lawrence, deploying her fierceness for comic effect as a cop’s widow with her own mentally troubled history. This is Russell’s warmest and most likable film, a tribute to the unconditional love that binds you to your family and your football team. Also with Jacki Weaver, Julia Stiles, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, Paul Herman, Dash Mihok, and Chris Tucker.

Spring Breakers (R) As an act of storytelling, this movie is a failure. As a long-form Skrillex music video, it’s a roaring success. Harmony Korine’s fascinating piece of weirdness is about four bored college girls (Ashley Benson, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, and Rachel Korine) whose spring break in Tampa turns into a lurid spree of drugs, sex, and murder. Instead of treating this as a thriller, the director films it in a dreamlike fashion and manages to more or less sustain the mood of evanescent hedonism. James Franco turns up as a blinged-out, cornrow-sporting rapper who bails the girls out of jail, and he’s funny and compulsively watchable. The movie’s wacko high point comes when he sits at his white poolside grand piano and croons Britney Spears’ “Everytime” to three AK-47-toting hot chicks in bikinis and pink ski masks. I think that was a dream I had once. Also with Heather Morris, Sidney Sewell, Thurman Sewell, and Gucci Mane.

Temptation (PG-13) Early on, a therapist tells her patient, “I’m not judging you.” No, that’s Tyler Perry’s job. The filmmaker’s myriad issues reach pathological levels in this Fatal Attraction rip-off starring Jurnee Smollett-Bell as a young aspiring marriage counselor whose job at a matchmaking agency leads her to cheat on her solid, unexciting husband (Lance Gross) with a wealthy, charming social-networking mogul (Robbie Jones). Perry actually comes up with some perceptive stuff in the early going about how couples go stale, but then the movie degenerates into hysteria fueled by his typical need to punish professionally ambitious female characters, especially if they have sex outside marriage. This is truly reprehensible. Also with Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Williams, Renée Taylor, Ella Joyce, and Brandy Norwood.

 

DALLAS EXCLUSIVES:

Ginger & Rosa (PG-13) This autobiographical drama by Sally Potter (Orlando) stars Elle Fanning as a teenage girl growing up in 1960s London who discovers a terrible secret about her family and her best friend (Alice Englert). Also with Christina Hendricks, Alessandro Nivola, Timothy Spall, Jodhi May, Oliver Platt, and Annette Bening.

The Sapphires (PG-13) Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids) stars in this musical based on a true story about an Irishman who manages an Australian Aboriginal girl group singing Motown songs for U.S. troops in Vietnam in 1968. Also with Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell, Eka Darville, and Tory Kittles.

6 Souls (R) Julianne Moore stars in this supernatural thriller as a psychotherapist who discovers that a patient (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) has adopted multiple personalities who are all murder victims. Also with Jeffrey DeMunn, Frances Conroy, Nate Corddry, Brooklyn Proulx, and Brian A. Wilson.


0 Comments



Be the first to comment!


Leave a Response

(required)


8 × nine =