Film Shorts

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Posted May 1, 2013 by KRISTIAN LIN in Film
"Iron Man 3" opens Friday."Iron Man 3" opens Friday.

OPENING:

Iron Man 3 (PG-13) Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is forced into hiding by a string of bombings masterminded by The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) in the series’ latest installment. Also with Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Jon Favreau, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale, Fan Bingbing, and an uncredited Mark Ruffalo. (Opens Friday)

The Angels’ Share (NR) Ken Loach’s latest film stars Paul Brannigan as a British small-time criminal who seeks to escape his dreary working-class life by opening a high-end whiskey distillery with his friends. Also with John Henshaw, Gary Maitland, Jasmine Riggins, William Ruane, Siobhan Reilly, and Roger Allam. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

King’s Faith (PG-13) Crawford Wilson stars in this Christian drama as an 18-year-old who tries to leave his gangster past behind him. Also with Lynn Whitfield, James McDaniel, Kayla Compton, Nicholas Americus Marino, Michael Ledbetter, and Mike Brownyard. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Kon-Tiki (PG-13) The Norwegian-language version of this film was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, but we get the simultaneously filmed English-language version of Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg’s epic about Thor Heyerdahl (Pål Sverre Hagen) and his journey across the Pacific on a wooden raft. Also with Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Tobias Santelmann, Gustaf Skarsgård, Odd Magnus Williamson, and Peter Wight. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Reality (R) The latest film by Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah) stars Aniello Arena as a Neapolitan fishmonger who grows dangerously obsessed with becoming a contestant on the Italian version of Big Brother. Also with Loredana Simioli, Nando Paone, Nello Iorio, Nunzia Schiano, Rosaria D’Urso, and Giuseppina Cervizzi. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The Reluctant Fundamentalist (R) Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) adapts Mohsin Hamid’s novel about a Pakistani immigrant (Riz Ahmed) who goes from working as a Wall Street corporate raider to becoming an anti-American professor in his homeland. Also with Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber, Shabana Azmi, Martin Donovan, Nelsan Ellis, and Om Puri. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Renoir (R) Gilles Bourdos directs this period drama set in 1915 about a beautiful young Frenchwoman (Christa Theret) who inspires both the elderly painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet) and his son, the future actor and filmmaker Jean Renoir (Vincent Rottiers). Also with Thomas Doret, Romane Bohringer, Carlo Brandt, and Hélène Babu. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

 

NOW PLAYING:

The Big Wedding (R) Bizarre, and not in a good way. Screenwriter Justin Zackham (The Bucket List) makes his directing debut with this remake of a French farce called Mon frère se marie, and while the situations here may have made sense in France, they don’t translate to an American setting. Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton play a divorced couple who must pretend they are still married when their adopted son (Ben Barnes) gets married and receives a visit from his Colombian biological mother (Patricia Rae). The movie tries to be an airy comedy, but it’s quite dull. The waste of talent is criminal; Keaton’s encounters with Susan Sarandon as her ex’s new girlfriend should be pyrotechnic occasions. Instead they produce nothing, like the rest of this movie. And if you’re going to call your movie The Big Wedding, shouldn’t the nuptials be really big? Also with Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, David Rasche, Christine Ebersole, Ana Ayora, and Robin Williams.

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.

Camp (PG-13) Jacob Roebuck’s drama is about an abused 12-year-old boy (Miles Elliot) who deals with his past at a summer camp. Also with Michael Mattera, Asante Jones, Matthew Jacob Wayne, Grace Johnston, and Elizabeth Tripp.

The Company You Keep (R) Robert Redford directs and stars in this thriller as a former 1960s Weather Underground terrorist who goes on the lam after a young journalist (Shia LaBeouf) exposes his identity. Based on a Neil Gordon novel, this film features a mouth-watering cast of veterans and gives them lengthy strips of dialogue to chew over, mostly without impeding the story’s flow of cloak-and-dagger shenanigans. Yet the filmmakers somehow think that a half-baked romance plot is more interesting than the thoughts of some old radicals who started out thinking they could bomb the world into a better place and then lived long enough to see how little they accomplished. Next to the issues it ignores, this movie feels small. 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.

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.

Disconnect (R) Apparently, the technology that’s supposed to connect us is making us lonelier and more isolated than ever. Oh, spare me, seriously. This hysterically overwrought drama tells the interlocking stories of a TV reporter (Andrea Riseborough) who exploits a webcam prostitute (Max Thieriot) for a story, a bereaved couple (Alexander Skarsgård and Paula Patton) who fall victim to identity theft, and a lonely teenager (Jonah Bobo) who gets Catfished by a couple of sadistic classmates (Colin Ford and Aviad Bernstein). Director Henry Alex Rubin (Murderball) does his best to bring the temperature down, but neither he nor this talented cast can do anything about the relentless line of Luddite crap that this movie pushes. Also with Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Frank Grillo, Michael Nyqvist, and Norbert Leo Butz.

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.

Filly Brown (R) Gina Rodriguez is such a dynamic presence in the title role that you almost forget how wearisomely predictable all the story beats are in this music drama. She plays an aspiring rapper from L.A.’s barrio with a heroin-addicted mom in prison (played by the late Jenni Rivera) who must decide whether to compromise or stay true to her artistic integrity. The movie gets especially sticky when it delves into gangland drama, but the tiny Rodriguez raps credibly and locates her character’s resolve in a way that transcends the setup. There’s an amusing performance by Ramon Herrera, a.k.a. Chingo Bling, as a shady small-time promoter. Also with Lou Diamond Phillips, Braxton Millz, Emilio Rivera, Noel Guglielmi, Chrissie Fit, Joseph Julian Soria, Kerry Norton, and Edward James Olmos.

42 (PG-13) A museum piece, not a movie. This biography of Jackie Robinson focuses on the three years leading up to the baseball star’s tumultuous 1947 season, when he integrated his sport as a player for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Writer-director Brian Helgeland tries to create scope by taking us through dead-end subplots with poorly characterized supporting roles. This is forgivable; less so is Helgeland’s failure to give us a sense of how widespread racism was among fans, the press, and executives. The racial slurs that Robinson (Chadwick Boseman, doing what he can with a plaster saint of a role) encounters seem to come mostly from a few troublemakers. Had Helgeland been more willing to court controversy, this might have been the great American story that it promised to be. Also with Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Christopher Meloni, Ryan Merriman, Lucas Black, Andre Holland, Alan Tudyk, Hamish Linklater, T.R. Knight, and John C. McGinley.


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