Capsule Reviews of Movies
Reviews Ratings: **** Excellent *** Good ** Fair * Poor Reviewers: C.R., Carrie Rickey; S.R., Steven Rea; D.D., Dan DeLuca; T.D., Tirdad Derakhshani; D.H., David Hiltbrand; W.S., Inquirer wire services.
**** Excellent *** Good
** Fair * Poor
Reviewers: C.R., Carrie Rickey; S.R., Steven Rea; D.D., Dan DeLuca; T.D., Tirdad Derakhshani; D.H., David Hiltbrand; W.S., Inquirer wire services.
New This Week
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 See Steven Rea's review on Page 4.
Blue Ruin See Steven Rea's review on Page 5.
Dancing in Jaffa See Ellen Dunkel's review on Page 5.
Decoding Annie Parker See Steven Rea's review on Page 6.
Fading Gigolo See David Hiltbrand's review on Page 4.
Also on Screens
Brick Mansions Luc Besson produced this tediously felicitous remake of his thrilling 2004 action film District 13 starring the late Paul Walker as a Detroit cop who teams up with an anarchic civilian crime fighter (French parkour maestro David Belle) to take down a drug lord (RZA) who has hijacked a ticking nuclear bomb. See it if you must, but you'll have a better, happier, more fulfilled life if you rent the original. 1 hr. 30 PG-13 (profanity, violence, drug use, drug selling, guns, sexuality) - T.D.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier The ninth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings Steve "Cap" Rogers (Chris Evans, sporting Popeye biceps) to modern-day Washington, where the old-school "super soldier" struggles to come to terms with a preemptive, paranoid government mind-set. With Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and Robert Redford in a sinister supporting role. 2 hrs. 16 PG-13 (action, violence, adult themes) - S.R.
Divergent Dystopian teen drama with Shailene Woodley as a Katniss Everdeen type, defying the 22d-century postapocalyptic social order, and Theo James as her mysterious, muscley warrior mentor. Adapted from the Veronica Roth novel, and directed, surefootedly, by Neil Burger (Limitless, The Illusionist). 2 hrs. 19 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) - S.R.
Draft Day Kevin Costner is the beleaguered general manager of the Cleveland Browns, trying to make the right decision on that fateful spring day when the NFL teams go culling through the college rosters. Ah, professional football: The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat. The teleconferencing. With Jennifer Garner and Denis Leary. 1 hr. 52 PG-13 (profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Finding Vivian Maier A fascinating puzzle-piece mystery - and a revelatory portrait of an eccentic figure who worked as a nanny in Chicago from the '50s through the '90s - and who dragged her charges through the city, taking pictures. The heretofore unknown street photographs are nothing less than brilliant; the documentary about this curious figure is a find in more ways than one. 1 hr. 23 No MPAA rating (adult themes) - S.R.
Forces of Nature Get a close-up look at natural disasters in this Imax documentary.
God's Not Dead A young man's faith is put to the test by his philosophy professor. Shane Harper, Kevin Sorbo, and Willie Robertson star. Not Previewed
The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson's eighth, and most teeming film, is a Between the Wars comic caper set in a fictitious central European land where Ralph Fiennes is the concierge of an elegant alpine hostelry. When a wealthy guest dies and the will is read, a mad dash for money and a prized painting ensues. With Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, F. Murray Abraham, Saoirse Ronan, and newcomer Tony Revolori. Sublime. 1 hr. 40 R (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
A Haunted House 2 A lazy sequel to an already miserable film, this insulting, profane spoof of recent horror hits has Marlon Wayans reprise his role as Malcolm, a reluctant hero who battled a demon who possessed his girlfriend (Essence Atkins) in the first pic. The new one is the same: He battles demons who are after his new lady (Jaime Pressly) and her two kids. 1 hr. 27 R (violence, graphic sexuality, pervasive profanity, ethnic slurs, drugs) - T.D.
Heaven is for Real Small-town parents attempt to come to grips with what their young son claims to have seen during a near-death experience. 1 hr. 40 PG (thematic material including some medical situations) - W.S.
Ice Age ** Diverting if undistinguished animated feature the moral of which is that predators and prey can be in the same posse if they have a common goal. A woolly mammoth with sinus trouble (voice by Ray Romano), an excitable sloth (John Leguizamo), and a shifty saber-tooth tiger (Denis Leary) navigate glacier and avalanche to return a lost baby to his migrating tribe. Shown in Imax. 1 hr. 21 PG (scenes of peril) - C.R.
Jodorowsky's Dune This fascinating documentary looks at the thwarted attempt in the 1970s by cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain, and Santa Sangre. ) to make an big-budget adaptation of Frank Herbert's sci-fi masterpiece Dune. Featuring extensive interviews with the Chilean-French filmmaker and his colleague, the film walks the viewer through the pre-production process and shares Jodorowsky's remarkable interpretation of a novel that later yielded two inferior adaptations. 1 hr. 30 PG-13 (some violent and sexual imagery, language, adult themes) - W.S.
Le Week-End Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan, both terrific, are a long-married couple taking a getaway in that most romantic of cities, Paris. A walking and talking (and running) snapshot of a relationship and its ups and downs. With Jeff Goldblum as an old friend whose invitation to dinner results in some soul-baring revelations. 1 hr. 33 R (profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
The Lunchbox Exquisite and exciting, exotic and inviting, this tale of a romance that begins with a misdelivered meal will put a smile on your face, a tear in your eye. Set in the teeming thrum of Mumbai, Ritesh Batran's first feature is full of whimsy and wisdom, and boasts a beautifully quiet and wholly realized performance from Slumdog Millionaire's Irrfan Khan. 1 hr. 44 PG (adult themes) - S.R.
Muppets Most Wanted An evil frog is masquerading as Kermit while the real thing is hopping mad in a Russian gulag. The premise doesn't matter once the songs and gags start flowing. Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell costar in this light entertainment. 1 hr. 52 PG (cartoonish action) - D.H.
Noah Darren Aronofsky's audacious, hallucinogenic reimagining of the Old Testament text is the movie equivalent of Christian death metal. It's an antediluvian Lord of the Rings, fist-pumping, ferocious, apocalyptic, and wet - very wet. With a brooding, burly Russell Crowe in the title role, and CG rock monsters on hand to help build the fabled ark. 2 hrs. 18 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) - S.R.
Oculus A woman tries to win her brother's freedom by proving the murder he was convicted of was committed by a supernatural force. 1 hr. 45 R (scenes of extreme bloody violence, profanity, sexual situations) - T.D.
Only Lovers Left Alive Jim Jarmusch's sly and seductive vampire movie, starring Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as two old (very old) lovers, is as much about the life-sustaining force of music as it is about any hankering for blood. With Anton Yelchin, Mia Wasikowska and Johnh Hurt. 2 hrs. 03 R (profanity, nudity, adult themes) - S.R.
The Other Woman Leslie Mann - ditzy and gasping, Lucille Ball and Olive Oyl rolled into one, in panic attack mode - makes this formulaic sex farce tolerable, barely. She's the wife who discovers her husband is cheating on her with Cameron Diaz, and with Kate Upton. The trio team up, in a spirit of twisted sisterhood, to exact revenge. PG-13 (sex, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
The quiet Ones A university professor assembles a team of students to conduct dark experiments at his estate outside of London. 1 hr. 49 PG-13 (sex, profanity, adult themes) - W.S.
The Railway Man Hang in through the stuffy start and you'll get an emotionally powerful (though graphic) film about the horrors of (world) war (II) and its aftereffects. With Colin Firth and Jeremy Irvine. 1 hr. 56 R (torture scenes) - D.H.
Ring of Fire This Imax documentary looks at the ring of volcanos in and around the Pacific Ocean.
Rio 2 Blue-feathered 3D computer-animated Spix's macaw Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and his mate, Jewel (Anne Hathaway), return for another life-, love-, family- and environment-affirming adventure in this muddled, mediocre sequel to the $485 million-grossing hit from 2011. Joined by their motley crew of animal pals (Tracy Morgan, Jamie Foxx, will.i.am, and George Lopez) they trek deep into the Amazon rain forest in search of other members of their nearly extinct species. 1 hr. 41 G - T.D.
Space Junk 3D This Imax documentary looks at the vast amount of space debris orbiting Earth and the extent to which it jeopardizes space exploration. Not Previewed
Transcendence Johnny Depp is a superstar in the field of artificial intelligence - you can tell by the glasses he wears - in this big idea thriller where the forces of technology and humanity collide. Even with the snazzy visual effects, it's a messy, talky endeavor. With Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman and Kate Mara. 1 hr. 59 PG-13 (violence, proafnity, adult themes) - S.R.
Under the Skin Scarlett Johansson, slightly robotic and definitely hypnotic, stars in this deeply creepy and mysterious noir, about a stranger who trolls around looking for men to seduce, and devour. From filmmaker Jonathan Glazer. 1 hr. 48 R (nudity, sexual violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.