News Column

Movie guide

May 18, 2013

YellowBrix

KEY: Four stars: superior. Three stars: good. Two stars: average. One star: poor. D (drug use), L (language), N (nudity), S (sexual situations, references), V (violence). Ratings by Dann Gire, Daily Herald Film Critic, unless otherwise noted.

Picks

"The Big Wedding" -- Smartly written domestic rom-com that nimbly bounces between sentiment and humor. An adopted son (Ben Barnes) gets his divorced Catholic parents (Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton) to pretend they're still married so his devout biological mother (Patricia Rae) will bless his wedding. With Katherine Heigl, Topher Grace and Susan Sarandon. Based on the French film "My Brother is Getting Married." (R) L, N, S. 89 minutes. . . .

"The Croods" -- Amusing 3-D animated comedy about a Neanderthal family headed by Grug (Nicolas Cage) who must learn to take risks or die in an oncoming natural disaster. A kiddie-pitched comedy about facing fears and embracing changes. With Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds and Cloris Leachman providing voices and personalities. (PG) 92 minutes. . . .

"Disconnect" -- A TV reporter investigates a porn chat site that targets teenagers. With Jason Bateman and Max Thieriot. Reviewed by David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter. (R) D, L, N, S, V. 116 minutes. . . .

"42" -- Effective but formula sports underdog drama based on how ballplayer Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) and Brooklyn Dodgers president (Harrison Ford) broke the major league color barrier. (PG- 13) L. 128 minutes. . . .

"The Iceman" -- Chicago actor Michael Shannon shines in this fact- based drama about mob assassin Richard Kuklinski, who went undetected by cops for decades and knocked off an estimated 250 targets. With Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, James Franco and David Schwimmer. (R) D, L, N, S, V. 93 minutes. . . .

"Iron Man 3" -- Action-packed, fun-packed sequel puts Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) at the mercy of The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), an enigmatic terrorist with a plot to take over the U.S. Gwyneth Paltrow and Guy Pearce co-star. (PG-13) S, V. 135 minutes. . . . 1/ 2

"Jurassic Park 3-D" -- The CGI dinosaurs still hold up after 20 years in Steven Spielberg's 1993 monster thriller at a resort where dinosaurs have been cloned. With Laura Dern and Sam Neill. Superbly re-created in painstaking 3-D. (PG-13) V. 124 minutes. . . . 1/2

"Mud" -- A lyrical, well-acted coming-of-age tale about boys who come across a mysterious boat and its more mysterious inhabitant (Matthew McConaughey) on the Mississippi River in Arkansas. Reviewed by Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post. (PG-13) L, S, V. 130 minutes. . . . 1/2

"Quartet" -- Dustin Hoffman makes his directorial debut with the plot-challenged, but still delightful comedy about denizens in a British retirement home for professional musicians. Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly play members who put on a fundraiser concert. (NR) for general audiences. 97 minutes. . . .

"The Sapphires" -- Fact-inspired musical drama about four aboriginal Aussie singers and their white manager who land a choice performing gig in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1968. Nostalgic, muscular and highly engaging film directed by Wayne Blair, starring Chris O'Dowd and the amazing Jessica Mauboy. (PG-13) L, S, V. 99 minutes. . . .

"Stories We Tell" -- Sarah Polley tinkers with cinematic syntax in this reinvented narrative documentary focused on the question of her parentage: Did her late mother have an affair with an actor? Is he her actual dad? A bold look at how stories get told, with some fact and fiction. (PG-13) L, S. 108 minutes. . . . .

Passables

"The Great Gatsby" -- Baz Luhrmann directs a visually kinetic but dramatically arid adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel about a Midwesterner (Tobey Maguire) who chronicles the downfall of his wealthy Long Island neighbor (Leonardo DiCaprio), burning with romantic obsession for Daisy (Carey Mulligan). (PG-13) L, V. 143 minutes. . .

"King's Faith" -- One of the better Christian moral message dramas, this one about a troubled teen (Crawford Wilson) who reinvents himself with new foster parents (James McDaniel, Lynn Whitfield). Then his old gang comes around. Temptation starts. (PG- 13) D, L, V. 108 minutes. . .

"Oblivion" -- Joseph Kosinski's sci-fi thriller starts strong but winds up a shadow of its own ambitions. Tom Cruise stars as a security guard in 2077 after massive nuclear attacks have rendered the earth almost uninhabitable. As they say, nothing is as it seems. With Olga Kurylenko. (PG-13) L, N, S, V. 125 minutes. . . 1/2

"Olympus Has Fallen" -- Antoine Fuqua directs a button-pressing action thriller pumped with patriotism, brutal violence and jingoistic speeches. A lone Secret Security agent (Gerard Butler) is the only hope after North Korean terrorists take over the White House and force the president (Aaron Eckhart) to fork over nuclear security codes. It's a "Die Hard" that tries harder. With Morgan Freeman and Melissa Leo. (R) L, V. 100 minutes. . . 1/2

"Peeples" -- A fish-out-of-water rom-com about a regular guy (Wade Williams) who crashes the family weekend of his upscale fiancee (Kerry Washington) with limited hilarity and insights. (PG- 13) D, L, S. 95 minutes. . .

"The Place Beyond the Pines" -- Three connected stories about two fathers, a bank-robbing stunt driver (Ryan Gosling) and a politically aware cop (Bradley Cooper), whose bad decisions affect their sons years later. An ambitious drama that peters out. (R) D, L, S, V. 140 minutes. . . 1/2

"Star Trek Into Darkness" -- The USS Enterprise sets a wavering, special-effects-stuffed course in J.J. Abrams' sequel, which goes where the 1980s movie series has gone before. Starfleet deals with terrorist attacks from a desperado (Benedict Cumberbatch). Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana reprise their roles. (PG-13) V. 132 minutes. . .

Pits

"Pain & Gain" -- Michael Bay directs a shrill overkilled crime action thriller based on the true story of three bodybuilders (Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie) who botch an extortion plot so badly that their story plays like a terrible comedy of errors. With Ed Harris. (R) D, L, N, S, V. 129 minutes. . 1/2

"Scary Movie 5" -- This frighteningly unfunny sequel starts with a Charlie Sheen-Lindsay Lohan sex scene and goes downhill from there as it lamely attempts to send up other films, most of which are far better than this one. With Ashley Tisdale and Simon Rex. Reviewed by Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter. (PG-13) D, L, N, S, V. 85 minutes. .

Unpreviewed

"Aurangzeb" -- An action mystery about the ongoing battle for control between two families: one filled with cops, the other with criminals. In Hindi. (NR) 140 minutes.

"Escape From Planet Earth" -- Scorch Supernova (voiced by Brendan Fraser) defends his planet against the evil Shanker (James Gandolfini) in this CGI adventure. With Jessica Alba. (PG) 89 minutes.

"Go Goa Gone" -- An Indian zom-com (zombie comedy) about dope heads whose trip to an island party becomes a night of the living dead! In Hindi. (NR) 110 minutes.

"No One Lives" -- A gang of kidnappers lives to regret taking a young couple captive. Suddenly a seasoned killer tracks them down. With Luke Evans. The title kinda gives away the ending, doesn't it? Not screened for critics, and we all know what that means, don't we? (R) 86 minutes.

"Renoir" -- The 74-year-old impressionist painter (Michel Bouquet) gets a new lease on life with the arrival of a new model (Christa Theret). His son also fancies her. (R) N, L. 111 minutes.

"Shootout at Wadala" -- This is the Mumbai version of America's gunfight at the OK Corral. It took place Nov. 1, 1982, when Mumbai police engaged in fire fights with gangsters at the Vidyalankar Institute. In Hindi. (NR) 165 minutes.

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