June 20--"MAN OF STEEL" (PG-13) 2 1/2 STARS
HENRY CAVILL, AMY ADAMS, DIANE LANE, RUSSELL CROWE, KEVIN COSTNER
What's fun about this film the epic Superman story, a solid supporting cast is almost undone by special effects gone wild.
It's one thing for a space ship to bang into a building or for a superhero to slam into a wall or pole.
It's another to have ships, superheroes and all sorts of other stuff knocking down not just buildings but whole blocks in downtown New York, um, Metropolis.
This reviewer left the film with an throbbing headache, largely from the last battle scene that leveled so much real estate that it's a wonder they didn't ask the superdude to simply leave town.
Star Henry Cavill is both a plus and a minus as Superman/Clark Kent.
He's a fair actor, and does a good job of making Superman a beefy, decent guy.
But he's missing that spark, that something extra that makes "Iron Man" more than just a film about a guy with super skills.
All that said, the film is still a fun romp, with Kent's Earthly and extraterrestrial family played by solid stars who make their parts work.
With the re-launch of the series accomplished, I expect the next film will be better with less to accomplish.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, and for some language. 143 min. [MC, PV, RA]
"THIS IS THE END" (R) 21/2 STARS
SETH ROGEN, JAY BARUCHEL, JONAH HILL, DANNY MCBRIDE, CRAIG ROBINSON, EMMA WATSON
The first 45 minutes of this self-effacing tale of young Hollywood comedic actors facing the end of the world is a hoot, largely because the stars have fun playing themselves as spoiled, narcissistic brats who bicker and get splendidly silly.
But the special effects and the dialogue fall apart when things are pushed too far in what feels like a stoner's apocalypse.
Funny scenes about cutting a Milky Way bar five ways give way to scenes where Jonah Hill is raped by an ox-like demon and James Franco's face is chewed to bits by a Hollywood crew given over to cannibalism as the hills above are ablaze.
You have to give them this: If you're going to go for it in the search of outrageous comedy, don't go halfway.
They don't here, especially when Michael Cera gets impaled by a light pole, Channing Tatum becomes Danny McBride's um, puppy, and Emma Watson goes postal when she hears the apocalypse gang discussing rape in the basement of Franco's house.
Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel do manage to create some interest in their friendship and fate, while Spotsylvania County's own Danny McBride is effective in that comically cutting persona he does so well.
But be aware: This is aimed at young audiences who think blue language and references to male genitalia are par for the comic course.
Rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence. 107 min. [MC, RA, RF]
"BEFORE MIDNIGHT" (R) 21/2 STARS
ETHAN HAWKE, JULIE DELPY
Those who saw the first two of these oh-so-talky films will care enough about this interesting couple to want to see things resolved.
Film-goers who didn't won't have the patience to last through the endless soul-searching and arguments.
Without a head start, it feels like suffering through endless arguing with no dog in the fight.
Rated R for sexual content/nudity and language. 108 min. [RF]
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