News Column

KEY: Four stars: superior. Three stars: good. Two stars: average. One star: poor

July 8, 2013


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.


"Before Midnight" -- The third movie in Richard Linklater's film series about Jesse and Celine (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) that takes place nine years after 2004's "Before Sunset." This film tackles heavier and more mature issues while Jesse and Celine vacation in Greece. Reviewed by Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press. (R) L, N, S. 109 minutes. . . . 1/2

"Despicable Me 2" -- The Minions take over this fast, but dumbed- down sequel with their popular slapstick shtick. Former villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) helps out secret agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig) search for a stolen formula while overprotecting his adopted daughters from boys. (PG) 98 minutes. . . .

"Epic" -- Kid-friendly 3-D animated fantasy about a teen (Amanda Seyfried) compelled to help the miniature Leafmen (Colin Farrell and Josh Hutcherson) save the forest from the evil Mandrake (Christoph Waltz). (PG) 102 minutes. . . .

"The Heat" -- Sandra Bullock and Plainfield's Melissa McCarthy are perfect foils as a reserved FBI agent and a foul-mouthed, erratic Boston police officer who team up to find a drug dealer. Paul Feig's buddy action movie starts out cliched but turns up "The Heat" once Bullock and McCarthy hit their comedic groove. With "SNL" alum Jane Curtin. (R) L, S, V. 117 minutes. . . .

"Hey Bartender!" -- Douglas Tirola's documentary doesn't praise drinking, but celebrates the artistry and showmanship of bartending. Tirola traces the history of the American cocktail from Prohibition to its current subculture in New York's "Employees Only" bar. At the Music Box Theatre. (NR) 92 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

"The Kings of Summer" -- Three teenagers (Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias) decide to live independently for the summer by building a house in the wilderness and living off the land. A coming-of-age story in the "Stand By Me" vein. With Nick "Parks and Recreation" Offerman. (R) L. 93 minutes. . . .

"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

"Redemption" -- Jason Statham turns in a compassionate and vulnerable performance (yes, you read that right) in Steven Knight's neo-noir thriller that reinvents the superhero story. Statham plays Joey Jones, a homeless man who tries to adjust the moral scales for fellow unfortunate Londonites. With Agata Buzek as a nun who helps Joey. (R) L, N, V. 100 minutes. . . . 1/2

"This is the End" -- Raunchy! Hilarious! Shocking! Six Hollywood stars are stuck in James Franco's house during the Apocalypse. Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Emma Watson and Jonah Hill co- star in a zany, over-the-top comedy horror tale. (R) D, L, N, S, V. 119 minutes. . . . 1/2

"The Way, Way Back" -- This humorous and charming coming-of-age story features way, way good performances (especially from young actor Liam James) that make Jim Rash and Nat Faxon's co-directorial debut a relatable and nostalgic delight. With Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell and Toni Collette. (PG-13) D, L, S. 103 minutes. . . . 1/2


"Fast & Furious 6" -- Hilariously funny but ridiculously pitched live-action cartoon in which Vin Diesel gathers his racing partners- in-crime to stop a British terrorist. Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson and Gina Carano lead the cast. Michelle Rodriguez even returns from the dead! (PG-13) L, S, V. 130 minutes. . . 1/2

"The Internship" -- Call it "Wedding Crashers 2.0" without the fun of the original R-rated movie. Owen Wilson and the suburbs' own Vince Vaughn reunite in this good-natured comedy as unemployed salesmen who go for internships with Google and compete with younger interns for jobs. (PG-13) L, S. 119 minutes. . . 1/2

"Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain" -- Comedian Kevin Hart's concert movie of his stand-up set at Madison Square Garden, featuring his self-aware and self-deprecating humor. Reviewed by Stephanie Merry of The Washington Post. (R) L, S. 75 minutes. . . 1/2

"The Lone Ranger" -- Johnny Depp's Tonto is the best thing to come out of Gore Verbinski's overblown and misguided attempt to revamp this classic western. Tonto teams up with John Reid aka the Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) to stop a corrupt railroad tycoon (Tom Wilkinson). With a one-legged Helena Bonham Carter. (PG-13) S, V. 149 minutes. . .

"Man of Steel" -- Zack Snyder's dour and humorlessly dark reboot of the Superman myth stars Brit actor Henry Cavill as Clark Kent, who comes out of hiding to fight General Zod (Chicago's Michael Shannon). Filmed in part in the suburbs. Michael Bay couldn't have directed this noisy spectacular action picture better. (PG-13) L, V. 148 minutes. . .

"Monsters University" -- Where's Boo? This Pixar prequel may be cute, but it's got nothing on the emotional 2001 "Monsters, Inc." Mike and Sully (voiced by Billy Crystal and John Goodman) don't start out seeing eye to eye as scare students at Monsters University. Helen Mirren and Steve Buscemi also lend their voices. (G) 110 minutes. . . 1/2

"Much Ado About Nothing" -- Joss "The Avengers" Whedon presents this brisk modern retelling of Shakespeare's classic, but the Bard's classic prose doesn't translate well here. With Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof and Nathan Fillion as the bumbling Constable Dogberry. (PG- 13) D, S. 107 minutes. . . 1/2

"Now You See Me" -- Louis Leterrier's mystery/Robin Hood tale boasts inert characters with nonexistent relationships in a story dogged by ridiculous plot twists. Four magicians (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco) become the targets of an FBI agent (Mark Ruffalo) after pulling off a bank job in France while doing their magic act in Las Vegas. (PG-13) L, S, V. 116 minutes. . .

"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. . .

"World War Z" -- A zombie movie without teeth. Brad Pitt stars as a retired U.N. investigator who travels the world looking for a cure to stop the zombie apocalypse. Marc Forster's exciting action flick whiffs on horror and characterization. (PG-13) V. 116 minutes. . . 1/2


"The Hangover Part III" -- Disappointing sequel that forgot what made the original so shocking, funny and fresh. A mobster (John Goodman) kidnaps Doug to force the wolf pack to find Chow (Ken Jeong) and $21 million in stolen bullion. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis phone in their roles. (R) D, L, N, S, V. 100 minutes. . 1/2

"White House Down" -- A cop with marital problems battles terrorists during a building takeover to save a loved one. Sound familiar? This "Die Hard" copycat stars Channing Tatum as John Cale, who protects the president (Jamie Foxx) from mercenaries who take over the White House. (PG-13) L, S, V. 131 minutes. . 1/2


"Frances Ha" -- Noah Baumbach's character study of a twentysomething New Yorker (Greta Gerwig) struggling to ascend into her 30s with mixed results. (R) L, S. 86 minutes.

"Ghanchakkar" -- An accident gives a master safe cracker amnesia, making him forget to split his loot with his two accomplices in this Bollywood comedy. In Hindi. (NR) 137 minutes.

"Lootera" -- A girl comes to terms with her love for a visiting archeologist in 1953. In Hindi. (NR) 135 minutes.

"Raanjhanaa" -- Bollywood romance directed by Aanand Rai with music by A.R. Rahman of "Slumdog Millionaire" fame. In Hindi. (NR) 140 minutes.

"Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani" -- Ayan "Wake Up Sid" Mukherjee directs a romance in Hindi. (NR) 160 minutes.

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