News Column

What's on Lubbock's silver screens

August 23, 2013

YellowBrix

Aug. 23--Movies Opening Today

Blue Jasmine

The applauded new film from director Woody Allen. After everything in her life falls to pieces, including her marriage to a wealthy businessman (played by Alec Baldwin), elegant New York socialite Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) moves into her sister Ginger's (Sally Hawkins) apartment in San Francisco. Jasmine arrives in a fragile mental state, her head reeling from a cocktail of anti-depressants. While still able to project her aristocratic bearing, Jasmine lacks any practical ability to support herself. She disapproves of Ginger's boyfriend Clili (Bobby Cannavale), whom she considers another loser like Ginger's ex-husband Augie (Andrew Dice Clay). Recognizing but not fully understanding her sister's psychological instability, Ginger suggests that she pursue interior design. Jasmine's flaw is that she derives her worth only from how she is perceived by others. Delicately performed by Blanchett, she earns the viewers' compassion as a possible instrument of her own downfall. Allen's film is about dire consequences that result when people avert their eyes from reality, and from any truth they do not want to see.

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, language and sexual content -- Movies 16.

Chennai Express

Movies 16 again is opening a Bollywood-style movie from India, directed by Rohit Shetty from a script by Robin Bhatt. Bachelor Rahul (played by Shah Rukh Khan) embarks on a journey to a small town in Tamil Nadu to fulfill the last wish of his grandfather: to have his ashes immersed in the holy water of Rameshwaram. While traveling, he meets a woman (Deepika Padukoner), who hails from a southern family. As the two find love during this journey in South India, an unanticipated drive awaits them. Parts of "Chennai Express," propelled by a spirit of inspired lunacy that holds the no-holds-barred action comedy in good stead. A full-on masala film completely unapologetic about its intentions.

Unrated -- Movies 16.

The World's End

The team behind "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" -- director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost -- return for an epic pub crawl. Twenty years after attempting an epic pub crawl, childhood friends reunite when one of them is determined to try the same drinking marathon again. Gary, a 40-year-old man who drags reluctant pals to their home town, once again attempts to reach a fabled pub called The World's End. As they attempt to reconcile past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future -- not just theirs, but humankind's. Reaching The World's End turns out to be the least of their worries.

Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references -- Tinseltown 17 and Movies 16.

You're Next

Said to be one of the most terrifying films in years, it reinvents the home-invasion genre with a fresh twist. When a gang of masked, ax-wielding murderers descend upon the Davison family reunion, the hapless victims seem trapped ... until an unlikely family guest is revealed as the most talented killer in the house. Adam Wingard directs a screenplay by Simon Barrett.

Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity -- Premium Cinemas and Tinseltown 17 (including XD auditorium).

Movies Continuing This Week

2 Guns

Kerns Rating: One and one-half stars.

It is difficult to ruin any movie with Denzel Washingtojn and Mark Wahlberg. but Baltasar Kormakur manages just that by making this a movie about noise. The story finds both lawmen betrayed by superiors for no understandable reason. Not to worry. Once every firearm is emptied, Kormakur spends the rest of the movie blowing things up, including most of the dirty money.

Rated R for violence throughout, language and brief nudity -- Premiere Cinemas (including auditorium with D-Box seating) and Tinseltown 17.

The Butler

Kerns Rating: Three and one-half stars.

See review on page 5.

Rated PG-13 for some violence and disturbing images, language, sexual material, thematic elements and smoking -- Tinseltown 17 and Movies 16.

The Conjuring

Kerns Rating: Four stars

The movie is not scary as much as it is incredibly and consistently intense. It is a spooky story well told.

Rated R for sequences of disturbing violence and terror -- Movies 16.

Despicable Me 2 (3-D and 2-D)

Kerns Rating: Four stars.

The characters make this animated 3-D sequel the summer's funniest family movie, thus far -- with Steve Carell's GRU initially giving up crime in favor of his "leeetle goils,' but soon agreeing to try spying for the good guys and track down a new supervillain. His relationship with Anti-Villain League agent and partner Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) humanizes the character, while breeding more laughs. And of course he still is aided by all those minions, who guarantee laughs throughout.

Rated PG for rude humor and mild action -- Premiere Cinemas and Tinseltown 17.

Elysium

Kerns Rating: Five stars.

Even more thrilling in the Imax format. Neill Blomkamp impressed in 2009 with "District 9," his science fiction allegory that used literal aliens to deal with such issues as apartheid and privatizing the weapons industry by stealing technology. "Elysium" hits much closer to headlines and home. Humanity's smaller percentage of rich sets itself apart from the poor by living aboard a space station, where no one is forced to think about the poor dying in Earth's slums, daily battling poverty, disease and pollution. Only Elysium-financed droids keep Earth's crime at manageable levels. The plot: A workplace accident leaves former criminal Matt Damon radiated with days to live unless he can reach a healing pod on Elysium; meanwhile, his crew stumbles upon an attempted coup set into motion by Elysium defense secretary Jodie Foster, who must instruct her army not to kill Damon because she needs data inserted into his brain. Socio-political science fiction is nothing new, but Blomkamp, filming his Earth scenes in the over-populated slums of Mexico City, introduces Damon as a former cynic now actually leading a resistance, determined to break down walls before his own body stops working. Edge-of-your-seat story-telling.

Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout -- Premiere Cinemas (including IMAX auditorium), Tinseltown 17 and the Stars and Stripes Drive-In.

Grown Ups 2

Lenny (played by Adam Sandler) relocates his family back to the small town where he and his friends grew up. This time around, the grown ups are the ones learning lessons from their children on the last day of school. Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph and Maria Bello co-star.

Rated PG-13 for crude and suggestive content, language and some male rear nudity -- Premiere Cinemas.

The Heat

Kerns Rating: Three stars.

Melissa McCarthy's profane tactics again earn massive laughs. Still, the entire story is a cop movie cliche, and one wonders how often McCarthy and co-star Sandra Billock strayed from the script to rely on funnier ad-ibs. Even the funny parts are Hollywood formula.

Rated R for pervasive language, strong crude content and some violence -- Premiere Cinemas.

Jobs

Directed by Joshua Michael Stern, the film details the major moments and defining characters that influenced Steve Jobs (played by Ashton Kutcher) on a daily basis from 1971 through 2001. The film plunges into the depths of his character, creating an intense dialogue-driven story that is as much a sweeping epic as it is an immensely personal portrait of Steve Jobs' life. The cast also includes Josh Gads, Dermot Mulroney, Ahna O'Reilly, Matthew Modine, James Woods, J.K. Simmons, Lukas Haas and Lesley Ann Warren.

Rated PG-13 for some drug content and brief strong language -- Tinseltown 17 and Movies 16.

Kick-Ass 2

Kick-Ass, Hit Girl and Red Mist return for the follow-up to 2010's irreverent global hit. After Kick-Ass' (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson) insane bravery inspires a new wave of self-made, masked crusaders, led by the badass Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), our hero joins them on patrol. When these amateur superheroes are hunted down by Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) -- reborn as a supervillain -- only the blade-wielding Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) can prevent their annihilation. When we last saw junior assassin Hit Girl and young vigilante Kick-Ass, they were trying to live as normal teenagers Mindy and Dave. Dave decides to start the world's first superhero team with Mindy. Unfortunately, when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit Girl, she is forced to retire, leaving her to navigate the terrifying world of high school, bullying mean girls on her own. Dave then joins forces with Justice Forever, run by Colonel Stars and Stripes. Just as they start to make a real difference on the streets, the supervillain assembles his own evil league and puts a plan into motion to make Kick-Ass and Hit Girl pay for what they did to his dad. There's just one problem with his scheme: If you mess with one member of Justice Forever, you mess with them all. Directed by Jeff Wadlow.

Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, crude and sexual content, and brief nudity -- Tinseltown 17, Movies 16 and the Stars and Stripes Drive-In.

Monsters

University

(3-D and 2-D)

Kerns Rating: Three stars.

Pixar used to raise the bar for animated films. Having released three consecutive disappointing films, it was time for Pixar executives to re-seek their missing Midas touch. ("Cars 2" is awful. "Brave" is one of history's least impressive Oscar winners in the Best Animated Film category.) This is a prequel to the far superior "Monsters Inc.; it lacks originality, but then, even decent Pixar is worth watching, in part because we walk in already loving some of the characters. Yet too many scenes are, at best, likable or cute. The film's purpose is to explain how one-eyed monster Mike Wazowski (voice of Billy Crystal) and natural-born scarer James P. "Sulley" Sullivan (John Goodman) became best friends for the first time. They start out as rivals. In fact, their mutual dislike even gets them tossed out of the university's Scare Program.

Rated G -- Movies 16.

Mortal

Instruments:

City of Bones

A film adaptation of Cassandra Clare's best-selling novel of the same name, which is set in contemporary New York City and centers on Clary Fray (Lily Collins), a seemingly ordinary teenager who discovers she is the descendent of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother, Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous, alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures. Directed by Harald Zwart.

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action, and some suggestive content -- Tinseltown 17, Movies 16 (including XD auditorium) and the Stars and Stripes Drive-In.

Now You See Me

Kerns Rating: Four and a half stars

Summer escapism that works throughout, never short of style as it races against the clock. An elite FBI agent (Mark Ruffalo) is teamed with an Interpol detective (Melanie Laurent) in a game of cat and mouse against "The Four Horsemen," a team of the world's greatest illusionists who arrive out of nowhere -- played by Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco. They are professional magicians who pull off a series of daring robberies against corrupt business leaders, showering stolen cash on their own audiences while barely staying ahead of the law. Louis Leterrier directs. Co-stars include Michael Caine as the horsemen's rich backer and Morgan Freeman as an experienced magician determined to expose to the world how their magic tricks are done.

Rated PG-13 for language, some action and sexual content -- Premiere Cinemas.

Pacific Rim

(3-D and 2-D)

Kerns Rating: Three stars

Mankind fighting monsters from the deep, as envisioned by director Guillermo del Toro, turns into one of the year's loudest sci-fi stories.

Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief language -- Premiere Cinemas.

Paranoia

In this high-stakes thriller, Adam Cassidy (played by Liam Hemsworth) is a regular guy trying to move ahead in his entry-level job at Wyatt Corp. After one costly mistake, Adam's ruthless CEO, Nicholas Wyatt (Gary Oldman), intimidates Cassidy into spying on his former mentor and corporate rival, Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford). Cassidy soon finds himself occupying a corner office and living a life he only dreamed about. However, behind the scenes, he remain a pawn in Wyatt's corporate game, and realizes he ultimately has to find a way out from under a blackmailer who will stop at nothing, even murder, to win a multi-billion dollar advantage. Director Robert Luketic's cast also includes Amber Heard, Richard Dreyfuss, Josh Holloway, Lucas Till and Embeth Davidtz.

Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, violence and language -- Tinseltown 17 and Movies 16.

Percy Jackson:

Sea of Monsters

Director Thor Freudenthal's adaptation of author Rick Riordan's second book, subtitled "The Sea of Monsters," follows Percy (played by Logan Lerman) and his friends as they sail out to sea, intent on finding the location of the mythical, powerful and obviously very well hidden Golden Fleece. In the process, they learn that they also may be able to rescue an old friend. It is expected that this sequel will raid other Percy Jackson books, as well, not just "Sea of Monsters." Alexandra Daddario costars.

Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence, some scary images and mild language -- Premiere Cinemas, Tinseltown 17 and Stars and Stripes Drive-In.

Planes

Kerns Rating: Two and one-half stars.

Disney's "Planes" borrows enough from Pixar's "Cars" to at least become better than sequel "Cars 2." An entertaining hour and a half, especially if one attends chaperoned by children. The storytelling is sweet, but nowhere close to original -- and thus becomes sadly forgettable, as well.

Rated PG for some mild action and rude humor -- Premiere Cinemas, Tinseltown 17 and the Stars and Stripes Drive-In.

Red 2

Kerns Rating: Three stars

A silly story made entertaining by terrific performances delivered by wonderful actors. Retired black ops CIA agent Frank Moses (played by Bruce Willis) reunites his unlikely team of operatives -- including characters portrayed by John Malkovich and Helen Mirren -- for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device. To succeed, they must survive an army of relentless assassins, ruthless terrorists and power-crazed government officials, all eager to get their hands on a next-generation weapon. The film also stars Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Hopkins, Byung Hun-Lee, Neal McDonough, David Thewlis and Catherine Zeta Jones.

Rated PG-13 for pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material -- Movies 16.

The Smurfs 2

(3-D and 2-D)

Evil wizard Gargamel tries to harness Smurf-essence by creating nasty creatures called Naughties. Only a real Smurf can give Gargamel what he wants, and he uses Smurfette to transform Naughties into Smurfs. Gargamel kidnaps Smurfette and takes her to Paris, where he is winning fans as a sorcerer. Thus Papa, Clumsy, Grouchy and Vanity must reunite with human friends Patrick and Grace to rescue Smurfette.

Rated PG for some rude humor and action -- Tinseltown 17 and Movies 16.

Turbo

(3-D and 2-D)

Kerns Rating: Four stars

More fun than original, one of 2013's 3-D animated efforts rockets another underdog story to entertaining heights. What could be funnier than a slow garden mollusk (Theo, voiced by Ryan Reynolds) -- obsessed with a desire for speed, cheering French driver Guy Gagne on TV and, finally, equally excited and exhausted after racing against his own top speeds across the back yard? Considered an oddity by embarrassed brother Chet (Paul Giamatti), fate finds Theo sucked into the supercharger of a drag racer, his DNA fused with nitrous oxide. The result: Theo becomes Turbo, super-fast, with a few car characteristics (headlights, for one). Human characters are the least interesting. But when Tito (Michael Pena) introduces Turbo in neighborhood snail races, it opens a door for him to race in the Indy 500. Only egotist Gagne, suspecting zero competition, can assure Turbo's entry. David Soren's direction makes races involving, and a trio of writers keep laughs coming ("take your first left, then another, and oh yeah, then another ...") Turbo's crew -- Whiplash (Samuel L. Jackson), Smooth Move (Snoop Dogg), Burn (Maya Rudolph), Skidmark (Ben Schwartz) and White Shadow (Michael Bell) -- supply needed support.

Rated PG for some mild action and thematic elements -- Premiere Cinemas.

The Way Way Back

Kerns Rating: Four and one-half stars.

Sam Rockwell delivers yet another memorable performance as the owner of a water park, one which manages to flourish despite being built near an ocean. That's good news for 14-year-old Duncan (played by Liam James), who needs a place to hide from his family. More than that, he wants to meet someone who can make him feel both happy and respected. That's because his divorced mom (more great work by Toni Colette) cannot hide her fear of growing old alone, even if it means subjecting her son to an egotistical liar who excels at humiliating children while arguing about the rules to children's board game Candy Land.

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, language, some sexual content and brief drug material -- Premiere Cinemas.

We're the Millers

David Burke (played by Jason Sudeikis) is a small time pot dealer who keeps a low profile by only selling to chefs and soccer moms. When he tries to help local teens, however, he winds up jumped by crooks who steal all his cash and stash. That leaves him in big time debt to supplier (Ed Helms), and the only way to wipe his slate clean is to bring in a large shipment from Mexico. His plan? Hire a fake family and look innocent. Cynical stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston) becomes his fake wife for a price, and a wannabe customer (Will Poulter) and tatted teen (Emma Roberts) become his pretend children. Add a huge RV, and they become the Millers. Now all he has to do is transport a more huge quantity of marijuana than he was expecting, and get away with it.

Rated R for crude sexual content, pervasive language, drug material and brief graphic nudity -- Tinseltown 17, Movies 16 and the Stars and Stripes Drive-In.

World War Z

(3-D and 2-D)

Kerns Rating: Four and one-half stars.

Marc Forster, who also directed Quantum of Solace, here defies all naysayers, not to mention reports about script problems and finale changes. This winds up an intense thriller, in which United Nations investigator Gerry Lane (fine work by Brad Pitt) barely catches the last flight out of seemingly everywhere in an attempt to find the source of a zombie pandemic that appears to find humanity doomed. The opening introduction to a zombie attack in a major city's heavy traffic is equally horrifying and excited, directed with a stunning eye for detail. True, zombie (and human) killing is far more gory and gruesome on television's "The Walking Dead." Yet yet viewers remain glued to the screen. Daniella Kertesz also shines as wounded Israeili comrade in arms Segen. The ending may be a letdown, but the movie as a whole winds up so good that many may hope for a follow-up.

Rated PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images -- Movies 16.

The Wolverine

(3-D and 2-D)

Kerns Rating: Two stars.

More confusing than consistently entertaining. Title character Logan (played by Hugh Jackman) agrees to a meeting in Japan. There, samurai steel clashes with adamantium claw, as Logan confronts a mysterious figure from his past who actually wants to repay him for once saving his life -- by offering him the gift of mortality.

Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality and language -- Movies 16.

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