News Column

MOVIES [Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)]

August 9, 2013

YellowBrix

OPENING FRIDAY

Blackfish (PG-13, 83 min.) See review on Page 15.

Studio on the Square.

Chennai Express (Not rated, 141 min.) A Bollywood romantic road- trip action-comedy, with songs.

Hollywood 20 Cinema.

Elysium (R, 109 min.) See review on Page 11.

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Palace Cinema, Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Studio on the Square, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Lovelace (R, 92 min.) See review on Page 12.

Ridgeway Four.

Planes (PG, 92 min.) This airborne "Cars" spinoff is a production of DisneyToons, not Pixar, so expect to be amused, not stunned.

CinePlanet 16 (in 3-D), Collierville Towne 16 (in 3-D), Cordova Cinema (in 3-D), DeSoto Cinema 16 (in 3-D), Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Palace Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso (in 3- D), Stage Cinema (in 3-D).

Still Mine (PG-13, 102 min.) See review on Page 16.

Ridgeway Four.

SPECIAL MOVIES

Bee Movie (PG, 91 min.) A honeybee (voiced by Jerry Seinfeld) finds adventure in New York in this 2007 digitally animated feature.

7:55 p.m. Friday, Central Park, The Avenue Carriage Crossing, Collierville. Admission: free. Visit shopcarriagecrossing.com.

The Dynamiter (Not rated, 73 min.) The "Wider Angle" international film series makes a rare trip to Mississippi with writer-director Matthew Gordon's debut feature about a Greenville teenager (William Ruffin) left to care for himself and his young half-brother after their disturbed mother vanishes.

6 p.m. Wednesday, Meeting Room C, Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar. Admission: free. Call (901) 415-2846.

Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 (Not rated, 150 min.) Highlights from the two-night April concert in Madison Square Garden, featuring Clapton, Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Keith Richards, Robert Cray, Los Lobos, Gregg Allman, Booker T., Gary Clark Jr. and more.

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Paradiso. Tickets: $15. Visit malco.com.

Great White Shark: IMAX feature film takes a close look at this predator's place in our imaginations and fears while exploring the shark's reality and role at the top of the ocean food chain. Runs through Nov. 22. Tickets: $8.25; $7.50 senior citizens, and $6.50 for ages 3-12.

Imax Theater at Memphis Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central. Call 901-636-2362 for show times, tickets and reservations.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (PG, 152 min.) The Orpheum Summer Movie series concludes with the first of the hit movies about J.K. Rowling's boy wizard.

7 p.m. Friday, the Orpheum, 203 S. Main. Tickets: $7, or $5 for Indie Memphis members and kids 12 and under. Visit orpheum- memphis.com.

Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest '86 (Not rated, 115 min.) At the time, this July 27, 1986, performance by Freddie Mercury and Queen for 80,000 fans was the biggest rock show ever staged behind the Iron Curtain. The screening is a rescheduling from its original July 18 date, which was canceled due to rain.

8:15 p.m. Friday, Levitt Shell. Admission: free. Visit indiememphis.com or levittshell.org.

Rifftrax Live: "Starship Troopers" (R, 129 min.) Via satellite from their comedy headquarters, the RiffTrax team of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" alumni Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett provide live commentary to accompany a screening of the 1997 science-fiction epic in which militarized astronauts battle giant alien insects.

7 p.m. Thursday, Paradiso. Tickets: $12.50. Visit malco.com.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (R, 100 min.) The monthly screening of the ultimate audience-participation sci-fi rock 'n roll musical cult classic.

11:30 p.m. Friday, Evergreen Theatre, 1705 Poplar. Tickets: $10. Visit rockyhorrormemphis.com.

Rolling Stones Double Feature - Rock and Roll Circus (Not rated, 65 min.) and Some Girls: Live in Texas '78 (Not rated, 85 min.). The first is a famous made-for-TV event with such guests as John Lennon and The Who; the second is a concert documentary filmed when the band was at perhaps the height of its power.

8 p.m. Saturday, Levitt Shell. Admission: free. Visit indiememphis.com or levittshell.org.

Titans of the Ice Age: Go back to the beautiful and foreign frozen landscapes of North America, Europe and Asia 10,000 years before civilization. Imax film runs through Nov. 22. Tickets: $8.25; $7.50 senior citizens, and $6.50 for ages 3-12.

Imax Theater at Memphis Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central. Call 901-636-2362 for show times, tickets and reservations.

NOW SHOWING

After Earth (PG-13, 100 min.) HH Will Smith.

Bartlett 10.

The Conjuring (R, 112 min.) HHH America's stealth auteur, James Wan ("Saw," "Insidious") directs unpretentious, inexpensive, stylistically consistent horror movies that spook audiences and scare up enormous profits; he embraces the genre's tropes creepy dolls and puppets, loud music cues, figures lunging from shadows and demonstrates why they continue to unnerve. Inspired by (supposedly) true events, this Amityvillesque chiller set in 1971 casts Patrick Wilson and the impeccable Vera Farmiga as real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, asked to examine a haunted farmhouse occupied by a working-class couple (Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston) and their five daughters. The ghostly buildup of the first half is more powerful than the anticlimactic exorcism of the final act; still, this modest, effective thriller deserves its success, while Taylor merits a horror-movie Croix de Guerre for putting herself through Wan's demonic wringer.

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Palace Cinema, Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

The Croods (PG, 98 min.) HH The 3D animation is state of the art.

Bartlett 10.

Despicable Me 2 (PG, 98 min.) Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and his minions return.

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Paradiso, Stage Cinema.

Epic (PG, 103 min.) A teenage girl discovers a hidden world.

Bartlett 10.

Fast & Furious 6 (PG-13, 130 min.) HH Vin Diesel.

Bartlett 10.

Fruitvale Station (R, 85 min.) HHHH In the wake of the Trayvon Martin verdict, writer-director Ryan Coogler's feature debut arrives with the immediacy of a news dispatch and the urgency of a tent- revival sermon. A compassionate portrayal of the last day in the life of a 22-year-old black man, the film reclaims the humanity of victims transformed into political symbols and provides context for black America's distrust of the so-called justice system a distrust that dismays those who think it was the news media and not George Zimmerman's bullet that "injected race" into the Martin killing. Michael B. Jordan ("The Wire") stars as Oscar Grant, the unarmed Oakland man shot and killed by a transit officer while in custody for dubious reasons on New Year's Day 2009; the movie begins with actual cellphone footage of the tragedy. Constructed from fact and much-imagined incident, the film presents Grant as a conflicted figure a loving if sometimes short-tempered father, boyfriend and ex-con who is kind to animals and who quits dealing dope just hours before his death. If the narrative's saintly trajectory makes Grant's story into an allegory of martyrdom, Coogler and Jordan insist on the man's authenticity, which they convey through Grant's warmth and humor and anger, and by embedding him in the reality of the Oakland locations.

CinePlanet 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Palace Cinema, Paradiso.

Girl Most Likely (PG-13, 103 min.) Uptight Kristen Wiig moves back home with her free-spirit mom, Annette Bening.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

The Great Gatsby (PG-13, 142 min.) HH Leonado DiCaprio.

Bartlett 10.

Grown Ups 2 (PG-13, 101 min.) HH Jettisoning the earlier film's egregious schmaltz for an overload of (literal) gags involving vomit, loaded diapers and a CG urinating deer, this Happy Madison remedial-school version of "This Is 40" is as insane and dumbfounding and worthy of WTF mock-cult status as "The Room" or "Manos, Hands of Fate," even if it did earn $42 million on 3,491 screens its first weekend.

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Paradiso, Stage Cinema.

The Heat (R, 117 min.) Slobby Melissa McCarthy and uptight Sandra Bullock are an "odd couple" of cops.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

The Internship (PG-13, 128 min.) Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson seek jobs with Google.

Bartlett 10.

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain (R, 75 min.) A standup comedy concert film, shot at Madison Square Garden.

Bartlett 10.

The Lone Ranger (PG-13, 149 min.) HHH As off the rails as its out- of-control locomotives, this inventive, irreverent and eccentric epic spoof/critique of the manifest destiny of America and its movies ignores Clayton Moore while embracing the unholy Mad magazine cinephilia of the animated "Rango," the previous Western collaboration between star Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski, whose brazen robbery here of $225 million in production funds from Disney would give Butch and Sundance pause. A tall tale narrated by an ancient, wizened Tonto (Depp), the movie is stuffed to bursting with ideas (visual and otherwise), anti-authoritarian attitude and almost apocalyptic incident (fanged rabbits attack, a man's heart is eaten); it might have made for a true neo-Spaghetti Western if not for the necessity of transforming its central avenger (Armie Hammer) into the more or less expendable Lone Ranger, whose authority is undercut by the deadpan Tonto at every turn.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Man of Steel (PG-13, 143 min.) HHH As an epic movie "event" and attempt by director Zack Snyder ("Watchmen") and producer Christopher Nolan (the "Dark Knight" trilogy) to galvanize DC Comics into a legitimate big-screen rival to Marvel, the first sobersided Superman movie is a smash success; as a coherent film, it's problematic. To inject new life into an old, even Mosaic parable, the filmmakers chronologically fracture the familiar events of the infant Kal-El's journey from doomed (and here overconceptualized) Krypton to Kansas (where Diane Lane as Ma Kent easily takes acting honors from Amy Adams as Lois Lane); this origin story has become so mythic and influential that the movie's acknowledgment of the thematic connection between the first comic-book superhero and his otherworldly savior predecessor, Jesus, seems more inevitable than offensive.

Bartlett 10, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Monsters University (G, 118 min.) HHH A prequel to 2001's "Monsters, Inc.," the 14th Pixar feature film lacks the grandeur and ambition that characterize the company's most impressive work but succeeds absolutely as a clever, beautifully rendered "Revenge of the Nerds" campus comedy and origin story for the friendship of high- energy walking eyeball Mike Wazowksi (voiced by Billy Crystal) and his shaggy bearlike friend, Sulley (John Goodman).

Collierville Towne 16.

Pacific Rim (PG-13, 131 min.) HH Dedicated to monster masters Ray Harryhausen (the late stop-motion animator) and Ishiro Honda (director of "Godzilla," "Mothra" and "Rodan"), Guillermo del Toro's sincere, elaborate tribute to the (mostly) Japanese colossal- creature features that enthralled him as a child proves to be the director's squarest, least interesting film, as if the project's sense of fun and wonder collapsed beneath the gargantuism of its $190 million budget, in an aesthetic equivalent of the square-cube law that makes the story's monsters impossible in real life. The terrific opening cleverly establishes a near future in which titanic robots known as Jaegers, operated by teams of telepathically linked pilots, have been created to battle the city-stomping kaiju (colossal beasts) that emerge with regularity from a mysterious inter-dimensional ocean rift; the meticulously crafted fight sequences that result become repetitious, thanks to del Toro's insistence on presenting the action in intense closeup, to give a frightening realism and grandeur to blade-headed monsters inspired by the comically absurd creatures of the "Gamera" sequels of the 1960s.

CinePlanet 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema, Paradiso.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (PG, 106 min.) A second adventure inspired by the fantasy book series by Rick Riordan.

CinePlanet 16 (in 3-D), Collierville Towne 16 (in 3-D), Cordova Cinema (in 3-D), DeSoto Cinema 16 (in 3-D), Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Palace Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso (in 3- D), Stage Cinema (in 3-D).

The Purge (R, 85 min.) HHH A state-of-the-art home security system and an exclusive gated address provide insufficient protection when an all-American family (led by father Ethan Hawke) is besieged by psycho thugs in this effective horror-thriller.

Bartlett 10.

Red 2 (PG-13, 116 min.) HHH Directed with snap by Dean Parisot ("Galaxy Quest"), this witty follow-up to 2010's DC Comics-inspired sleeper hit succeeds largely on the charm of its wily veteran cast, with top comedy honors going to John Malkovich as Marvin Boggs, a paranoid ex-"black ops" agent whose impersonation of a corpse represents about the only relief from a repertoire of pulled faces that Art Carney might envy. Other returning "Retired, Extremely Dangerous" operatives include Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and Paul Cox; Mary-Louise Parker also is back, as Willis' girlfriend, the lone non-spy/non-assassin of the cast. Newcomers include Anthony Hopkins (a "Da Vinci of death" weapons scientist) and Catherine Zeta- Jones (Willis' "kryptonite").

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

R.I.P.D. (PG-13, 96 min.) HH Based on a Dark Horse comic book series and immediately DOA at the box office, this dopey "Men in Black" rip-off imagines a supernatural Rest In Peace Department of deceased law officers, tasked with keeping Earth safe from restless menacing ghosts known as "Deados"; Ryan Reynolds is the newly departed Boston cop recruited to be an RIPD rookie and teamed with a long-dead Wild West lawman named Roycephus Pulsipher, played by a goofy Jeff Bridges (already parodying his turn in 2010's "True Grit").

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Smurfs 2 (PG, 105 min.) HH "It's in my face!" complained a young girl new to 3D at the Memphis preview for this film; child, we feel your pain. Another blend of live-action and digital animation directed by Raja Gosnell, this sequel to the 2011 hit could give anyone dare I say it? the blues. The opening scene is a re- telling of one of the less-appealing aspects of the Smurfiverse, Smurfette's origin story, which affirms the idea that women are figures of chaos whose (sexual) energy must be tamed and suppressed for the security of the community: Papa Smurf (voiced by Jonathan Winters) gives Smurfette (Katy Perry) a "makeover" (yes, that word is used), so that this unruly creation of the wizard Gargamel (Hank Azarie, impressive under the circumstances) becomes sweet and nice and, especially, blue: Is enforced color conformity really a good message for 2013? Credited in part to former Memphian J. David Stem, the story follows the kidnapped Smurfette to Paris, where she is held by Gargamel, and his new creations, the Smurflike but dun- colored Naughties (Christina Ricci and J.B. Smoove); Gargamel keeps the Naughties strung out on magical "essence," making him a paticularly creepy pimp/Fagin power figure in an unsettling parable of abuse.

CinePlanet 16 (in 3-D), Collierville Towne 16 (in 3-D), Cordova Cinema (in 3-D), DeSoto Cinema 16 (in 3-D), Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Palace Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso (in 3- D), Stage Cinema (in 3-D), Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Star Trek Into Darkness (PG-13, 132 min.) HHH Director-fanboy J.J. Abrams' follow-up to his franchise-reviving 2009 "Star Trek"is a super-glossy spectacle of bludgeoning action and emotion moment to moment, it's as entertaining, rousing and visually impressive as any recent science-fiction action epic.

Bartlett 10.

Turbo (PG, 96 min.) A snail dreams of winning the Indy 500.

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

20 Feet from Stardom (PG-13, 91 min.) HHH Revealing, inspiring and thoroughly entertaining, this documentary celebration of the "pure expression" of the human voice provides an overdue appreciation of Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Mable John and the other backup vocalists of the rock and soul era whose contributions to many of the most memorable recordings of the past half century too often have been overlooked or even buried. Directed by Los Angeles-based Morgan Neville, a Memphis fan whose previous projects include documentaries about Stax, Sam Phillips and Johnny Cash.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

2 Guns (R, 109 min.) Undercover agents Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg anger a drug cartel.

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Palace Cinema, Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Studio on the Square, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

The Way, Way Back (PG-13, 103 min.) HH If "Meatballs" were relocated from a summer camp to a water park and reworked into a semi-"serious" film, with half its running time devoted to Chris Makepeace's poignant back story and dysfunctional home life, it would be something like this somewhat trite but beautifully acted and nicely atmospheric coming-of-age tale, which marks the impressive directing debut of its screenwriters, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (adapted screenplay Oscar-winners for "The Descendants"). Sam Rockwell is the Bill Murray character here, the laidback, deadpan, somewhat irresponsible but of course good-hearted manager of Water Wizz, a Massachusetts oceanfront attraction; with apparently nothing better to do, he becomes a tolerant guru of cool and conveniently available summer mentor to 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James), an almost autistically awkward youth on a Fourth-of-July beach house vacation with his loving but insecure mother (Toni Collette) and her overbearing, vaguely menacing new boyfriend (played with change-of- pace coldness by Steve Carell).

Collierville Towne 16, Ridgeway Four.

We're the Millers (R, 110 min.) Pot dealer Jason Sudeikis and stripper Jennifer Aniston form a fake family to elude the Feds.

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Palace Cinema, Paradiso, Ridgeway Four, Stage Cinema, Studio on the Square, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

White House Down (PG-13, 132 min.) HH A tough but lovable would- be Secret Service agent (Channing Tatum) with a plucky young daughter (Joey King) helps an Obamaesque "academic" of a president (Jamie Foxx) become a reluctant action hero after terroristic right- wing traitors take over the White House.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

The Wolverine (PG-13, 129 min.) Hugh Jackman is back as the Marvel Comics mutant.

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Palace Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Studio on the Square, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

World War Z (PG-13, 116 min.) HH U.N. troubleshooter Brad Pitt is followed on the quest for a cure for a zombie pandemic that has restricted noninfected humanity to a few precarious outposts..

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

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