Capsule Review of Films Playing at Local Theaters

2012-09-13T00:03:00Z 2012-09-13T06:49:28Z Capsule Review of Films Playing at Local Theaters Daily Herald
September 13, 2012 12:03 am

All reviews are by the Daily Herald and wire services; summaries of objectionable content are provided by the Motion Picture Association of America. Have any movie questions? Email theticket@Heraldextra.com.

OPENING

ARBITRAGE Review on D1

COSMOPOLIS Review on D3

FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL ... Review on D3

ALSO OPENING

FINDING NEMO (1 hr., 40 min.; G ) The inspiring story of one clownfish father's ocean-spanning search to find his fishnapped son returns to theaters! Reconnect with stodgy, yet determined Marlin, plucky Nemo, dotty Dory, nutty Gill, beefy Bruce and more. This is better than watching it on DVD or Blu-ray at home with your kids! Because it is! (Pay no attention to the beefed up 3-D ticket price.)

LAST OUNCE OF COURAGE (1 hr., 40 min.; PG for thematic elements, some war images and brief smoking) It's all of the people in America who keep harshing on PDC -- public displays of Christianity -- who need to be stopped in this flag-waving, Jesus-championing, freedom-isn't-free-avowing drama. The production values are decent, but strident sermonizing and a low-rent cast douses the fire in the movie's belly. [C]

THE MINE (1 hr., 45 min.; PG-13 for violence and some scary images) Five teenage friends decide to spend the night in a creepy abandoned mine. Because nobody ever lived to regret making that kind of plan to kill time on the weekend. "Guys! Hey, guys! Instead of going bowling or tipping cows, let's try to get lost and scare the bejeezus out of ourselves in that old mine." No reviews of this film were available prior to the Ticket deadline.

RESIDENT EVIL (1 hr., 35 min.; R for sequences of strong violence throughout) The fifth (?!) "Resident Evil" movie finds series star Milla Jovovich continuing her crusade against the undead, with serial growler Michelle Rodriguez rejoining the fight -- after dying in the first film -- as ball-breaking commando Rain Ocampo. Franchise mastermind Paul W.S. Anderson directs for the third time. This film was not screened for critics.

CONTINUING

2016: OBAMA'S AMERICA (1 hr., 30 min.; PG for thematic elements, brief language and smoking images) The tag line for this Obama-deconstructing documentary suggests that, "Love him or hate him, you don't know him," but the portrait of the 44th president of the United States painted by conservative ideologue Dinesh D'Souza won't shock or surprise most viewers. D'Souza's dim view preaches to the conservative choir. [C]

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2 hrs., 18 min.; PG-13 for sequences of action and violence) Sony pulls a Ctrl+Alt+Del on its lucrative Spider-Man franchise, but the filmmakers spend most of the new film rehashing backstory we've barely had time to forget since Spidey first swung into theaters. There's lots of big action, but none of it is particularly amazing. A cold-blooded cash grab. [C]

THE BOURNE LEGACY (2 hrs., 25 min.; PG-13 for violence and action sequences) Instead of merely being Bourne again, the fourth film in the superspy series passes the baton to Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, a newer model killing machine who needs "chems" (pills apparently spiked with awesome sauce) to function. A fittingly tense, savvy continuation to the high-end espionage series. [A]

THE CAMPAIGN (1 hr., 30 min.; R for crude sexual content, language and brief nudity) It's dumb versus dumber when Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell contest each other for the Ferrell character's longtime political post. The mix of savvy commentary, outrageous laughs, D-grade dumb-cluckery and unrelentingly buffoonish characters makes for an queasy comedic brew. [C]

THE COLD LIGHT OF DAY (1 hr., 33 min.; PG-13 for language and sexual content) Meek Wall Street guy Will (Superman-in-waiting Henry Cavill) is stunned to learn that his diplomat dad (Bruce Willis) is actually a hard-nosed CIA agent. Can the son fill in for his father after a top secret briefcase goes missing? Despite its top-flight case (Sigourney Weaver also appears), this boilerplate spy thriller is a low-interest foreign affair. [D]

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2 hrs., 44 min.; PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language) The conclusion to Christopher Nolan's trilogy of Batman films is a thunderous epic that pits the Caped Crusade against a grim array of foes. The movie drags in a few spots, but is acted to a T. When it works, it sweeps viewers through a blistering gamut of thrills and emotion. [B+]

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS (1 hr., 34 min.; PG for some rude humor) The third "Wimpy Kid" movie finds actor Zachary Gordon rather literally looming a bit large -- isn't it the next one after this where the wimpy kid has a mid-life crisis and buys a Ferrari? -- but still capable of dispensing juvenile humor and sass. The best part of the movie is his relationship with his ever-patient father (Steve Zahn). [B-]

THE EXPENDABLES 2 (1 hr., 42 min.; R for strong bloody violence throughout) Everyone who didn't get expended in the first film is back, plus a few more (Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris). Some of the old familiar silly bravado keeps this uber-macho sequel afloat for a while, but the action and violence get so over-the-top that it eventually becomes hard to do much more than shake one's head and smirk. [C-]

HOPE SPRINGS (1 hr., 39 min.; PG-13 for mature thematic content involving sexuality) There are acting fireworks aplenty as Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones play longtime spouses in search of their marriage's withered sexual savor. A movie for adults about adult sexuality? It's here, it (mostly) works, and it may just help older viewers find their own missing spark. [B+]

ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT (1 hr., 27 min.; PG for mild rude humor and action/peril) Here we go again, again, again with the "Ice Age" crew of merry prehistoric pals. There are so many characters in this, the third sequel to "Ice Age," that everyone but nut-happy Scrat needs names tags. On the other hand, the comedy is light, funny and character-driven, and the voice acting adds personality. [B+]

LAWLESS (1 hr., 55 min.; R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality nudity) An upmarket mobsters 'n' moonshiners shoot-em-up, "Lawless" is like a drive-in movie for the arthouse crowd. It has top-shelf production values, solemn self-importance and several rip-snorting performances by a colorful cast. The downside is that it's all in the service of glorifying greedy opportunism on the part of two-bit thugs. [C-]

MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE'S MOST WANTED (1 hr., 33 min.; PG for some mild action and rude humor) Bouncing back from its middling predecessor, the delightful third "Madagascar" movie piles on the laughs as it rejoins the series' quartet of New York zoo animals in their quest to return to the Big Apple. Parents and children alike will enjoy the nonstop animal shenanigans. [A]

MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS (2 hrs., 22 min.; PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, and a mild drug reference) Six superheroes reluctantly band together to save the planet in this long-awaited Marvel Comics blockbuster. Viewers may zone out during the endless, frequently listless battle scenes, but the film stays on its toes with excellent acting and reams of snappy dialogue. [B-]

MEN IN BLACK 3 (1 hr., 43 min.; PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and brief suggestive content) The "Men in Black" alphabet soup recipe is improved by the addition a second K, with Josh Brolin doing a dead-on impersonation of a younger Tommy Lee Jones. Everything else feels like a bowl of the same old stuff that sat in the fridge for eight or nine years before being hastily microwaved for theatrical release. [D]

MOONRISE KINGDOM (1 hr., 34 min.; PG-13 for sexual content and smoking) Young hearts beat faster in this droll and engaging evocation of first love, here conceived between a 12-year-old Khaki Scout (a Boy Scout in all but trademark-infringing name) and a lonely girl. Fussy director Wes Anderson is thoroughly in touch with his muse in this gentle, moving film. [A]

NITRO CIRCUS THE MOVIE 3-D (1 hr., 28 min.; PG-13 for depiction of extreme and dangerous stunts throughout, and for language) Youthful punks feel the need for speed -- and also falls, crashes, explosions, etc. -- in this "Jackass"-style binge of extreme stunts by extremely adventurous daredevils. A literally numbskulled enterprise that will only delight teenage boys (and boys at heart). [C]

THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN (1 hr., 44 min.; PG mild thematic elements and brief language) Filmmaker Peter Hedges wants to channel Frank Capra with this story of a childless couple who attempt to raise a magical son, but his execution is far too labored. You can't shove wholesome uplift down people's throats and expect them to just grin and bear it. The whole enterprise simply feels too force fed. [C-]

PARANORMAN (1 hr., 33 min.; PG for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor and language) A cute, sorta weird kid sees dead people. Then again, so does everyone else ... when there's a zombie apocalypse! Norman Babcock certainly has a sixth sense for big laughs in this fleet, funny and family-friendly animated romp. [B+]

THE POSSESSION (1 hr., 31 min.; PG-13 for mature thematic material involving violence and disturbing sequences) A young girl gets more than she or her divorced dad bargained for when a unique wooden box at a yard sale turns out to have an angry demon locked up inside. There are a few chilling effects and ominous moments, but most of the movie's big scares are perfunctory and predictable. [D+]

PREMIUM RUSH (1 hr., 31 min.; PG-13 for some violence, intense action sequences and language) A focused Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a deliriously loopy Michael Shannon are adversaries in this simple, yet savvy ticking clock thriller. A bike messenger (Gordon-Levitt) attempts to race across New York with an explosive secret package, while dodging a corrupt cop (Shannon) and his wily machinations. [B]

SAINTS AND SOLDIERS: AIRBORNE CREED (1 hr., 39 min.; PG-13 for war violence) The second film in the "Saints and Soldiers" franchise is a sequel in terms of theme, but not in terms of story or characters. Though it has similar story parameters, the new installment has a less cohesive narrative and slightly weaker performances. The strong and daring finale, on the other hand, makes up for a lot of shortcomings. [B]

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (1 hr., 30 min.; PG-13 for thematic elements involving some drug material, and for some language) Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron are all dressed up with nowhere to go in this visually lavish reimagining of the Snow White fairy tale into a run-of-the-mill fantasy adventure epic. Some interesting pieces, but nothing fits together. [C+]

STEP UP REVOLUTION (1 hr., 39 min.; PG-13 for some suggestive dancing and language) Points to the "Step Up" franchise for both sticking to its core formula and mixing it up enough to give the newest entry a little pizazz. Alas, the acting is stiff and the story is silly. It's all too easy for the mind to wander whenever something other than booty-wigglin' gyrations is filling up the screen. [C-]

TED (1 hr., 45 min.; R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language and some drug use) Shocking and shamefully funny, this deliriously profane, hilariously inappropriate comedy finds a man and the magical talking teddy bear from his childhood drifting through life in a haze of marijuana smoke. Though uneven in spots, "Ted" is consistently funny and surprisingly sweet. [A-]

TOTAL RECALL (1 hr., 58 min.; PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity and language) Though it gradually runs out of steam and has a flatly ludicrous sci-fi gimmick driving much of its plot, this reinvention of the '90s sci-fi blockbuster has spectacular chase scenes, top-shelf visual effects, charismatic acting and a strong mid-movie mind-tweak. [B]

THE WORDS (1 hr., 37 min.; PG-13 for brief strong language and smoking) With its movie-within-a-movie-within-a-movie structure and focus on stealing someone else's ideas, "The Words" is like the "Inception" of highbrow literary plagiarism blockbusters. Well, except that it's not as interesting as that description makes it sound. Some of the material connects, but story and structure problems ultimately bog things down. [C-]

SALT LAKE COUNTY

These films are playing exclusively in Salt Lake County at the theaters indicated.

Broadway Centre at 111 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City -- (801) 321-0310

Carmike 12 at 1600 W. Fox Park Drive, West Jordan -- (801) 562-5760

Carmike Ritz Hollywood Connection at 3217 S. Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City -- (801) 973-4386

Century 16 Salt Lake at 125 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City -- (801) 486-9652

Century 16 Union Heights at 7670 S. Union Park Ave., Sandy -- (801) 568-3456

Cinemark 24 at 7301 S. Jordan Landing, West Jordan -- (801) 282-9722

Cinemark Draper at 12129 S. State St., Draper -- (801) 619-6494

Cinemark Movies 9 at 9359 S. 700 East, Sandy -- (801) 571-0601

Cinemark Movies 10 at 2227 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City -- (801) 466-3797

Cinemark Valley Fair Movies 9 at 3601 S. 2700 West, West Valley City -- (801) 969-7281

Clark Planetarium at 110 S. 40 West, Salt Lake City -- (801) 532-7827

Megaplex 12 at 200 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City -- (801) 304-INFO

Megaplex 17 at 9355 S. State St., Sandy -- (801) 304-INFO

Megaplex 20 at 11400 S. Bangerter Hwy., South Jordan -- (801) 304-INFO

Redwood Drive-in at 3688 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City -- (801) 973-7088

Showstar Cinema 6 at 1904 W. 5400 South, Taylorsville -- (801) 957-9032

Tower Theatre at 876 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City -- (801) 321-0310

THE APPARITION (1 hr., 22 min.; PG-13 for terror/frightening images and some sensuality) Draco Malfoy from the "Harry Potter" movies plays an expert occultist who helps terrified young homeowners -- including one who hasn't told the other about his parapsychological past -- repel a dark presence. A convoluted plot and slow-burn pacing reduce the viewing experience to grinding boredom with a few jolts of surprise. [D] Cinemark 24

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (1 hr., 33 min.; PG-13 for thematic material including child imperilment, some disturbing images, language and brief sensuality) This 2012 Sundance stunner contrasts a vividly-drawn real-world setting with a dreamlike journey through a child's perception of the danger to her Gulf Coast island home from a gathering storm. [A] Broadway

THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (2 hrs., 4 min.; PG-13 for sexual content and language) Old farts from Blighty get a new lease on life as call center employees hosted by a run-down hotel in India. The movie relies mostly on the charms of it all-star cast, though the story makes some well-taken points despite its generic sweetness and puppy-dog eagerness. [B+] Cinemark 9, Cinemark 10

BRANDED (1 hr., 46 min.; R for language and some sexual content) There's a nutty, wild-eyed fever dream about the physical effects of advertising on mere humans that desperately tries of break free of this ponderous, blathering, on-the-nose critique of the lengths to which corporations will go -- to the detriment of all of us, mind you -- to market their products. A nifty idea mired in an unholy mess. [D] Megaplex 17

CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER (1 hr., 32 min.; R for language, sexual content and drug use) Actress Rashida Jones and actor Will McCormack show great promise as a screenwriting duo with this relationship dramedy about two people who struggle to move on after ending a long romantic relationship. The film strikes a lot of poignantly relatable notes before drifting into a muddled third act and finale. [B] Broadway, Century 16 Salt Lake

MAGIC MIKE (1 hr., 49 min.; R for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language and some drug use) Did you hear the one about how chiseled Channing Tatum used to be a male exotic dancer? "Magic Mike" relates the (broadly fictionalized) details, with help by especially genial work from Tatum, a fun, sleazy supporting turn by Matthew McConaughey, and the ground presence of newcomer Cody Horn. [B] Cinemark 10

KILLER JOE (1 hr., 42 min.; NC-17 for graphic disturbing content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality) A suave, steely sheriff (Matthew McConaughey) who does contract killing on the side terrorizes a bumbling dope fiend (and various associates) who hires the lawman to kill a family member for an insurance payout. McConaughey's devilish performance energizes the grotesque satire. [B+] Broadway

THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES (1 hr., 40 min.; PG for thematic elements and language) A well-crafted, engaging chronicle of runaway American excess, Lauren Greenfield's Sundance Film Festival stunner documents the marriage of time share tycoon David Siegel; his 30-years-younger trophy wife, Jackie; and their quest to build a 90,000-square-foot mansion with 30-plus bathrooms. [A] Broadway

ROBOT & FRANK (1 hr., 30 min.; PG-13 for some language) The Robot in "Robot & Frank" is essentially a futuristic health and wellness valet that supervises the at-home care of Frank, a grizzled former cat burglar affected by dementia. With a wonderful lead performance by Frank Langella, the movie makes you believe in the bond between its title characters and root for their low key misadventures to turn out all right. [B+] Broadway

SLEEPWALK WITH ME (1 hr., 30 min.; no MPAA rating) Veteran funnyman Mike Birbiglia is co-writer and co-director of this canny comedy about relationships, in which a commitment-averse comedian (Birbiglia, naturally) starts knockin' em dead only after expanding his act to include his personal life. Smart casting and great acting drives the film's satisfying examination of success. [A] Broadway

TYLER PERRY'S MADEA'S WITNESS PROTECTION (1 hr., 45 min.; R for violence throughout and brief sexuality) Eugene Levy is the latest untutored plebe to fall under the life-lesson-dispensing benefaction of filmmaker Tyler Perry's cross-dressing alter ego. It is sorta funny to see Levy meet his manifest destiny of starring opposite the broadly hammy Perry. Neither the best nor the worst of Madea's oeuvre. [C-] Cinemark Valley Fair

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