By Ryan Michael Painter
(KUTV) Recommended films showing in Salt Lake City for the week of April 19 – 25, 2013
1. Jurassic Park IMAX 3D (PG-13)
2. Oblivion (PG-13)
3. The Sapphires (PG-13)
4. 42 (PG-13)
5. Evil Dead (R)
1. The Croods (PG)
2. Oz the Great and Powerful (PG)
3. Life of Pi (PG)
4. Beautiful Creatures (PG-13)
5. Wreck-It Ralph (PG)
1. Upstream Color (NR)
2. No (R)
3. Room 237 (NR)
4. The Sapphires (PG-13)
5. Trance (R)
New In Theaters This Week:
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director - Joseph Kosinski
Starring - Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko
Rated - PG-13
Recommended to - Those looking for a visually stunning sci-fi experience that barely makes it through its minefield of plot holes and similarities to superior films.
Synopsis - A war with an alien race known as the Scavs has left Earth uninhabitable. Jack (Tom Cruise) and his wife Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) have been left behind to monitor and repair the various drone that now scout the wastelands of Earth and protect the giant machinery that provides power for the surviving human race who have fled to Saturn's moon Titian. With their tour of duty nearly complete Victoria looks forward to returning to society. Jack, who feels emotionally connected with Earth, begins to question everything he knows about his mission and the future of mankind.
Review - I love sci-fi films and as a result I've seen more than my share of them. My overall impression of “Oblivion” is that it relies heavily on the visual style and many of the traditional narrative tropes of the genre. There’s nothing in this film that I haven’t seen before. That doesn’t make "Oblivion" a bad film; it just lacks a real sense of originality. I suspect that those that love science fiction will find much to like in the film, particularly if they aren't bothered by all the visual and thematic nods to other movies. I, however, felt that the story wasn't quite strong enough to overcome its familiarity. Director Joseph Kosinski ("Tron Legacy") is extremely talented when it comes to giving his films a wonderful visual aesthetic. He does seem to have a hard time bringing out the warmth of humanity from his actors. The sterile coldness works for some characters, but undermines others.
"Oblivion" is a respectable film that leaves me wondering if science fiction needs to find a way to completely reinvent itself. I don't want to believe that there isn't any new themes, both visual and narrative, left to be discovered.
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director - Wayne Blair
Starring - Chris O'Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy
Rated - PG-13
Recommended to - Those that like a little politics, history and song in their feel good films.
Synopsis - In 1968 four young Australian Aboriginal girls want desperately to break through the racism and segregation to become a girl group. Discovered by Davie Lovelace (Chris O'Dowd), a down-on-his-luck musician with a few connections, the girls are given their chance at stardom when they get the opportunity to tour Vietnam and entertain the US troops.
Review - "The Sapphires" is a pleasant film that manages to address racism and societies willingness to pigeonhole large groups of people based entirely on false stereotypes. It’s very similar to the recently released Jackie Robinson film "42," only instead of baseball the boundaries being crossed involve music. It is based on a true story. Unfortunately because I didn’t grow up in Australia I don’t know the extent of the impact that these four girls had on society. In the context of the film it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that "The Sapphires" is a nice piece of nostalgia that manages to point out the good and the bad of life in the late sixties without ever feeling unbalanced or preachy.
4 out of 5 Stars
Director - Shane Carruth
Starring - Amy Seimetz, Shane Carruth, Andrew Sensenig and Thiago Martins
Rated - Not Rated
Recommended to - Fans of experimental cinema in the vein of The Tree of Life
Synopsis - Kris is the latest victim of a thief who uses a powerful drug to temporarily reprogram his targets to willingly give him access to their finances. The drug has a lasting side effect that connects those that have taken it in an almost unperceivable way.
Review - Share Carruth impressed audiences with his debut film, 2004s Primer, and returns 9 years later with an equally beguiling follow up. Upstream Color is a hauntingly cerebral sci-fi romance about love as two characters are drawn together by a force they do not understand. It is rife with gorgeous cinematography reminiscent of Emmanuel Lubezkis work for Terrence Malicks The Tree of Life. Where Malicks film took audiences into space in search of mankinds origin, Carruths film goes beneath the skin to follow the hypnotic drug (which is somehow carried by a caterpillar) through the victim's bloodstream.
"Upstream Color" is the sort of film that implies more than it explains. It is a puzzle that forces audiences to be engaged and be active participants, rather than passive ones. If you’re willing to embark on the journey and see it through to its end you will be rewarded. If you’re looking to tune out you’d be better off watching something less ambitious.
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director - Ken Scott
Starring - Patrick Huard, Julie LeBreton, Antonie Bertrand
Rated - R
Recommended to - Those looking for a surprisingly funny and uplifting film.
Synopsis - In his early twenties David "Starbuck" Wozniak frequented a fertility clinic trading sperm for cash. Two decades later he learns that he's the father of 533 children, 142 of whom have filed a class action lawsuit in hopes of learning the identity of their father.
Review - I expected very little from this French-Canadian film. The premise suggested that “Starbuck” would be filled with vulgarity; it wasn’t. "Starbuck" is actually a very funny and heartwarming film about a man without purpose who discovers his place in the world. Initially he's not a very sympathetic character, but as the story progresses I began to understand him and by film’s end my opinion of him had entirely changed.
Ginger & Rosa
3 out of 5 Stars
Director - Sally Potter
Starring - Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Oliver Platt
Rated - PG-13
Recommended to - Those looking for a great performance from Elle Fanning in a so-so film.
Synopsis - Ginger (Elle Fanning) and Rosa (Alice Englert) are best friends living in London in the 1960s. The Cuban Missile Crisis lingers in the background as Ginger and Rosa dive headfirst into the wild abandon of their teens only to find themselves drifting apart.
Review - "Ginger & Rosa" is a difficult coming-of-age story. The cast is quite good with Elle Fanning being excellent, but the script feels a bit empty. The rebellion feels forced and writer/director Sally Potter doesn't capitalize on the atmosphere of the era where it is set. It simply pales to films like "An Education" or this year's Sundance Film Festival sleeper "It Felt Like Love." See it for Fanning, but be prepared to feel under whelmed.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcast Group)