Thursday, July 25 2013, 07:27 PM MDT
Box Office: Recommended Films for July 19-25, 2013
Recommended films showing in Salt Lake City for the week of July 19 – July 25, 2013
1. Pacific Rim (PG-13)
2. The Conjuring (R)
3. Man of Steel (PG-13)
4. The Heat (R)
5. Star Trek Into Darkness (PG-13)
1. Monsters University (G)
2. Despicable Me 2 (PG)
3. Turbo (PG)
4. The Croods (PG)
5. Epic (PG)
1. The Way Way Back (PG-13)
2. The Kings of Summer (R)
3. 20 Feet From Stardom (Not Rated)
4. Much Ado About Nothing (PG-13)
5. Girl Most Likely (PG-13)
3 out of 5 Stars
Director: David Soren
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Samuel L. Jackson
Genre: Animated, Family
Recommended To: Those looking for an overly familiar story in a slightly different shell.
Synopsis: Turbo is a snail obsessed with car racing. This puts him at odds with his snail community. After a freak accident gives Turbo superpowers he sets out to achieve his dream of racing in the Indy 500.
Review: The story of an outcast chasing down his dreams and winning the adoration of those who initially rejected him is fairly common. With Turbo that story is pushed to an absurd level as a super powered snail chases down his dream of racing in the Indy 500. Not that the absurdity gets in the way of the story. If I can believe in flying elephants, talking cars or aliens rising from the Pacific Ocean I can certainly believe in a speedy snail. The problem with Turbo is that it feels a lot like Pixar’s Cars with a snail as its protagonist. The plot isn’t new and follows a fairly traditional formula. The animation is fairly impressive; I’d expect no less from DreamWorks Animation. Turbo isn’t destined to be a classic, but for children and less demanding adults it provides an ample amount of entertainment.
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: James Wan
Starring: Vera Farminga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Recommended To: Horror fans looking for a creepy and often genuinely scary ghost story.
Synopsis: A pair of renowned paranormal investigators tries to help a family escape the clutches of a menacing demon that lives within the remote home they have just moved in to.
Review: When I sit down to watch a horror film I want an experience that first and foremost offers genuine frights. The Conjuring isn’t an original tale, we’ve seen the haunted house narrative dozens of times before, but it does feature some fantastic performances, a surprisingly solid script from Chad and Carey Haynes and great direction from James Wan (Saw,Insidious) who has become a formidable master of horror. Most importantly The Conjuring features its share of frights. It’s not nearly as evocative as The Exorcist, a film that never really leaves you after you see it, but it is far better than the majority of horror films that creep their way in and out of theaters every year.
Girl Most Likey
3 out of 5 Stars
Directors: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Darren Criss
Recommended To: Those looking for a pleasant film that offers a few laughs but never really excels.
Synopsis: Imogene (Kristen Wiig) was once a promising young playwright, but her ego and lack of playwriting have gotten in the way of her career. When a botched attempt to regain the attention of her ex-boyfriend fails Imogene finds herself back at home with her eccentric mother (Annette Bening) and socially challenged brother (Christopher Fitzgerald).
Review: I liked Girl Most Likely from start to finish, but it never really engaged me. Kristen Wiig is enjoyable to watch as a washed up writer, but Michelle Morgan’s script feels a bit superficial and never seems to take full advantage of the funny situations the characters stray into. There is an ample amount of ’90s nostalgia that doesn’t quite work. The scenes with Imogene and her younger brother Ralph are the most rewarding, but they are too few to have much of an impact. Had the film tried to be less zany and more honest I think it would have been far more effective. Still, if you’re looking for a pleasant way to spend a couple hours Girl Most Likely is worth a look.
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Dead Parisot
Starring: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren
Genre: Comedy, Action
Recommended To: Those that thought the first film needed more mindless action and less clever plotting.
Synopsis: When a classified document linking Frank (Bruce Willis) and Marvin (John Malkovich) to a Cold War mission is leaked to the internet the duo are suddenly on the top of everyone’s kill list.
Review: I enjoyed the antics of Red. Maybe it was the chance to see Helen Mirren handle a machine gun or John Malkovich play the one of his kookiest characters yet or Mary-Louise Parker as a lonely woman in search of adventure. Maybe it was even Bruce Willis playing that same burnt-out-action hero that he’s made an enjoyable career out of. Maybe it was Morgan Freeman, who makes almost any film watchable.
Whatever it was is missing from Red 2. Instead of a clever action film Red 2 is a herky-jerky ride that ups the mayhem and dumb downs the plot. It lacks the wonderful post-Cold War feel where enemies are suddenly allowed to explore what it is like to be a friend.
Watched back to back Red and its sequel might be more rewarding, but as a standalone experience Red 2 feels a bit hollow.
The Way Way Back
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Directors: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Toni Collette
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Recommended To: Those looking for a crowd-pleasing coming of age drama featuring a fantastic performance from Sam Rockwell.
Synopsis: 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James) is forced to spend his summer vacation with his mother and her insufferable boyfriend. To find relief Duncan escapes to the Water Wizz water park where he finds acceptance and a real father figure in Owen (Sam Rockwell), the park’s manager.
Review: The Way Way Back was one of the more enjoyable films that I saw at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It’s a delightful coming of age tale. What it lacks in originality it makes up with fine performances from the cast, particularly from the leads Sam Rockwell and Liam James. Many have noted that there is a particular familiarity to the story and the characters. Critics have drawn comparisons to films like Meatballs, Adventureland and The Perks of Being a Wallflower and that’s not a bad thing seeing as those films had their share of critical acclaim.
1.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon
Genre: Action, Comedy
Recommended To: Those looking for a bad Men in Black rip off that replaces the alien element with supernatural themes.
Synopsis: When Nick (Ryan Reynolds), a police officer, is killed in the line of duty he is forced to join a supernatural police force tasked to with tracking down demons hidden amongst the living.
Review: R.I.P.D. is a terrible film that takes the general premise of Men In Black as it teams a young cop, Ryan Reynolds, with grumpy aged veteran, Jeff Bridges, and pits them against an army of supernatural bad guys and a corrupt cop. Our heroes butt heads for the majority of the story only to rise as best buddies once the final conflict rears its head. The dialogue is incredibly stupid, Bridges’ performance is cringe inducing, Reynolds’ charm falls flat, the special effects are rubbery and cartoonish and the story is a series of clichés that could only be forgiven if the rest of the film was actually watchable. You’d be better watching something else. Anything else.
-Ryan Michael Painter
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