Saturday, August 24 2013, 01:15 PM MDT
Box Office: Recommended Films For July 26 - August 1
Recommended films showing in Salt Lake City for the week of July 26 – August 1, 2013
By: Ryan Michael Painter
1. Pacific Rim (PG-13)
2. The Conjuring (R)
3. The Way, Way Back (PG-13)
4. The Wolverine (PG-13)
5. Man of Steel (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. 20 Feet From Stardom (Not Rated)
3. Unfinished Song (PG-13)
4. Much Ado About Nothing (PG-13)
5. Girl Most Likely (PG-13)
3 out of 5 Stars
Director: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fatasy
Recommended To: Those looking for a film that tops X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but aren’t expecting the definitive
Synopsis: Logan (Hugh Jackman) travels to Japan to visit a man he saved years before. Upon arriving he is pulled into a family’s violent struggle for control over the most powerful company in Japan.
Review: Following the debacle that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine it was hard to imagine that one film could undo the damage and breathe life back into poor old Logan. The Wolverine is the story that many long-time Wolverine fans have been waiting for. It’s based somewhat on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s limited series Wolverine and serves as a sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand. But is it the movie those fans (which I count myself as being a part of) have been waiting for? No, not quite.
The Wolverine is a beautiful film that has some great ideas as it strives to be a serious comic book drama. Its story is somewhat convoluted as it weaves in numerous dream sequences while trying to also establish a romantic connection between Logan and Mariko, a young woman Logan is asked to protect, that doesn’t quite work. The secondary characters feel undeveloped and as a result their actions feel unmotivated and random. The central ideas are right and Jackman is still fantastic as Logan, but the film never really grabs the audience and pulls them in emotionally.
Director James Mangold has made some wonderful films (Cop Land, Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma); he’s also made some mediocre ones (Kate & Leopold, Knight and Day). Unfortunately The Wolverine is more mediocre than it is good. It’s far better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine but almost anything would have been.
The Wolverine is a decent, but ultimately disappointing film.
3 out of 5 Stars
Director: Andrew Williams
Starring: Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave, Gemma Arterton
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Recommended To: Those interested in seeing Terence Stamp open up a bit in a film that plays it safe to provide the expected feel-good experience.
Synopsis: Arthur (Terence Stamp) never cared for his wife’s love for the community choir, but following her death he reluctantly fills her chair and begins to understand the healing power of music when paired with a sense of belonging.
Review: Unfinished Song isn’t nearly as daring as last year’s Quartet, but it is more digestible as it travels a fairly conventional course that plays out exactly how you’d expect it to. The performances are good, particularly from Terence Stamp who shows a more tender side than I’m used to seeing. Considering director/writer Paul Andrew William has made a name for himself by making horror films it isn’t surprising that he sticks to a predictable formula. What is surprising is that he’s able to infuse Unfinished Song with a wonderful amount of warmth and heart.
The To Do List
1 out of 5 Stars
Director: Maggie Carey
Starring: Aubre Plaza, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Recommended To: Those looking for an insufferable teenage sex comedy from a typically appealing cast and filmmaker.
Synopsis: Brandy (Aubrey Plaza) wants to gain sexual experience and lose her virginity before going to college in the fall.
Review: The To Do List is an extremely vulgar film that tries to parody the teenage sex comedy by purposefully casting actors who are clearly in their mid to late twenties. It’s also a tribute of sorts to the early ’90s as it piles on various pop culture references and a soundtrack that covers the rise of grunge and the demise of college rock. It’s also incredibly awkward, unfunny and more than a little mean. It’s an American Pie film with out the charm, but all the gags and obligatory punch lines. Sure it is somewhat interesting that the story is told through a female protagonist but Aubrey Plaza’s performance is so clinical she might as well be a robot. I understand that the deadpan delivery is her calling card, but a little emotion or a glimpse of humanity would have gone a long way. As it is The To Do List is boring, predictable and not a place I’d like to return.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)