Sunday, March 30 2014, 09:51 PM MDT
Box Office: Recommended Films For The Week Of March 28 – April 3, 2014
Recommended films showing in Salt Lake City for the week March 28 April 3, 2014
1. The Lego Movie (PG)
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel (R)
3. Noah (PG-13)
4. Muppets Most Wanted (PG)
5. Divergent (PG-13)
1. Muppets Most Wanted (PG)
2. The Lego Movie (PG)
3. The Wind Rises (PG-13)
4. Mr. Peabody & Sherman (PG)
5. Frozen (PG)
1. The Grand Budapest Hotel (R)
2. Tims Vermeer (PG-13)
3. Bad Words (R)
4. Veronica Mars (PG-13)
5. The Face of Love (PG-13)
New In Theaters This Week:
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Jason Bateman
Starring: Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Allison Janney
Recommended To: Those looking for an uneven, but often funny, black comedy.
Synopsis: Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman), a 40-year-old man, has found a loophole that allows him to compete in a childrens spelling bee.
Review: For as much as I want to like Jason Bateman the truth is that I tend to dislike the majority of the films he appears in. Even his more popular films (think Identity Thief, The Change-Up or Horrible Bosses) leave me wondering why I always look forward to seeing Bateman included in a films cast. Bad Words finds Bateman starring and directing. Its his first feature-length assignment (he previously directed a handful of television episodes) and while Id love to tell you that he shows a real talent behind the camera the truth is Andrew Dodges screenplay is so incredibly uneven that it is impossible to tell if any director could have made an appealing film. Guy Trilby is a terrible person. He has his excuses and his actions serve a greater purpose, but the path that he takes makes him almost impossible to root for. Not that there are many, if any, adult characters in the film Id feel comfortable supporting. Bad Words is, as the script acknowledges, a long tantrum that while funny at times ultimately doesnt amount to much.
The Face of Love
2 out of 5 Stars
Director: Arie Posin
Starring: Robin Williams, Ed Harris, Annette Bening
Genre: Drama, Romance
Recommended To: Those looking for a frustrating film that refuses to dig beneath the surface.
Synopsis: Five years after the death of her husband Nikki (Annette Bening) has refused to move on. Then she meets Tom (Ed Harris), an artist and dead ringer for her deceased husband.
Review: The Face of Love is a film where the most important scenes take place off camera. For most of the film we watch, perhaps in horror, as Nikki convinces herself that there is nothing wrong with falling in love with a man who looks exactly like her husband. She and screenwriters Matthew McDuffie and Arie Posin set the scene for some tremendous psychological drama and never explore it. We see Nikki teeter on the edge and just when she steps too far into her delusional world the story fast forwards a year and puts a bow on everything; a bow that neither the film nor its characters deserve. The setup is tremendous. The payoff is nonexistent. If the screenwriter and director are fine shrugging off the majority of their film in favor of an all-too-easy ending, why should I care about the story theyre telling?
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins
Genre: Adventure, Drama
Recommended To: Those looking for a film that mixes fantasy elements into its biblical source material.
Synopsis: Noah (Russell Crowe) believing that God is about to punish humanity with an all-consuming flood begins to build an ark with the help of his wife, three sons, adopted daughter and the remaining Watchers, fallen angels who tried to aid Adam and Eve when they were exiled from Eden.
Review: When compared to The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur or almost any other religious epic produced by Hollywood Noah is going to appear to be incredibly strange. Most films based on religious texts present their events and miracles in a very straightforward way. Noah takes an entirely different approach as it adds fantasy elements into the mix and as a result the film feels closer to The Lord of the Rings than it does to The Greatest Story Ever Told. Of course if the screenplay stuck strictly to what is written in the Bible Russell Crowe is roughly 550 years too young to be playing Noah and the ten years it takes the family to build the ark is roughly ten years longer than the seven days that Noah had in the Bible.
Some may take offense by the fact that God is referred to as the Creator and others will find fault with Noah and his family being vegetarians. What might upset many, or at least cause a sense of alarm are the Watchers, which havent appeared in any of the promotional material for the film, but still play a major role within the film. These creatures are clearly based on the Nephilim, or giants that populate certain versions of the Bible, and werent simply something the filmmakers made up entirely. That doesnt make the film any less strange, but it also doesnt necessarily make it less true to the text (depending on which version of the Bible you happen to be reading). There is also Noahs struggle to understand the purpose of what he is doing. Certainly it is within reason to suggest that he had difficulty accepting that he would live while countless others would die. Those expecting perfection from deeply human characters steal the magnificence of those characters choices.
Does Noah entertain? Yes. The cast, particularly Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson, are excellent and the special effects work is magnificent. Is it perfect? No, the film could use with a tighter edit that could take the runtime down to something closer to two hours and there are a few elements of the script that could have been cleaned up a bit as the final act became a little too predictable.
1.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: David Ayer
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Recommended To: Hardcore Schwarzenegger and David Ayer devotees only.
Synopsis: After a botched attempt at stealing $10 million from a Mexican drug cartel a group of hardened DEA agents lead by John Breacher Wharton (Arnold Schwarzenegger) find themselves killed off one by one.
Review: David Ayers films tend to feature hardened characters, often police, in extreme situations. Often these characters stride the line between being honest and being corrupt. In Sabotage everyone has strayed beyond the limits of good behavior in hopes of being rewarded for the hard life that they have chosen. This time Ayer, like his and writer Skip Woods characters, has gone too far past the line and the result is a film filled with unlikable characters surrounded by brutal violence that feels utterly pointless. John Breacher Wharton is a broken man and broken men often make for great protagonists (look at Sylvester Stallone in Cop Land or Clint Eastwoods career), but a broken man without principles isnt a hero. Hes not even an antihero. Whats worse is in this particular story Wharton isnt even all that interesting. Schwarzenegger gives his best performance in recent memory, but it is completely wasted by a script that is littered with bad dialogue and plot holes. It doesnt help that the supporting cast either chews on the scenery or blends into it. (Youll never forget that Mireille Enos was in this film. Terrence Howard on the other hand) Considering the tone of the films final scenes feel lifted from Robert Rodriguezs tongue-in-cheek effort Once Upon a Time in Mexico, maybe were not supposed to take Sabotage seriously. In that case the films greatest sin is that it isnt any fun.
-Ryan Michael Painter