Wednesday, August 8 2012, 03:45 PM MDT
Recommended Films: June 15-22, 2012
Reviews of Films showing in Salt Lake City this week
by Ryan Painter
1. The Avengers (PG-13)
2. Prometheus (R)
3. Snow White and the Huntsman (PG-13)
4. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (PG-13)
5. Men In Black III (PG-13)
1. Madagascar (PG)
2. The Pirates! Band of Misfits (PG)
3. The Secret World of Arrietty (G)
4. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (PG)
5. Chimpanzee (G)
1. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (PG-13)
2. Moonrise Kingdom (PG-13)
3. Hysteria (R)
4. The Intouchables (R)
5. Bernie (PG-13)
Rock of Ages
2 out of 5 Stars
Director • Adam Shankman
Starring • Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta and Tom Cruise
Rated • PG-13
Recommended to • Fans of celebrity karaoke, misguided musicals and nonsensical parodies of the ’80s.
Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) is a small town girl with hopes of becoming a singing sensation escapes rural America for the bright lights of the Sunset Strip.
“Rock of Ages” is essentially a musical revue based around popular songs from the’80s by hair-metal artists like Poison, Guns ‘n’ Roses and Twisted Sister with the occasional intrusion from mainstream artists like Foreigner and Journey. It had a successful run on Broadway, due in part to its rock concert energy and long list of established crowd favorites.
The film fails to capture the spirit of the live performance and instead feels like two hours of passionless celebrity lip-synching (despite the fact that the cast did record the vocals) set in the decaying excesses of MTV circa 1988. The film works best when it lovingly undercuts the decadence of the era, but the young cast, particularly Hough and Boneta, don’t seem to understand that it’s all laugh. Boneta actually seems most comfortable when he’s transformed into the lead singer for a boy band.
Strangely enough the film’s highlights are mostly provided by a surprisingly good performance from Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx (a thinly disguised Axl Rose). Catherine Zeta-Jones also stands out in a particularly cheesy, but completely effective, musical number set in a church. If only the other 80 or so minutes of the film felt as relevant “Rock of Ages” might have been a crowd pleaser. Sadly, I suspect that it will be the sort of film that people pick on DVD so they can skip all past the garbage (Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand), the flimsy love story and the tired rags-to-riches element to watch the three or four songs they like to sing along to.
That’s My Boy
1.5 out of 5 Stars
Director • Sean Anders
Starring • Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg and Leighton Meester
Rated • R
Recommended to • Diehard fans of Adam Sandler only.
Donny (Adam Sander) rose to fame as a young teen when he fathered a son (Andy Samberg) with one of his teachers (who subsequently was sentenced to 30 years in prison). Twentysomething years later Donny has run out of fame and money and if he doesn’t come up with $43,000 for his unpaid taxes he’s headed for jail. Fortunately his son has made a name for himself in the financial sector. Unfortunately his son also wants nothing to do with him.
There’s no way to slice it, “That’s My Boy” is a terrible movie. It’s better than “Jack and Jill” (partly because its Vanilla Ice making a fool out of himself rather than Al Pacino) , but that’s not saying much. At times the film feels like a less inspired version of “The Hangover” (which we already saw in “The Hangover II”). Fans of Sandler’s “R” rated films will most likely still find enough laughs to justify seeing it. Everyone else should proceed with caution.
4 out of 5 Stars
Director • Wes Anderson
Starring • Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward and Bruce Willis
Rated • PG-13
Recommended to • Fans of Wes Anderson’s eccentric daydreams.
On a small isolated island a boy runs away from his scout troop with the girl of his dreams forcing the entire island to search for them.
If you’ve seen any of director/writer Wes Anderson’s films like “Rushmore” or even “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” you’ve probably already established if you’re a fan or if the quirkiness is too much to handle.
I happen to enjoy his somewhat bizarre menagerie characters. They are essentially the most interesting, but not always sane, people you’ll meet in your lifetime crammed into the same room. Typically they exist side by side with more traditional characters, in “Moonrise Kingdom” they get an entire island to themselves. Yes, this might be the most Wes Anderson film that Wes Anderson has ever made as it melds the innocence of “Rushmore,” the family spirit of “The Royal Tennebaums” with the oddity of “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.”
There is a part of me that would like to se Anderson do something different, something that doesn’t feel so Wes Anderson. Most of me has decided to embrace him and his artistic vision and simply enjoy “Moonrise Kingdom” for what it is; a lot of fun.
3 out of 5 Stars
Director • Tanya Wexier
Starring • Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy and Jonathan Pryce
Rated • R
Recommended to • Those looking for a lighthearted period film with a delightful cast and a particularly unusual plot.
There’s really no way to tread lightly when it comes to a plot description for “Hysteria.” The film is about Dr. Mortimer Granville’s (Hugh Dancy) invention of the vibrator as a treatment for women diagnosed with hysteria.
It’s not nearly as vulgar or awkward as you might think. This is due to the film’s prim and proper atmosphere, the comedic tone and the inclusion of a fairly traditional romantic subplot between Granville and Charlotte Dalrymple (Gyllenhaal), the daughter of Dr. Robert Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce), Granville’s employer.
More than anything “Hysteria” is about the inexact nature of science and how misunderstood women were by psychologists and doctors in an overwhelmingly patriarchal society.
(Copyright 2012 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)