At the movies: Dec. 14, 2012

Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012, 11:28 am
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New in theaters

Regal 14 Stadium Cinemas, Moline:

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (PG-13)
"Playing for Keeps" (PG-13)

Rave Motion Pictures 53, Davenport:
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (PG-13) in IMAX 3D, HFR 3D, 3D and 2D Putnam Museum's National Geographic Giant Screen Theater, Davenport:
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 3D"

Central Theater, Geneseo:
"Rise of the Guardians" (PG) Mini-reviews

These are Roger Ebert's mini-reviews (unless otherwise noted) of some of the movies currently playing in the Quad-Cities area.

"Playing for Keeps" (PG-13, 105 minutes). Tells the story of George (Gerard Butler), a has-been soccer star whose career is foundering but who is a completely nice man with none of the character flaws soccer stars have been known to possess. Moving to Virginia to be near his ex-wife (wonderful Jessica Biel) and young son (Noah Lomax, a natural), he finds himself a seduction target for all the trophy wives and divorced moms in the grandstands. Unreels pretty predictably.

"The Collection" (R, 82 minutes). The only man ever to survive the wrath of a deranged killer who imprisons his victims in a booby-trapped abandoned hotel is forced to lead a group of mercenaries to rescue the killer's latest target. With Emma Fitzpatrick, Christopher McDonald and Josh Stewart. Written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, directed by Dunstan. -- Los Angeles Times Coming to video Tuesday, Dec. 18:
"Arbitrage" (R, 107 min.). Richard Gere stars as a man involved in a multimillion-dollar fraud, who cheats on his wife, tries to cover up the death of his mistress, betrays a man who goes out on a limb for him, and would throw his own daughter under a bus. A brilliant thriller, so well-written and directed by Nicholas Jarecki that it evokes Hollywood's classic era. With Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth and Brit Marling. Rating: Four stars.
"Premium Rush" (PG-13, 91 min.). A breakneck chase movie about the high-risk daredevils who work as Manhattan bicycle messengers. With a map of the city imprinted in their brains, they hurtle down sidewalks, run red lights, go against traffic, jump obstacles and use bikes without brakes. Joseph-Gordon Levitt stars as a messenger for whom one envelope delivery becomes a matter of life and death. Michael Shannon is the rotten cop who wants the envelope, too. Dania Ramirez and Wole Parks co-star as messengers who'd have gold medals if these were the Olympics. An impressive film that credits about a dozen stunt riders and is never less than convincing as it shows messengers threading their way through trucks that could flatten them. Directed by David Koepp. Rating: Three and a half stars.
"Killer Joe" (NC-17, 103 min.). Very dark, violent and sex-drenched film about the stupidest family I've ever seen in a movie that's not a comedy. Set amid trailer trash in Dallas, it's about a life insurance fraud that goes horribly wrong in every possible way. Starring Matthew McConaughey in an eerie performance as a cop who moonlights as a contract killer. The four members of the family he becomes involved with are played by Thomas Haden Church, Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon and Juno Temple. Rating: Three stars.
"Sleepwalk With Me" (Not rated, 90 min.). A surprisingly entertaining comedy starring Mike Birbiglia as Matt, a hapless standup comic who suffers from REM Behavior Disorder, which leads him to do things like jumping from hotel windows in his sleep. His obsession to make it in standup threatens his eight-year relationship with the patient and sympathetic Abby (Lauren Ambrose), especially when he starts writing her into his act. Inspired by Birbiglia's one-man show off-Broadway, and a popular segment on Ira Glass' NPR program "This American Life." Rating: Three and a half stars.
"Pitch Perfect" (PG-13, 112 min.). A 20-something song-and-dance movie built around rival a cappella groups. Anna Kendrick stars as Beca, who dreams of trying her luck in LA, but makes a deal with her dad to try one year of college. She's recruited by an a cappella group also including Brittany Snow, Anna Camp and the scene-stealer Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy. Lots of music, a little routine young romance and, of course, the national finals at the end. Rating: Two stars.
"Trouble With the Curve" (PG-13, 111 min.). Clint Eastwood plays Gus, an aging baseball scout who leads a lonely life, driving between small cities, sitting in the stands of minor league clubs, living in budget motels, but he loves it. Failing eyesight threatens his career, and his concerned daughter (Amy Adams) joins him on the road and meets her dad's onetime discovery (Justin Timberlake). John Goodman plays Gus' loyal boss at the Atlanta Braves. The story's payoff is classic movie gold. Rating: Three stars.
"Total Recall" (PG-13, 121 min.). Colin Farrell stars in a retread of the 1990 sci-fi classic, about a factory worker of the future who has his life pulled out from under him when he discovers none of his memories can be trusted. Well-crafted, high energy, but lacking the emotional tug I felt from Arnold Schwarzenegger's earlier performance. Co-starring Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, Bill Nighy and John Cho. Rating: Three stars.



Local events heading

  Today is Thursday, Oct. 2, the 275th day of 2014. There are 90 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The ladies have adopted the fashion of wearing representations of insects in the flowers on their bonnets. Some look very natural.
1889 -- 125 years ago: T.F. Cary, former Rock Island alderman, has accepted a position as salesman for a Chicago wallpaper house and plans to move to that city.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Work on the new telephone building on 18th Street between 6th and 7th avenues is progressing rapidly.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island's new theater at 3rd Avenue and 19th Street will have a name significant of its location. The "Rocket" is scheduled to open Thanksgiving Day.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Two of Rock Island's newest water towers were vandalized last night, including the one at 38th Street and 31st Avenue, where police took five Moline boys into custody about 9 p.m..
1989 -- 25 years ago: Some of us who live in the Quad-Cities take the Mississippi River for granted, or at least we used to. But the river is not taken for granted by our visitors. And most Quad-Citians are realizing the importance of the river to this area as increased emphasis is placed on tourism.

(More History)