New in theaters|
Regal 14 Stadium Cinemas, Moline:
-- "Texas Chainsaw 3D" (R)
Rave Motion Pictures 53, Davenport:
-- "Texas Chainsaw 3D" (R)
These are mini-reviews of some of the movies currently playing in the Quad-Cities area.
"Les Miserables" (PG-13, 158 minutes).The people who put "Les Misérables" on screen dreamed a mighty dream, they really did. They dreamed of filming one of the most popular of modern theatrical musicals — 60 million tickets sold in 42 countries and 21 languages since its 1980 Paris debut — in a way that had not been done before, enhancing the emotion of what was already a hugely emotional piece. And, despite some built-in obstacles, they succeeded to a surprising extent. -- Los Angeles Times
Django Unchained" (R, 165 minutes). Is Quentin Tarantino's pre-Civil War spaghetti Western "Django Unchained" about race and power and the ugly side of history? Only as much as "Inglourious Basterds" was about race and power and the ugly side of history. It's a live-action, heads-exploding, shoot-'em-up cartoon. Sometimes it crackles, and sometimes it merely cracks. -- Philadelphia Inquirer
"The Guilt Trip" (PG-13, 95 minutes). There was something promising about the match-up of Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen as mother and son. Too bad 'The Guilt Trip' is unfunny, unreal and agonizingly long.-- Los Angeles Times
"This is 40" (R, 134 minutes). Judd Apatow's new comic rant picks up the family squabble five years after "Knocked Up" left off. Settle in for a major dose of the bratty behavior that has become the writer-director's marquee move, because 40 is turning out to be a very good year.Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen, the central punch line in "Knocked Up," are nowhere in sight and the film is better for it. In fact, not since Apatow so thoroughly crashed (and trashed) the romantic comedy scene in 2005 with the foul-mouthed charm of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" has he gotten relationships this right. -- Los Angeles Times
Following are Roger Ebert's mini-reviews of new video releases.
Coming to video Tuesday, Jan. 8:
"Hit and Run" (Action comedy, R, 100 min.). A lot more fun than the title suggests. How many chase comedies have you seen where the hero's sexy girlfriend has a doctorate in nonviolent conflict resolution? Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell co-star as a loving couple in a bucolic Northern California town, who are plunged into adventure when it's revealed he's in the federal witness protection program. He volunteers to drive her to LA, the very place where he needs protection the most. Tom Arnold is very funny as a U.S. marshal whose gun is a danger to himself and everyone in gunshot range. Ever so much better than a film titled "Hit and Run" has any right to be. Rating: Three and a half stars. "Frankenweenie" (Animated comedy, PG, 87 min.). Young Victor Frankenstein loves his dog, Sparky, and when the mutt runs into traffic and is blindsided, Victor takes inspiration from a science class and re-animates his pet using lightning bolts. Tim Burton's stop-action b&w comedy takes its inspiration from "The Bride of Frankenstein" and other horror movies, and the character of Mr. Rzykruski, the science teacher, is certainly modeled on Vincent Price. With the voices of Martin Landau, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Charlie Tahan and Winona Ryder. Rating: Three stars.
"Cosmopolis" (Drama, R, 109 min.). A flawlessly directed film about enigmatic people who speak in morose epigrams about vague universal principles they show no sign of understanding. Robert Pattinson stars as a young billionaire who spends a day in his limo crossing a gridlocked Manhattan to get a haircut, while riots swirl around him, his fortune melts away, and he has not only sex in the car but a prostate exam. Directed by David Cronenberg, based on the novel by Don DeLillo. You couldn't pay me to see it again. Rating: Two stars.
"Looper" (Crime sci-fi, R, 119 min.). A smart and tricky sci-fi story that sidesteps the paradoxes of time travel by embracing them. The movie takes place in 2044 and 2074. Although time travel is declared illegal once it has been discovered, a crime syndicate cheats and uses it as a method for disposing of its enemies. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, the triggerman in 2044. Bruce Willis plays Old Joe, sent back from the future. Emily Blunt lives on the Kansas farm where they coincide in time. "Looper" weaves between past and present in a way that gives writer-director Rian Johnson and his actors opportunities to create a surprisingly involving narrative. Rating: Three and a half stars.
"The Words" (Drama, PG-13, 96 min.). A movie inspired by the famous story of how Hemingway's first wife lost a briefcase of his early work on a train. That story is enfolded into another story based on it, written by a contemporary novelist (Dennis Quaid). Bradley Cooper finds the missing briefcase in the Quaid novel and is later visited by a mysterious Jeremy Irons. The real Hemingway could have told this with infinitely more economy. The plot opens room for three beautiful women (Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde and Nora Arnezeder), for which we can be grateful. Rating: Two stars.
"Arbitrage" (Thriller, 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.