Movie mini-reviews for Jan. 18, 2013


Share
Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2013, 2:37 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
These are Roger Ebert's mini-reviews (unless otherwise noted) of some of the movies currently playing in the Quad-Cities area: "Zero Dark Thirty" (R, 157 minutes). Two hours of watching a loner female CIA strategist who knows she is right -- and the payoff that she is. Jessica Chastain stars as Maya, who was right all along, providing the film with a timely heroine. Lots of murky action in the big capture and death, but lacking the split-second timing and relentless action of director Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker." These characters are less compelling, and the outcome less meaningful. Rating: 3 stars

"Broken City"
(R, 109 minutes). From a lurid and predictable plot, "Broken City" is the sworn enemy of subtle. It's a big, juicy, sometimes clunky, political crime thriller that plays like a 21st-century B-movie. It's also pretty trashy and sometimes stupid. But there's never a moment when you won't be entertained on one level or another. Thanks to a great cast -- Oscar winners Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg and terrific supporting players Barry Pepper, Kyle Chandler, Jeffrey Wright and Griffin Dunne -- you'll have a good time even when the script is breaking bad. Rating: 3 stars -- Richard Roeper
"Gangster Squad" (R, 113 minutes).Even though the saga of L.A. corruption has been the fodder for transcendent fiction for generations, there's still a great movie to be made from such colorful source material. But the biggest crime in "Gangster Squad" is that it doesn't even come close. Rating: 2 stars -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Promised Land" (R, 106 minutes).The drama can be funny and romantic and occasionally moving. It has a bigger message about fracking and the environment, and big companies and small towns, and while Promised Land is not a great film, such ambition is not its intention. It's a drama designed to make you think, and perhaps re-evaluate, without being too preachy. Rating: 3 stars -- Toledo Blade

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. Rating; 2 1/2 stars -- 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. Rating: 1 star -- Los Angeles Times "Jack Reacher" (PG-13, 130 mintues). The idea of watching a movie in which a sniper methodically manufactures his own bullets, practices weekly at a gun range, then waits quietly in an empty parking garage before shooting five people dead may not sound like the most appealing form of entertainment during these tragic days. Nevertheless, it's important to assess "Jack Reacher" on its own terms, for what it is and what it isn't. Besides being caught in some unfortunate timing, it's also clever, well-crafted and darkly humorous, and it features one of those effortless bad-ass performances from Tom Cruise that remind us that he is indeed a movie star, first and foremost. Rating: 3 stars-- Christy Lemire, AP

"This Is 40" (R, 133 minutes). Every inch a Judd Apatow movie, from the pop culture references and potty mouths to the blunt body humor and escapist drug use. And like all of Apatow's movies, it's a good 20 minutes too long. But within that affectionately messy sprawl lies a maturation, an effort to convey something deeper, more personal and more substantive. That goes beyond the casting of his real-life wife, Leslie Mann, as half the couple in question, and the Apatow children, Maude and Iris, as the family's daughters in this sort-of-sequel to the 2007 hit "Knocked Up.". As writer and director, Apatow seems more interested in finding painful nuggets of truth than easy laughs. Much of the banter between longtime Los Angeles marrieds Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Mann) can be very funny, but frequently it's raw and painful as they have the kind of conversations about kids, finances and sex that might make many people in the audience feel an uncomfortable shiver of recognition. Rating: 3 stars -- Christy Lemire, AP
"The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey" (PG-13, 166 minutes). Not the worst film of the year, but "The Hobbit" may be the most disappointing. Given the scope and grandeur of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" epics, we enter the theater justifiably expecting his new Tolkien adventure to thrill our socks off. Instead, you endure this monstrously overproduced misfire with the numb apathy of a prisoner slowly throwing a ball against a cell wall.It's a husk with the superficial features of a "Rings" movie but none of the energy and heart and wit — an unexpected journey, indeed. Rating: 1 1/2 stars --MCT "Lincoln" (PG-13, 149 minutes). Steven Spielberg's new film focuses on only a few months of Lincoln's life, including the passage of the 13th Amendment ending slavery, the surrender of the Confederacy and his assassination. Rarely has a film attended more carefully to the details of politics. Daniel Day-Lewis creates a Lincoln who is calmly self-confident, patient and willing to play politics in a realistic way. Not about an icon of history, but about a president who was scorned by some of his opponents as a hayseed from the backwoods. He understood them better than they did him. Sure to win many Academy Award nominations. Rating: 4 stars
"Skyfall" (PG-13, 143 minutes). "Skyfall" triumphantly reinvents 007 in one of the best Bonds ever made. This is a full-blooded, joyous, intelligent celebration of a beloved cultural icon, with Daniel Craig taking full possession of a role he earlier played unconvincingly. The film at last provides a role worthy of Judi Dench, returning as M, who is one of the best actors of her generation. She is all but the co-star, with a lot of screen time, poignant dialogue, and a character who is far more complex and sympathetic than we expect. In this 50th year of the James Bond series, with the dismal "Quantum of Solace" (2008) still in our minds, I don't know what I expected in Bond No. 23, but certainly not an experience this invigorating. If you haven't seen a 007 for years, this is the time to jump back in. Rating: 4 stars

"Silver Linings Playbook" (R, 122 minutes). This is how smart Jennifer Lawrence is at her job: She realizes that the troubled young woman she plays in "Silver Linings Playbook" is a great role. It's a supporting role in the novel upon which the movie is based.Her plan? To so fiercely bring this character to life that the filmmaker is forced to make the part larger and put her front and center. Thankfully, writer-director David O. Russell is smart enough to know that more Lawrence makes any movie better.The move may result in her winning an Academy Award for best actress in a leading role, and the movie is not even about her character. Rating: 3 stars. -- Michael Smith, Tulsa World






 














 



Local events heading








  (More History)