At the movies: Mar. 1, 2013

Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2013, 11:16 am
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New in theaters

Regal 14 Stadium Cinemas, Moline:

-- "21 and Over" (R)
-- "Jack the Giant Slayer" (PG-13)
-- "The Last Exorcism Part II" (PG-13)
-- "Phantom" (R)
Rave Motion Pictures, Davenport: -- "21 and Over" (R) -- "Jack the Giant Slayer" (PG-13)
-- "The Last Exorcism Part II" (PG-13) -- "Phantom" (R) Nova 6 Cinemas, Moline: -- "Parker" (R) -- "The Hobbit" (PG-13) -- "Life of Pi" (PG) Central Theater, Geneseo: -- "Silver Linings Playbook" (R)

Aledo Opera House:
-- "Warm Bodies" (PG-13)
These are mini-reviews of some of the movies currently playing in the Quad-Cities area.

"Snitch" (PG-13, 112 min.). Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson delivers the best work of his career playing a guy who goes undercover to save his teenage son from a drug rap. Though "Snitch" almost dares you to ask some pointed questions, it puts some big exclamation points on a couple of messages about certain drug laws in need of a thorough re-examination. Rating: Three stars (Richard Roeper).

"Safe Haven" (PG-13, 115 min.). Directed by the versatile Lasse Hallstrom and starring the attractive duo of Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough, "Safe Haven" is yet another entry in the Nicholas Sparks book-to-movie factory that has given us "The Notebook," "Message in a Bottle," "Dear John," etc. For 90 percent of the journey, it's a solid movie for those in the mood for some good old-fashioned, great-looking-couple-gets-caught-in-the-rain romance. Then something happens at the very end that'll make you question the film's sanity. Rating: One and a half stars (Richard Roeper)
Following are Roger Ebert's mini-reviews of new video releases.

Coming to video Tuesday, March 5:
"Red Dawn" (PG-13, 93 min.). Opens with a hard-fought high school football game before the next day in Spokane, Wash., is interrupted by the thud of bombs. The young gridiron stars of the Wolverines race outside to see enemy aircraft flying overhead in formation, dropping paratroopers from the skies. An alarming sight, but the movie reassures us that an invasion by communist North Korea can be vanquished by the members of the team and their girlfriends, using mostly automatic weapons stolen from the North Koreans themselves. They're all instinctive combat fighters, even a cheerleader. Light on dialogue, heavy on mindless action. Rating: One and a half stars.
"The Intouchables" (R, 112 min.). Superficially likable but fundamentally bothersome parable about a paralyzed French millionaire (Francois Cluzet) and the jolly ex-con African immigrant (Omar Sy) he hires as his caregiver. Based on the assumption that what the stuck-up rich man needs is a little more soul and rhythm in his life -- and his first taste of marijuana, of course. The actors are engaging and many scenes effective, but the film is founded on questionable stereotypes. Rating: Two and a half stars.
"Playing for Keeps" (PG-13, 105 min.) 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 that 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. Rating: Two stars.
"Wreck-It Ralph" (PG, 101 min.). The new Disney animated feature for families takes place inside several arcade-style video games, providing an excuse for the backgrounds, ground rules and characters to constantly reinvent themselves. Its hero is one of those clumsy, misunderstood big guys who dream only of being loved. Ralph (voice by John C. Reilly) spends every day knocking down an apartment building, which is constantly repaired by Fix-It Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer). Lively, endlessly colorful nonstop action, also with Jane Lynch and Sarah Silverman. Rating: Three stars.
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2" (PG-13, 115 min.). Fifth and final installment of the "Twilight" series, beginning where the previous one ended, as Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) gives birth to little Renesmee, and is introduced by her husband, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), to her new life with vampire powers. In the process Bella has also been miraculously transformed into a much more interesting character, physically superb and emotionally uninhibited. The birth of the infant leads to a sensational climax involving the Washington state vampires and the Volturi of Italy, self-appointed rulers of vampiredom. I suspect "Twilght's" audience, which takes these films very seriously indeed, will drink deeply of its blood. Rating: Two and a half stars.
"Chasing Mavericks" (PG, 116 min.). Based on the "real life" story of Jay Moriarity (Jonny Weston), a legendary surfer who conquered a horrifying wave north of Santa Cruz when he was only 15. He's mentored by a neighbor, Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler), in a standard but well-made coming-of-age drama. With Elisabeth Shue as his mother and Leven Rambin as his childhood sweetheart. Rating: Three stars.
"Holy Motors" (Not rated, 116 min.). An exasperating, frustrating, anarchic film about an unexplained man (Denis Lavant) who spends a long day in the back of a white stretch limousine, being driven from one "appointment" to another. In each appointment he embodies a different bizarre character, linked only by the desire of a mime or comedian to entertain and amaze us. His personas are so diverse it would be futile to try to link them, or find a thread of narrative or symbolism. The first film in 13 years from Leos Carax, who may be the new Jacques Tati. Rating: Three and a half stars.
"The Master" (R, 136 min.). Paul Thomas Anderson's film is fabulously well-acted and crafted, but when I reach for it, my hand closes on air. It has rich material and isn't clear what it thinks about it. It has two performances of Oscar caliber, but do they connect? Its title character is transparently inspired by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, but it sidesteps any firm vision of the cult religion itself -- or what it grew into. It isn't boring, but it isn't satisfying. Oscar-worthy work by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix. Rating: Two and a half stars.



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