Movie mini-reviews for Aug. 2, 2013


Share
Posted Online: Aug. 01, 2013, 12:03 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
Mini-reviews

These are Richard Roeper's mini-reviews (unless otherwise noted) of some of the movies currently playing in the Quad-Cities area: "Turbo" (PG, 95 min.). In delivering a film about a garden snail that dreams of winning the Indy 500, it's as if the makers of "Turbo" had been pressed to come up with the most extreme underdog tale they could think of. Or else animators really are running out of ideas for original new characters. An attractively designed but narratively challenged, one-note film, "Turbo" skews younger than the norm for big animated features these days and has limited appeal for little girls. Rating: Two stars (Todd McCarthy).

"The Conjuring" (R, 112 min.). When a really good new horror film comes out — something more about creative intelligence than executing the next grisly kill shot — it's something of a miracle in this eviscerating post-"Saw" era. Old-school and supremely confident in its attack, "The Conjuring" is this year's miracle — an "Amityville Horror" for a new century (and a far better movie than that 1979 hit), yet firmly rooted, without being slavish or self-conscious, in the visual language of 1970s filmmaking. Rating: Three and a half stars (Michael Phillips).
"Grown Ups 2" (PG-13, 101 min.). Whatever comedic fires and bursts of genuinely inspired humor Adam Sandler once possessed have burned out long ago. Case in point: this toothless sequel, which presents a number of potential conflicts but doesn't have the energy to pursue any of them. Over the last 10 years, Sandler has headlined more terrible comedies than anyone in Hollywood. You have to be REALLY successful to be able to keep churning out so many mediocrities over such a long period. Rating: One and a half stars

"Pacific Rim" (PG-13, 131 min.). This ridiculously entertaining (and often just plain ridiculous) monster-robot movie plays like a gigantic version of that Rock'Em, Sock'Em Robots game from the 1960s, combined with the cheesy wonderfulness of black-and-white Japanese monster movies from the 1950s. Director Guillermo del Toro has a weirdly beautiful visual style, and there's rarely an uninteresting shot in "Pacific Rim." He and the cast do a fine job of selling this madness, even as the talk of neural bridges and other scientific claptrap grows increasingly dense and meaningless. Rating: Three stars

"R.I.P.D." (PG-13, 96 min.).This action comedy borrows heavily from a lot better films – including "Men in Black," "Ghostbusters," and pretty much any buddy cop movie ever made – but is unable to mix anything together that is even remotely entertaining. Rating: Half a star(Micheal Compton). "Red 2" (PG-13, 108 min.).It's all ground we've sort of covered before and things do tend to drag before the too-violent third act turns too-bloody.But "Red 2" goes down easily, from Malkovich's demented moments of relationship advice to Dame Helen's tender and amusing "Hitchcock" reunion with Sir Anthony. There's a knowing twinkle in their eyes, and in everybody else's. Rating: Two and a half stars (Roger Moore).

"The Lone Ranger" (PG-13, 149 min.). In the unholy mess that is "The Lone Ranger," we finally have a movie that combines the slapstick antics of a live-action "Road Runner" cartoon with a villain so bloodthirsty, he literally cuts out the heart of a vanquished foe and eats it. Everything that could go wrong with this movie does go wrong, from a rare bad performance from the great Johnny Depp, who plays Tonto as a crazy desert vaudeville performer, to the decidedly unmemorable work from the promising talent Armie Hammer as the title character, to a script that feels like some sort of mash-up of every attempt to reboot a storied franchise. Some films are for everyone. This film is for just about no one. Rating: One and a half stars

"Despicable Me 2" (PG, 98 min.). There's a fizzy silliness to "Despicable Me 2" that will make it a huge word-of-mouth hit among key demographics. That would be 2- to 6-year-olds, and parents who enjoy seeing their kids curled into balls of uncontrollable laughter. Rating: Three stars (Colin Covert)
"The Heat" (R, 117 min.). On paper (and in the ads), "The Heat" looks like a high-concept pitch: a cop-buddy movie, only the buddies are -- wait for it -- dames! The good news is this Sandra Bullock-Melissa McCarthy vehicle clicks on all cylinders. Thanks to standout performances from the enormously appealing leads, excellent work from the supporting cast, a smart and brilliantly funny script by Katie Dippold and nimble direction from Paul Feig, this is one of the most entertaining movies of the year. Rating: Three and a half stars
"White House Down" (PG-13, 137 min.). "White House Down," the second POTUS-in-danger film in three months, isn't supposed to be some gritty thriller. It's just a big, loud, popcorn movie from Roland Emmerich, director of "Independence Day." But "Transformers 3" was subtle compared to this nonsense. Emmerich doesn't flinch as he shamelessly borrows from better movies and constantly insults our intelligence with jingoistic manipulation and cheesy one-liners. Stars Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx seem to know they're in a dopey buddy movie. The rest of the cast is saddled with the impossible task of making us believe they are serious. Epic fail. Rating: Zero stars

"Monsters University" (G, 110 min.). In the library of Pixar follow-up films, "Monsters University" is better than "Cars 2," but not in the same league as the "Toy Story" sequels. In a summer short so far on children's fare, parents won't regret taking young kids to "Monsters University," with almost no chance that any of the efforts to scare onscreen will actually keep the little ones awake at night. Rating: Two and a half stars

"World War Z" (PG-13, 116 min.). The filmmakers go for suspense, but they condescend to the audience, as if we hadn't seen all this before. And although there are some initial feints at using zombies as a metaphor for third-world issues and cultural differences, the picture forgets all that stuff by the final reel. "World War Z" opens with an undeniable bang. But if this is the way the world ends, we're going out with a whimper. Rating: Two stars (Rene Rodriguez)
"Man of Steel" (PG-13, 143 min.). This is the most ambitious and occasionally the most impressive take on the Superman myth we've ever seen, but it falls far short of the bar set by the "Dark Knight" trilogy or even the "Iron Man" troika. Though there are moments, even complete scenes, when we see glimpses of what might have been, we're plunged back into a mostly underwhelming film, with underdeveloped characters and supercharged fight scenes that drag on forever and offer nothing new in the way of special-effects creativity. Henry Cavill looks the part as Superman, Amy Adams plays the ever-plucky Lois Lane, and Diane Lane and Kevin Costner are young Clark's loving parents. Rating: Two stars

"This Is the End" (R, 107 min.). Here's one of the most tasteless, ridiculous and funniest comedies of the 21st century. In its own sloppy, raunchy, sophomoric, occasionally self-pleased and consistently energetic way, "This Is the End" is just about perfect at executing its mission, which is to poke fun at its stars, exhaust every R-rated possibility to get a laugh, and even sneak in a few insights into Hollywood, the celebrity culture and the nature of faith. Rating: Four stars
"The Purge" (R, 85 min.). James DeMonaco's "The Purge" is a bloody-minded, heavy-handed satire of life within these violent United States. The reliably believable Ethan Hawke has had good luck in horror in recent years ("Sinister," "Daybreakers"), but his instincts fail him here. "The Purge" is an 85-minute chore that tediously plays like a real-time recreation of the night of The Purge -- all 12 hours of it. Rating: One and a half stars (Roger Moore)
"Now You See Me" (PG-13, 116 min.). Here's a slick con, all flash and no substance, about The Four Horsemen, illusionists who have been recruited to pull off some of the most audacious stunts in the history of deception. "Now You See Me" seems awfully sure of itself, with self-important, intrusive music, sweeping tracking shots and actors chewing up the scenery. Ultimately, however, there's no there there. By the time it's over, we're left with more questions than answers -- and even more damning, we don't care all that much about those unanswered questions. Rating: One and a half stars
"Fast & Furious 6" (PG-13, 130 min.). Against all odds, the "Fast & Furious" franchise is actually picking up momentum, with "FF6" clocking in as the fastest, funniest and most outlandish chapter yet. Whether we're seeing stunt work or special effects or a combo platter, director Justin Lin keeps raising the bar, going for intentional laughs and thrilling moments as cars pull off impossible maneuvers and humans keep flying in the air and landing with thuds. "Furious 6" couldn't be any less plausible if it were animated, but that's sort of the point.Rating: Three and a half stars "Iron Man 3" (PG-13, 130 min.). Robert Downey Jr. is just plain great in this film. Filled with breathtakingly brilliant special effects, bolstered by excellent supporting performances from a half-dozen other top-tier actors, crackling with sharp humor and working as a story that stands alone while often acknowledging the larger Marvel(ous) universe, "Iron Man 3" is one of the best entries in this modern golden age of superhero movies. Working from a smart if sometimes meandering script, director Shane Black takes us on a 3-D thrill ride in which a LOT of stuff is blown up, and the skies are filled with superheroes, supervillains and humans falling to their seemingly certain deaths. It's a great start to the summer movie season. Rating: Three and a half stars





 












 



Local events heading








  Today is Thursday, July 24, the 205th day of 2014. There are 160 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The Rev. R.J. Humphrey, once a clergyman in this city, was reported killed in a quarrel in New Orleans.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rock Island Citizens Improvement Association held a special meeting to consider the proposition of consolidating Rock Island and Moline.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The home of A. Freeman, 806 3rd Ave., was entered by a burglar while a circus parade was in progress and about $100 worth of jewelry and $5 in cash were taken.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The million dollar dredge, Rock Island, of the Rock Island district of United States engineers will be in this area this week to deepen the channel at the site of the new Rock Island-Davenport bridge.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The Argus "walked" to a 13-0 victory over American Container Corporation last night to clinch the championship of Rock Island's A Softball League at Northwest Douglas Park.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Immediate Care Center emergency medical office at South Park Mall is moving back to United Medical Center on Sept. 1. After nearly six years in operation at the mall, Care Center employees are upset by UMC's decision. The center is used by 700 to 800 people each month.








(More History)