Film Guide - July 11, 2014

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TO SW GuideBlended David Bloomer A scene from 'Blended'.

NEW RELEASES

 

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (3D): An unexpectedly good sequel, where renegade ape Koba sets off a war with the surviving humans of a deadly virus. Only his noble leader and friend Caesar can stop it…but he might be too late. Fast-paced, fascinating, beautifully shot and an adventurous rollercoaster ride. *** DT

Earth to Echo: Strongly echoing its Amblin Entertainment inspiration, this is kind of Chronicle meets Mac and Me. Only going to work if you haven’t seen ET. *** HR

Sunlight Jr: Not exactly uplifting, but the grim storyline of this sensitively observed humanist drama is offset beautifully by strong performances from Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon *** HR

Third Person: Three supposedly intersecting love stories, directed by Paul Haggis, but that’s about all that keeps it together. ** SP

 

ON CIRCUIT

 

22 Jump Street: Making fun of sequels, buddy cop movies and college fratboy shenanigans, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill return for a bromance that is goofy but funny. **** TS

About Last Night: A rom-com remake based on a play by David Mamet revolving around two best friends and their quest for love, sex and friendship. *** AK

Belle: Beautiful period drama that delves into the life of a mixed race woman who grew up in an aristocratic family at a time when slavery was still the bedrock of the British economy. **** TS

Blended: Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore once again display an onscreen connection that lends a grounding warmth to the clunkiest of clunky comedy setups - two single parents on an African vacation as a second date. *** HR

Edge of Tomorrow: Fun, clever sci-fi starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt trying to save Earth from invading aliens. Well-paced and well-edited. *** TS

Fading Gigolo: John Turturro ably directs a stellar cast in a story which may stray into brash territory but makes excellent use of the good chemistry between its two leads. **** LN

Grand Budapest Hotel: A whimsical, if somewhat absurdist slice-of-life tale set against the backdrop of the pre-World War II era, with stellar performances by Ralph Fiennes and equally impressive cameo roles, including Tilda Swinton and Adrien Brody. **** LdM

Hateship, Loveship: Kirsten Wigg’s vibrant performance in this drama which could have been very predictable without it. *** WP

Haute Cuisine: Beautifully filmed dramady about the woman who became chef to Francois Mitterand. Will be an easy sell to food lovers. *** HR

House of Magic (3D): Animated 3d adventure from the Belgian crew that created Fly Me to the Moon, about a kitten who stumbles into a magical house and decides he really wants to live there. (Not reviewed)

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (3D): The dragonriders of Berk are back, five years older, but Toothless steals the show. Exquisite flying sequences, meticulously animated with a strong, meaty storyline and interesting characters. **** TS

Kill Your Darlings: Excellent chemistry between Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan in this story about the Beat Generation poets at university before they became known as that. **** WP

Locke: Tom Hardy is compelling despite the film’s one location. **** WP

Maleficent: Angelina Jolie brings to life one of Disney’s scariest villains in this riff off Sleeping Beauty, but this is family fare where the menace lies more in the visuals than the intent of any character. *** TS

One Chance: An inspirational true story that transcends its formulaic telling with humour, heart and a pair of strong lead performances. *** HR

Rio 2: Bright, chipper, lots of colour and animated birds singing their hearts out because everyone is just so happy, even if the loggers are coming to chop down the forest. *** TS

The Amazing Spider-man 2: The Rise of Electro: Marc Webb’s confident directing and strong cast entertain but don’t always overcome the stilted narrative. *** HR

The Armstrong Lie: Alex Gibney’s documentary about Lance Armstrong’s lying ways is smartly constructed and a scathing indictment on the cyclist and the sport. *** WP

The Fault in Our Stars: Wise and funny without being exploitative, this one does right by its well-received source material. **** HR

The Invisible Woman: This is Ralph Fiennes’ second movie and he both tells the story and plays Charles Dickens as he reveals the love affair of his life to a much younger woman. Unfolding at a measured pace and with a gentility that captures the times, not the emotional turbulence, it is for those who love books. **** DdB

The Other Woman: Settling for cheap laughs, director Nick Cassavetes does not make use of the talented trio of leads. ** AP

The Railway Man: Slow moving meditation on the nature of redemption and healing with strong performances from Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgaard. *** TS

The Quiet Ones: More creaky than creepy, this retro horror pastiche isn’t exactly original or scary, but it credibly creates the found footage genre. ** HR

Three Days to Kill: Luc Besson’s script features some classic action moments, but grizzly Kevin Costner is left rudderless in director McG’s attempts to make a comedy and an action film and a family drama and a social commentary about illegal Paris squatters who all co-exist in one story. ** TS

Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy: So much better than you expect from the fifth in the series, this one is all about girlpower and pirates and an insight into how Tink ends up in Neverland. *** HR

Transformers 4: Age of Extinction: Great action scenes but the missing cast and weak storyline will leave you yearning for the older films. *** MV

X-Men: Days of Future Past: Time travel and a full roster of X-Men and then some makes for a convoluted but fun movie. Bring on the apocalypse. *** TS


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