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Film Guide - June 27, 2014

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TO SW GuideJump

Columbia Pictures

22 Jump Street

NEW RELEASES

 

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

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

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

 

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

A Million Ways to Die in the West: American western comedy film written and directed by Seth MacFarlane about a sheep farmer who has to find his courage. (Not reviewed)

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

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

Grace of Monaco: This melodramatic fictional creation of a princess is as much an homage to the way filmmakers create nostalgia as a paean to Nicole Kidman’s luminous screen presence courtesy of director Oliver Dahan. It’s all about the process, not the person. ** TS

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

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

Heaven is for Real: Director Randall Wallace doesn’t trust the talented cast or well-written screenplay to be enough for an audience to understand the concept, so he overplays his hand with some heavy-handed sequences. *** WP

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

In Secret: The strong cast cannot make up for the sodden pacing and overly familiar storyline. ** WP

I’m in Love with a Church Girl: Tonally uneven this may have started out as a noble venture, but everything from boring acting to ham-handed music choices makes this a tiresome movie. ** WP

iNumber Number: Smartly directed heist action film with tense sequences leavened by a welcome (slight) bit of comedy. *** 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

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

Miners Shot Down: Very good documentary which meticulously constructs a coherent and chilling narrative around the Marikana massacre. **** TS

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

Philomena: The heartwrenching real-life story of Philomena Lee, whose search for her long-lost son reveals decades of deceit, religious corruption, illegal activities and, ultimately, broken lives. *** LdM

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 Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete: An extraordinarily gritty tale of two young boys who find themselves abandoned and struggling to survive in Brooklyn’s projects. Despite the star-clout of Jennifer Hudson and Jordin Sparks, it is Skylan Brooks and Ethan Dizon who steal the show. A definite tear jerker.*** DT

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

Walk of Shame: The only thing that pops about this formulaic comedy is Elizabeth Banks’ canary yellow dress. Otherwise it is an unintended nightmare scenario for women in Hollywood, and the persistent humiliation required just to get noticed. ** HR

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

 

 

CRITICS:

 

AK: Attiyah Khan

AP: Associated Press

DT: Debashine Thangevelo

HR: Hollywood Reporter

LDM: Lara de Matos

LN: Latoya Newman

PB: Paul Boekkooi

TS: Theresa Smith

WP: Washington Post


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