Film capsules, April 11
From e3 magazine
- AMC = AMC Village Mall, Danville.
- ART = The Art Theater, Champaign
- NOR = The Normal Theater, Normal
- ONA = The Onarga Theater, Onarga
- PRI = Princess Theatre, LeRoy
- SAV = Savoy 16, Savoy
ADMISSION. Tina Fey stars as a Princeton admissions officer who has to come to terms with newfound maternal feelings when a school teacher (Paul Rudd) introduces her to a young man who may be the son she gave up for adoption years ago. It comes as no surprise that the two principals pull off the film's comedic moments, but the real surprise is the serious tone the movie takes as it examines the joys and frustration of parenthood. Not what you might expect, but worth checking out. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 100 minutes. Rated PG-13. SAV.
AMOUR. The Palme d'Or winner from Cannes 2012 is a masterpiece from Michael Haneke ("Cache," "The White Ribbon") about the closing days of a great romance. The French legends Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva co-star as a couple who have lived in love together for decades, but now, in their 80s, their time together begins to end. 127 minutes. Rated PG-13. NOR.
THE CALL. Halle Berry stars as a Los Angeles 911 operator who sets out to save a young woman (Abigail Breslin) who's been kidnapped. As a procedural about how this emergency response system works, the film is quite interesting. However, the tension is defused when the two leads are required to act stupidly to keep the film moving toward its shocking conclusion. 2 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 96 minutes. Rated R. SAV.
THE CROODS. This surprising animated feature follows the trials of Eep (voice by Emma Stone), a teenage cave girl who's trying to free herself from her overprotective father (Nicolas Cage). She gets the chance when their home is destroyed in an earthquake and the family is forced to trust a newcomer (Ryan Reynolds) who can lead them to safety. Though the film could use some trimming, its 3-D visuals are among some of the best yet done and its focus on the importance of being able to adapt in order to survive is well-told and poignant. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 98 minutes. Rated PG. AMC, HAR, SAV.
EVIL DEAD. Director Fede Alvarez's remake of the Sam Raimi cult classic is an unrelenting exercise in gore as he pushes this tale of five people terrorized by evil spirits in a remote cabin in the woods to the extreme. Thankfully, the filmmaker knows what he's doing as he expertly builds the tension throughout and is able to bring a fresh new take on Raimi's film. Special mention must be made of Jane Levy's performance as the actress succeeds in delivering a great performance despite the punishment she's put through. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski) 91 minutes. Rated R. AMC, SAV.
42. (Opens Friday). Writer-director Brian Helgeland's noble biography of baseball great Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) is a bit uneven structurally, but there's no denying that this is a moving and heartfelt tribute to the man who broke the color barrier in major league baseball. Though the film does contain its share of corny moments, Helgeland doesn't let them eclipse the movie's theme. Boseman is quite good as is Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 120 minutes. Rated PG-13. SAV.
THE GHASTLY LOVE OF JOHNNY X. (Opens Friday). What began as a joke (the lowest grossing movie of 2012 — $117) is fast becoming a cult classic: "The Ghastly Love Of Johnny X" is part '50s greaser musical, part switchblade horror, part sci-fi — all wrapped in B-movie packaging. (http://www.thecuart.com). 106 minutes. Not rated. ART.
G.I. JOE: RETALIATION. The elite military group of the title is set up and presumably killed by the nefarious terrorist group Cobra bent on taking over the world. Nonsensical, unoriginal and edited to cause seizures instead of thrills, this is a film for teens who love to play with guns and no one else. 1 star (Chuck Koplinski). 110 minutes. Rated PG-13. AMC, ONA, PRI, SAV.
THE HOST. Stephenie Meyer's tale of alien parasites and one teen's (Saoirse Ronan) efforts to maintain her humanity is a poorly written, ludicrous exercise that dumbs down some interesting themes. While the author's concerns of maintaining one's independence is worthwhile, its amateurish dialogue and sophomoric love story sink it in the end. 2 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 125 minutes. Rated PG-13. SAV.
JURASSIC PARK 3D. Though this re-release is hardly a convincing argument for converting old films into the new 3-D format, there's no question that Steven Spielberg's dinosaur epic still delivers and that it's one of those movies that demands to be seen on a big screen for maximum effect. The performances by Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum still hold up as do the dinosaurs, despite the fact that the film's computer-generated effects are now 20 years old. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 127 minutes. Rated PG-13. AMC, SAV.
LEVIATHAN. (Opens Saturday). "Leviathan" is a film about the commercial fishing industry, but this is not your typical nature documentary — it's a weird and groundbreaking film unlike anything you've ever seen. "Leviathan is a titanic achievement, a visceral overload whose impact registers immediately and with great force." (Calum Marsh, Slant magazine). 87 minutes. Not rated. ART.
LILO & STITCH. (Saturday). Animated comedy from Disney, about a hostile alien creature named Stitch, who escapes to Earth, lands on Hawaii and is adopted as the pet of a little girl named Lilo. 85 minutes. Rated PG. PRI.
MORE THAN HONEY. (Opens Tuesday). A central Illinois exclusive. Presented by Common Ground Food Co-op and the Art Theater Co-op in honor of Earth Week, it's the brand-new film "More Than Honey," an innovative look at the role bees play in our ecosystem, featuring cutting-edge cinematography. "By assuming a cosmic perspective, 'More Than Honey' makes it clear that it's about a lot more than bees, which makes their quest for survival an alarming reflection of the fragile human condition even when the symbolism is overwrought." (Eric Kohn, IndieWire). 95 minutes. Not rated. ART.
NEW ART FILM FESTIVAL. (Friday). For the fourth year running, the New Art Film Festival presents the best of Illinois-made independent films. An exclusive look at what media makers living in our area are creating. Features and shorts covering a wide range of styles — narrative, documentary, music video, experimental — will be included in the program. Not all films will be suitable for children. (http://www.thecuart.com). ART.
OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN. This glorified B-movie is nothing more than "Die Hard at the White House," but for the most part, it works. This is primarily due to Gerard Butler's turn as a Secret Service agent who tries to save the president (Aaron Eckhart) after the White House has been taken by a group of North Korean fanatics. Though the film runs a bit long, it's a competent flag-waving crowd-pleaser. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 120 minutes. Rated R. SAV.
ON THE ROAD. (Opens Friday). Walter Salles' adaptation of Jack Kerouac's seminal novel of the Beat Generation does its best to stay true to its source and as a result fails as a movie. Episodic and disjointed, the film follows the on-again, off-again travels and relationships of Sal (Sam Riley), Dean (Garrett Hedlund) and Marylou (Kristen Stewart) as they attempt to find a purpose and place in post-World War II America. Eric Gautier's cinematography makes for a consistently stunning film, but in the end, the narrative remains fractured, resulting in a frustrating experience. 2 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 123 minutes. Rated R. ART.
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL. Sam Raimi's prequel to the 1939 classic suffers from some questionable casting choices but survives to tell the tale of Oscar Diggs (a very good James Franco), a con man who is swept away to the land of Oz, where he's told he has been fated to save its citizens from a wicked witch. At times visually stunning, the film's strong suit lies in its humor and conviction of all involved to make a film worthy to stand alongside the Judy Garland vehicle. For the most part, they succeed as Franco carries the film with his charm while its theme is one worth repeating. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 130 minutes. Rated PG. HAR, SAV.
THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS. (Saturday, Sunday). This Claymation feature from Aardman Studios is a visual delight as the attention to detail the animators devote to the characters and sets are a wonder to behold. Unfortunately, the story is less than compelling as it focuses on the Pirate Captain (voice by Hugh Grant) and his efforts to become pirate of the year, which is undercut by his jovial demeanor and his crew's good-natured ways. Their adventures are a bit dull, and none of the characters are really all that interesting, though it is the sort of film that warrants a look just to drink in all of the humorous visual gags throughout. 2 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 80 minutes. Rated PG. SAV.
THE PLAYROOM. (Opens Monday). From the Best of Key West Film Festival. In 1970s suburbia, Maggie and her younger siblings spend the night telling each other stories in the attic. Downstairs, their parents weave a drunken intrigue of their own. SAV.
RESTLESS HEART: THE CONFESSIONS OF AUGUSTINE. (Thursday). Presented by Service & Justice Outreach — St. John's Catholic Newman Center. The first full-length feature movie on St. Augustine. Christian Duguay directed the film, and the cast includes Franco Nero, Johannes Brandrup, Monica Guerritore and Alessandro Preziosi. Not rated. ART.
SCARY MOVIE 5. (Opens Friday). Happily married young parents (a ballet dancer and an ape researcher) have to grapple with a malevolent supernatural presence in this fifth installment of the horror parody series. With Ashley Tisdale, Simon Rex and Erica Ash. (Los Angeles Times). 85 minutes. Rated PG-13. AMC, SAV.
TRANCE. (Opens Friday). An art auctioneer helps a gang steal a priceless painting but suffers a blow to the head in the process, necessitating a hypnotist's help in recalling where he hid the loot. With James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson. Written by Joe Ahearne and John Hodge. Directed by Danny Boyle. 101 minutes. Rated R. SAV.
TYLER PERRY'S TEMPTATION. A marriage counselor throws her own marriage and career into chaos when she falls for her newest client, a handsome young billionaire. With Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross and Robbie Jones. Written and directed by Perry. (Los Angeles Times). 111 minutes. Rated PG-13. SAV.
WILD HORSE WILD RIDE. (Opens Thursday, April 18). The affecting documentary, directed by husband-and-wife team Greg Gricus and Alex Dawson, follows a diverse group of equine enthusiasts as they prepare to participate in the 2009 Extreme Mustang Makeover. "Affecting ... a warm and memorable ride" (Los Angeles Times). 106 minutes. Rated PG. NOR.
WORDS & PICTURES: LIVE COMEDY AT THE ART! (Sunday). Featuring some of C-U's finest comedians. Free admission and free popcorn. 90 minutes. ART.