Film capsules, May 23
Summaries and mini-reviews of movies playing now, from e3 magazine:
- AMC = AMC Village Mall, Danville.
- ART = The Art Theater, Champaign
- HAR = Harvest Moon drive-in, Gibson City
- NOR = The Normal Theater, Normal
- ONA = The Onarga Theater, Onarga
- PRI = Princess Theatre, LeRoy
- SAV = Savoy 16, Savoy
AFTER EARTH. (Thursday, May 30). A crash landing leaves Kitai Raige and his father Cypher stranded on Earth, 1,000 years after events forced humanity's escape. With Cypher injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help. Stars include Will Smith, Jaden Smith and Isabelle Fuhrman. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. (Internet Movie Database). 100 minutes. Rated PG-13. SAV.
BEYOND THE HILLS. (Tuesday) One of the most acclaimed films of the year, a haunting look at a case of demonic possession in a Romanian monastery. "One of the year's most powerful films." (Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com). In Romanian, with English subtitles. 150 minutes. Rated R. ART.
EPIC. (Opens Friday) In this animated movie, a teenage girl is shrunk and transported to a fantastic realm where she joins a band of warriors to defend the natural world from destruction. With the voices of Amanda Seyfried, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson and Christoph Waltz. Written by James V. Hart, William Joyce, Dan Shere, Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember. Directed by Chris Wedge. In 3-D. (Los Angeles Times). 103 minutes. Rated PG. AMC, HAR, ONA, SAV.
FAST & FURIOUS 6. Vin Diesel returns as high-octane thief Dominic Toretto, who gets his crew together one more time to stop an arms dealer who's creating havoc in Europe. Pictures proving that his old flame Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is still alive prompt him to do what he thought he'd never do — work with the authorities, as represented by federal agent Luck Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). The story is nothing new and there's a sense the film is spinning its wheels, recycling many of the same stunts. A step down from the previous entry as the action becomes too ridiculous to be believed, even by this franchise's standards. 2 Stars (Chuck Koplinski) 130 minutes. Rated PG-13. AMC, HAR, SAV.
FIRST: THE STORY OF THE LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES. (Thursday, May 30). The only documentary about the London 2012 Olympic Games supported by the International Olympic Committee, the film follows 12 first-time Olympic athletes on their journey from their homes in different corners of the globe to meet their fate in London. Presented by NCM Fathom Events, New Moon and the U.S. Olympic Committee, this includes exclusive interviews with London 2012 Olympians including swimmer Missy Franklin, gymnast John Orozco, boxer Queen Underwood and BMX racer Caroline Buchanan. 120 minutes. Rated PG. SAV.
GOONIES (1985). (Starts Friday) A group of kids finds a treasure map and embarks on an odyssey filled with pirates, action and old-timey special effects. Produced by Steven Spielberg. 114 minutes. Rated PG. ART.
GREASE(1978). (Thursday, May 30) The students at Rydell High dance and sing their way through a tumultuous school year in this film adaptation of the hit Broadway production. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John shot to superstardom as the mismatched lovers Danny and Sandy. Rollicking tunes and a pleasant sense of nostalgia for the 1950s makes this one a crowd-pleaser. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 110 minutes. Rated PG-13. HAR.
THE GREAT GATSBY. Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of the seminal American classic is an ambitious, flawed marvel that adheres closely to F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, though the director's grandiose style sometimes tramples on the author's subtle tone. Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the title role of the mysterious millionaire who transforms himself in order to win back Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan). There's an undeniable energy to the film and the cast; in particular, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway and Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan are impressive. Unfortunately, Luhrmann's overwrought style trumps the substance of Fitzgerald's work at times, making for an uneven but still watchable effort. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). Rated PG-13. 143 minutes. AMC, SAV.
HANGOVER PART III. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis return to the roles that made them stars as the Wolf Pack finds itself looking for Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), who has something that ruthless crime lord Marshall (John Goodman) wants and will kill their buddy Doug (Justin Bartha) to get. Though it does not reach the inspired lunacy of the first film, this entry moves at a brisk pace and contains some solid gags and an ending that's worthy of the characters and the series. An apology of sorts from director Todd Phillips for the misguided "Part II." 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 100 minutes. Rated R. AMC, HAR, SAV.
IRON MAN 3. Marvel Films' first misstep finds Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) on the run from a maniacal terrorist (Ben Kingsley) with a vendetta against him while he tries to deal with post-traumatic stress syndrome stemming from the events in "The Avengers." The film, as directed by screenwriter Shane Black, is a scattered affair that never builds up a full head of steam while it lacks the sense of fun that buoyed the first two entries in the series. Equally troubling are the many lapses in logic contained in the screenplay, which become too numerous to ignore. 2 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 130 minutes. Rated PG-13. AMC, SAV.
NOW YOU SEE ME. (Opens Thursday, May 30) An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money. Stars Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg. Directed by Louis Leterrier. (Internet Movie Database). 116 minutes. Rated PG-13. SAV.
PAIN AND GAIN. Michael Bay's account of perhaps the worst kidnapping scheme ever committed is tailor-made for his hyperactive, kinetic style as the film contains characters that are larger than life and situations that dictate they be rendered in a hyper-realistic manner. Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie are three dimwitted bodybuilders who abduct a Florida businessman (Anthony Shalhoub) and try to extort his riches from him. The ineptitude these three display has to be seen to be believed, and though the film gets rather dark, it's such an engaging tale, you have to see it through to the end. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 129 minutes. Rated R. PRI.
PENS TO LENS AWARDS GALA. (Wednesday) Films made from scripts by local youths, presented by the Champaign-Urbana Film Society. View the movie posters, inspired by student screenplays, that have been created by members of the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization, then watch the awards and screening ceremony and a one-hour encore screening of the films. 90 minutes. Rated G. ART.
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. (1981). (Thursday, May 30) Harrison Ford stars as whip-cracking, globe-trotting archaeologist Indiana Jones, who is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant (believed to still hold the original Ten Commandments) before agents of Hitler can lay their hands on its legendary power. Directed by Steven Spielberg, co-written by George Lucas and co-starring Karen Allen, this classic action/thriller blockbuster spawned other films. 115 minutes. Rated PG. HAR.
A ROYAL AFFAIR. Director Nikolaj Arcel's historical epic about the mad Danish King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Foelsgaard), his radical physician Johann Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen) and the queen (Alicia Vikander) who helps bring about radical reform is an engaging, sweeping epic that is far more a political statement than a bodice-ripping melodrama as the title would suggest. Gripping from the start and brisk in execution, this export is surprisingly timely in what it has to say about government and those who would dictate our lives. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 137 minutes. Rated R. NOR.
SHARK TALE. (Saturday). A little fish (voiced by Will Smith), abetted by a vegetarian shark (Jack Black), gets the fame he has longed for when he claims credit for slaying a shark. The computer-generated visuals are good, but not revolutionary, and cannot make up for the tedium generated by stale hip-hop humor and recycled Mafia gags. 2 stars (Richard J. Leskosky). 90 minutes. Rated PG. PRI.
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS. The reboot of the adventures of the Starship Enterprise continues under the steady hand of director J.J. Abrams, who delivers another rip-roaring, though derivative adventure. Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the crew find themselves pursuing a mysterious villain (Benedict Cumberbatch) into Klingon territory and, in the process, risk plunging the two civilizations into war. Nothing is as it seems as Abrams pulls out one surprise after another while the numerous action sequences are done with great enthusiasm and imagination. The film's plot may leave some Trek purists enraged, but there's no denying that the movie is made with great skill and reverence for the characters. 3 Stars (Chuck Koplinski). 132 minutes. Rated PG-13. AMC, HAR, SAV.
VINTAGE CARTOON FEST. (Opens Thursday, May 30) See vintage cartoon classics on the big screen! Rare oldies — lots of fun for all ages. 85 minutes. Rated G. NOR.