Film capsules, June 6
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
THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938). (Starts June 13) Errol Flynn is unmatched as the Saxon rebel who robs from the rich to give to the poor. Flamboyantly delightful! With Olivia DeHavilland and Basil Rathbone. 102 minutes. Rated G. NOR.
AFTER EARTH. Set in the distant future, this sci-fi epic finds military officer Cypher Raige (Will Smith) and his son Kitai (Jaden Smith) marooned on a hostile planet after their spaceship crashes there. That the site of their adventure is Earth, 1,000 after humans have abandoned it, is the only twist in the film, which is a much-too-straightforward adventure in which Kitai must traverse this hostile environment to track down a homing beacon, while Dad is laid up with two broken legs. The characters are a bit too remote to become engaged with while the movie's impressive special effects can't obscure how bland the script is. 2 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 100 minutes. Rated PG-13. AMC, SAV.
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKQUEL. (Starts Monday). If you can read this, you're probably too old for this live-action sequel featuring the famously cute singing furballs. With Zachary Levi and David Cross. 88 minutes. 2 stars (David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer). Rated PG. SAV.
EPIC. Spectacular visuals are the highlight of this animated feature that's bogged down by an all-too-familiar story. A teenage girl finds herself in the midst of a war between microscopic warriors of the Green and the denizens of the Rot. There are an adequate number of "Oh wow!" moments here, but the story lacks urgency, making for a movie that seems to be spinning its wheels rather than blazing any new trails in animation. 2 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 102 minutes. Rated PG. AMC, SAV.
ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH. (Saturday). This bland animated feature follows the adventures of alien Scorch Supernova (voice by Brendan Fraser), whose brother Gary (Rob Corddry) must come and rescue him after he has been captured on Earth. The story contains few surprises, and the visuals are nothing special, making for a movie that will amuse the tykes and bore their parents. 2 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 89 minutes. Rated PG. In 3-D. PRI.
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.
FAT KID RULES THE WORLD. Jacob Wysocki ("Terri") is a troubled high school kid who befriends a dropout wishing to start a punk-rock band in this indie comedy. High-spirited! 97 minutes. Rated R. A Beyond Normal Films' Choice! NOR.
FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF (1986). (Starts Friday) Here is one of the most innocent movies in a long time, a sweet, warmhearted comedy about a teenager who skips school so he can help his best friend win some self-respect. The movie stars Matthew Broderick as Ferris, a bright high school senior from the North Shore who fakes an illness so he can spend a day in town with his girlfriend, Sloane (the astonishingly beautiful Mia Sara), and his best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck). 3 stars (Roger Ebert). 103 minutes. Rated PG-13. ART.
FORREST GUMP (1994). (Saturday) I've never met anyone like Forrest Gump in a movie before, and for that matter I've never seen a movie quite like "Forrest Gump." Any attempt to describe him will risk making the movie seem more conventional than it is, but let me try. It's a comedy, I guess. Or maybe a drama. Or a dream. ... The movie is ingenious in taking Forrest on his tour of recent American history. ... Eventually it becomes clear that between them Forrest and Jenny have covered all of the landmarks of our recent cultural history, and the accommodation they arrive at in the end is like a dream of reconciliation for our society. What a magical movie. 4 stars (Roger Ebert). Rated PG-13. VIR.
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, is 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. PRI, 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, SAV.
THE INTERNSHIP. Surprisingly charming and sporting a timely message, this pleasant comedy finds two middle-age buddies (Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) desperately trying to score positions at Google after being terminated from their sales jobs. Needless to say, they're strangers in a strange land of technology and computer-speak, and the humor mined from the obvious generation gap provides the film with its biggest laughs. However, the movie's message — that a human touch is still vital in this age of runaway technology — is delivered sincerely and should be taken to heart. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 119 minutes. Rated PG-13. 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. PRI.
MUD. (Opens Friday) Matthew McConaughey delivers a haunting, moving performance as a man on the run clinging to a lost love that may lead to his ruin. His experiences are witnessed by an impressionable teenage boy (Tye Sheridan) whose notions of love are inexorably altered in the end. Quiet yet moving, this is one of the year's best as it delivers a human story of love and loss that resonates long after the end credits roll. 4 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 130 minutes. Rated PG-13. ART.
NOW YOU SEE ME. Not nearly as clever as it wants you to believe, this heist film about a quartet of Robin Hood-like magicians (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and David Franco) who create illusions to right past wrongs tries one of the oldest tricks in the book to make you believe you've had an entertaining time. Director Louis Leterrier keeps things moving so quickly he hopes the viewer won't realize that all of the pieces in the movie's plot simply don't fit together. Though fun at times, in the end you're likely to feel as though you've been fooled rather than amazed. With Mark Ruffalo as the cop on the magicians' trail, Michael Caine as their duplicitous benefactor and Morgan Freeman as the man out to debunk them. 2 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 106 minutes. Rated PG-13. AMC, SAV.
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL. (Tuesday, Thursday). 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. VIR.
THE PURGE. (Opens Friday) In an America where the government has sanctioned an annual night on which all crime is legal for 12 hours, a family in a gated community is drawn into chaos when a stranger comes knocking. With Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey and Adelaide Kane. Written and directed by James DeMonaco. (Los Angeles Times). 85 minutes. Rated R. SAV.
REEL IT UP 2013. (Tuesday) Week two of the fourth annual LGBT Film Festival. Two showings each Tuesday in June. Gender ID Shorts, 7:30 p.m. "No Dumb Questions," a lighthearted and poignant documentary, profiles three sisters, ages 6, 9 and 11, struggling to understand why and how their Uncle Bill is becoming a woman. 24 minutes. "I'm Just Anneke" takes us into the heart of a new generation of children who are intuitively questioning the binary gender paradigm. 12 minutes. "The Family Journey: Raising Gender Nonconforming Children" charts the emotional and intellectual transformations parents and siblings must make in order to successfully nurture their gender nonconforming family members. 14 minutes. Talk-back after movies. At 9:30 p.m., "Ready? OK!" (2008). In this poignant comedy, a single mom struggles to understand her young son's obsession with dresses, dolls and girls' cheerleading. 91 minutes. ART.
SPIRIT OF THE MARATHON II. (Wednesday) Fathom Events and Competitor Group invite you to run the scenic streets and endure the life-changing challenges of the Rome Marathon. From the producers of the award-winning documentary "Spirit of the Marathon" (2008), this sequel follows seven runners from around the world as they journey to the starting line of the 2012 Rome Marathon. The documentary also features interviews with marathon greats and an exclusive featurette with never-before-seen interviews, deleted scenes and memorable outtakes. 115 minutes. SAV.
SPRING BREAKERS. (Starts Friday) There's far more than meets the eye in Harmony Korine's film about four bored college girls (Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine) who go to great lengths to go to Florida for spring break and get far more than they bargain for. Korine pulls no punches in examining this generation's sense of entitlement and the disconnect they have between reality and fantasy. James Franco gives another good performance as a hustler who takes the quartet under his wing and envelops them in his sordid lifestyle. Thoughtful and hard-hitting. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 94 minutes. Rated R. ART.
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. SAV.
THIS IS THE END. (Opens Tuesday) While attending a party at James Franco's house, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and many other celebrities are faced with the apocalypse. Directed by Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen. Stars James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel. (Internet Movie Database). 106 minutes. Rated R. AMC.