Las Vegas Weekly

September 12, 2013

Las Vegas Weekly

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A&E | Short Takes a fatal, unprovoked shooting at an Oakland BART station four years ago. Unfortunately, rather than ask how such an incident could have happened, the film asks why it had to happen to such a swell guy. –MD Theaters: SC depth in this aggressively run-of-themill portrait of Apple's late CEO, Steve Jobs. Hitting all the usual signposts of its genre, the film fails to think different at every turn; it's the Windows XP of biopics. –MD Theaters: FH, SC Getaway abccc Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Jon Voight. Directed by Courtney Solomon. 90 minutes. Rated PG-13. The moronic, nonsensical plot is about a former race car driver (Hawke) forced by a mysterious mastermind (Voight) to steal a souped-up car and wreak havoc on city streets. The dialogue is consistently terrible, and the car chases, impressive at first, quickly become repetitive. –JB Theaters: AL, CAN, CH, FH, GVR, ORL, RP, RR, SF, SP, ST, TS, TX, VS Kick-Ass 2 aaccc Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Directed by Jeff Wadlow. 107 minutes. Rated R. Taylor-Johnson returns as the title character, a high-school geek who decided to put on a costume and become the first real-life superhero. With its unfocused plot and abundance of superfluous new characters, Kick-Ass 2 is limper than the first movie, although it retains some of the humor. –JB Theaters: DI, SHO, ST The Grandmaster aabcc Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, Qingxiang Wang. Directed by Wong Kar Wai. 108 minutes. Rated PG-13. In Mandarin with English subtitles. Wong's biopic of Chinese martial-arts legend Ip Man (Leung) is disjointed and choppy, awkwardly combining action and historical drama. Cut down for American release, it's full of title cards that bridge apparent gaps in the narrative, along with sometimes pedantic explanations of historical context. –JB Theaters: BS, ORL, RR, SC, SP, SS, TS, TX Lee Daniels' The Butler aaacc Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo. Directed by Lee Daniels. 132 minutes. Rated PG-13. Whitaker plays a White House butler who observes the civil rights movement through the eyes of multiple presidents, as well as his own son (Oyelowo), who marches with Martin Luther King Jr. It's a clumsy, maudlin film, but at least it shows that there might be a useful context for Daniels' overheated, punishing style. –MD Theaters: AL, CAN, CH, FH, GVL, GVR, ORL, RP, RR, SF, SHO, SP, SS, ST, TS, TX, VS Grown Ups 2 ccccc Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade. Directed by Dennis Dugan. 101 minutes. Rated PG-13. This plotless sequel may be the laziest Hollywood movie of all time, with the male stars playing barely concealed versions of themselves (rich Hollywood layabouts) and the actresses playing interchangeable wives. The overall impression of this movie is contempt: for women, for alternative sexuality, and most importantly for the audience itself. –JB Theaters: DI, GVR, ST The Heat aaacc Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Michael Rapaport. Directed by Paul Feig. 117 minutes. Rated R. Bullock and McCarthy make for a very entertaining pair as an uptight FBI agent and an uncouth Boston police detective. Their character types are standard-issue, as is the plot that forces them to work together, but there is enough funny banter to make The Heat a worthy addition to the buddy-cop canon. –JB Theaters: TC, VS In a World ... aaabc Lake Bell, Fred Melamed, Michaela Watkins. Directed by Lake Bell. 93 minutes. Rated R. Writer-director Bell stars as a vocal coach and aspiring voiceover artist working perpetually in the shadow of her voiceover-legend father (Melamed). Bell manages to pull the story's disparate elements together, crafting a satisfying, funny and sometimes moving story about both family and career expectations. –JB Theaters: SC Instructions Not Included (Not reviewed) Eugenio Derbez, Loreto Peralta, Jessica Lindsey. Directed by Eugenio Derbez. 115 minutes. Rated PG-13. In Spanish with English subtitles. An irresponsible playboy (Derbez) must grow up quickly when a former lover leaves him their daughter to raise. Theaters: BS, CAN, FH, GVL, ORL, SC, SF, SP, TS, TX Jobs aaccc Ashton Kutcher, Josh Gad, Dermot Mulroney. Directed by Joshua Michael Stern. 125 minutes. Rated PG-13. Kutcher tries hard but is well out of his The Lone Ranger AACCC Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner. Directed by Gore Verbinski. 149 minutes. Rated PG-13. Although Hammer plays the title character, a masked avenger in the old West, it's Depp (doing the latest variation on his deadpan weirdo) as Native American sidekick Tonto who's the real draw. There are entertaining moments, but they're mostly buried under the loud fight scenes and monotonous exposition. –JB Theaters: ST, TC Monsters University aaacc Voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Helen Mirren. Directed by Dan Scanlon. 102 minutes. Rated G. It's a mostly pleasant, if familiar and predictable, story, set at a time when Monsters, Inc. main characters Mike (Crystal) and Sully (Goodman) were college rivals. There aren't any surprises in the plot, but, as usual for a Pixar production, the details are fantastic. –JB Theaters: COL, ST The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones aaccc Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan. Directed by Harald Zwart. 130 minutes. Rated PG-13. A mishmash of familiar genre elements, Instruments stars Collins as a teenager who discovers that she is part of a hidden magical world. It's all presented in a jumble of mediocre action, cheesy emotion and underwhelming special effects, with a plot that goes on for too long and ends without resolving anything. –JB Theaters: AL, BS, CH, COL, RP, RR, SF, SS, TS, TX Now You See Me (Not reviewed) Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Jesse Eisenberg. Directed by Louis Leterrier. 116 minutes. Rated PG-13. An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances. Theaters: TC One Direction: This Is Us (Not reviewed) Directed by Morgan Spurlock. 92 minutes. Rated PG. Concert and behindthe-scenes documentary featuring boy band One Direction. Theaters: AL, CH, COL, FH, ORL, RP, RR, SF, SHO, SP, SS, ST, TS, TX, VS Pacific Rim aaccc Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi. Directed by Guillermo del Toro. 131 minutes. Rated PG-13. Huge monsters have invaded Earth, and scientists have developed giant robots to fight the invaders. The movie almost dares the audience to sit through terrible, clumsy dialogue delivered by actors who've left their charisma at home, all for the privilege of watching computer graphics fight each other under cover of darkness. –JB Theaters: TC Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters aabcc Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Douglas Smith. Directed by Thor Freudenthal. 106 minutes. Rated PG. This is a thoroughly second-rate franchise, and its latest installment features a rote storyline about teen demigod Percy (Lerman) and his friends on a quest to find the mythical golden fleece and save the world. The special effects are adequate, the life lessons are family-friendly, and the characters are blandly likable. –JB Theaters: AL, CH, COL, RR, SF, ST, TX, VS Planes abccc Voices of Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett. Directed by Klay Hall. 92 minutes. Rated PG. This spinoff of the Cars series, which tells the story of a cropduster (voiced by Cook) who follows his dream of competing in an around-the-world airplane race, is dull, lifeless and predictable, with a cast full of forgettable characters distinguished mostly by their exuberant embrace of ethnic stereotypes. –JB Theaters: AL, BS, CH, COL, DI, FH, ORL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SP, SS, TS, TX Red 2 aaccc Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich. Directed by Dean Parisot. 116 minutes. Rated PG-13. Frank (Willis), his girlfriend Sarah (Parker) and Marvin (Malkovich) find themselves international targets, while trying to locate a secret weapon in Russia. The rhythm is badly bungled, riddled with lurches and cheats, and director Parisot keeps the plot moving quickly, jumping all over the world, to cover up its general nothingness. –JMA Theaters: COL, SC Riddick aaccc Vin Diesel, Matt Nable, Jordi Molla. Directed by David Twohy. 119 minutes. Rated R. Intergalactic fugitive/badass Riddick (Diesel) returns in a poorly paced, generic action movie with cheap-looking special effects. The plot is largely a retread of original Riddick movie Pitch Black, set on a barren, inhospitable planet populated by deadly creatures, where Riddick must fight and/or team up with a group of onedimensional space mercenaries. –JB Theaters: AL, CAN, CH, COL, DI, FH, GVL, ORL, RP, RR, SF, SHO, SP, SS, ST, TS, TX, VS R.I.P.D. AACCC Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon. Directed by Robert Schwentke. 96 minutes. Rated PG-13. A mismatched pair of undead police officers track down fugitives from the afterlife in this perfunctory Men in Black ripoff. Bridges makes for an amusing curmudgeon, but otherwise the performances are unimpressive, the effects and design work are ugly, and the plot is a bunch of tossed-off nonsense. –JB Theaters: ST Satyagraha (Not reviewed) Amitabh Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Ajay Devgn. Directed by Prakash Jha. 146 minutes. Not rated. In Hindi with English subtitles. A group of people join forces to spark a national political movement in India. Theaters: VS The Smurfs 2 abccc Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Brendan Gleeson. Directed by Raja Gosnell. 105 minutes. Rated PG. The little blue creatures return for another soulless cash-in adventure, attempting to rescue Smurfette from the clutches of the evil Gargamel. Bad puns, lame slapstick, blatant product placement and half-hearted life lessons lead to the requisite obnoxious musical number at the end. –JB Theaters: CH, COL, ORL, SC, SF The Spectacular Now aaabc Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson. Directed by James Ponsoldt. 95 minutes. Rated R. The central relationship between teenage screw-up Sutter (Teller) and good girl Aimee (Woodley), is so strong that it makes the sometimes contrived situations surrounding it all the more disappointing. Teller and Woodley are both outstanding, and whenever they're onscreen together, the movie is mesmerizing. –JB Theaters: COL, ORL, SC Still Mine aaacc James Cromwell, Genevieve Bujold, Rick Roberts. Directed by Michael McGowan. 103 minutes. Rated PG-13. An octogenarian rancher (Cromwell) runs up against bureaucratic interference when he tries to build a house for his ailing wife (Bujold). Based on a true story, Still Mine is sentimental and often hokey, but it's a wonderful showcase for veteran character actor Cromwell. –JB Theaters: VS This Is the End AABcC Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco. Directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. 107 minutes. Rated R. Rogen, Baruchel, Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride all play themselves as the initial survivors of an apocalyptic event. The self-referential humor is the movie's least amusing aspect, however, and the emotional beats get steamrolled by the vulgar humor and the unimpressive special-effects set pieces. –JB Theaters: AL, BS, CH, ORL, RP, TS, TX Turbo aaccc Voices of Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Peña. Directed by David Soren. 96 minutes. Rated PG. A snail acquires magical speed powers and attempts to race the Indy 500 in this dull, predictable animated kids' movie. Ironically, the plot moves at a snail's pace, while the characters are bland and the life lessons are obvious. –JB Theaters: COL, DI, ST The Ultimate Life (Not reviewed) Peter Fonda, Bill Cobbs, Drew Waters. Directed by Michael Landon Jr. 109 minutes. Rated PG. Overwhelmed by stress, a businessman learns valuable lessons about spirituality from his grandfather's journals. Theaters: TS, VS The Way, Way Back aaccc Liam James, Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell. Directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. 103 minutes. Rated PG-13. James plays Duncan, a sullen 14-year-old forced to spend the summer in a generic beach town with his mother (Collette) and her douchebag boyfriend (Carell). Writer-directors Faxon and Rash mimic the rhythms of entertaining and affecting coming-ofage dramedies without capturing any of the feeling. –JB Theaters: ST, VS We're the Millers aaccc Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber. 110 minutes. Rated R. Four small-time criminals pose as a wholesome family on vacation in order to smuggle a massive shipment of marijuana across the U.S.-Mexico border. Things, of course, do not go as planned, and while that sometimes leads to amusing misunderstandings, it more often leads to disingenuous lesson-learning and emotional bonding. –JB Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, CH, DI, FH, GVL, GVR, ORL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, SS, TS, TX White House Down aaccc Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, James Woods. Directed by Roland Emmerich. 137 minutes. Rated PG-13. Tatum plays a member of the Capitol Police who ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time when terrorists take over the White House and capture the president (Foxx). The plotting is incoherent and laughable, the characters are onedimensional, and the special effects are surprisingly chintzy. –JB Theaters: TC The Wolverine aaabc Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima. Directed by James Mangold. 129 minutes. Rated PG-13. Superhero spinoff The Wolverine sets itself apart as an introspective character study more than an action movie, with a streamlined cast and an emphasis on personal relationships. Although it has plenty of action in its Japan-set story, The Wolverine is really about its main character's inner turmoil. –JB Theaters: AL, BS, COL, DI, SC, SS, TX The World's End aaabc Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman. Directed by Edgar Wright. 109 minutes. Rated R. Five middle-aged buddies return to their home town to attempt the Golden Mile, a mammoth pub crawl leading, in more ways than one, to The World's End. The third film from director Wright and star/co-writer Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), it's as funny as its predecessors, but much weirder. –MD Theaters: AL, FH, GVR, ORL, RR, SF, SS, ST, TS, VS World War Z aabcc Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Fana Mokoena. Directed by Marc Forster. 115 minutes. Rated PG-13. Pitt's Gerry Lane is a retired U.N. investigator called back to service to investigate the cause of a zombie outbreak. The movie's greatest strength is in conveying the worldwide scope of the zombie infestation. There are some impressive action sequences, but as thrilling as they can be, they're also a little empty. –JB Theaters: ST, TC You're Next aabcc Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn. Directed by Adam Wingard. 95 minutes. Rated R. Hyped as a fresh new take on the "home invasion" horror subgenre, You're Next has just one grindhouse-style trick: a female character fights back rather than becoming a victim. The rest is just the typical "10 little Indians" scheme with attempts at heightened gore. –JMA Theaters: AL, COL, RR, ST, TS, TX, VS Zanjeer (Not reviewed) Ram Charan, Priyanka Chopra, Sanjay Dutt. Directed by Apoorva Lakhia. 125 minutes. Not rated. In Hindi with English subtitles. A cop faces off against a gang leader. Theaters: VS JMA Jeffrey M. Anderson; JB Josh Bell; MD Mike D'Angelo 52 LasVegasWeekly.com September 12–18, 2013 51-52_Short_Takes_20130912.indd 52 9/11/13 1:16 PM

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