GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

October 3, 2013

Las Vegas Weekly

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A&E | Short Takes The Conjuring aabcc Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston. Directed by James Wan. 112 minutes. Rated R. Set in 1971, The Conjuring features top-notch period detail and some nice homages to horror movies of that era. But the story of a nice family calling on a pair of ghost hunters to rid their house of evil spirits is formulaic and anticlimactic, and the stylish scares eventually offer diminishing returns. –JB Theaters: DI The Croods aabcc Voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds. Directed by Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders. 91 minutes. Rated PG. A family of cavemen must change or face extinction in this inoffensive but unremarkable DreamWorks animated tale. There are some beautiful and inventive creations among the prehistoric animals, but the story is predictable and rote, suitable for keeping kids occupied but not much beyond that. –JB Theaters: TC Despicable Me 2 aabcc Voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt. Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud. 98 minutes. Rated PG. Reformed super-villain Gru (Carell) teams up with a top-secret crime-fighting force and falls for his new partner (Wiig). Gru's little yellow minions can be amusing, but they aren't enough to carry the movie, which has an underwhelming villain and a weak emotional core. –JB Theaters: BS, COL, SC Don Jon aaccc Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore. Directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. 90 minutes. Rated R. Writer-director Gordon-Levitt plays the porn-addicted New Jersey meathead title character, a total stereotype who spends most of the movie dating an equally stereotypical Jersey girl (Johansson). His eventual relationship with an older woman (Moore) goes in some fascinating directions, but by then, the movie's just about over. –JB Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, CH, DI, FH, GVL, GVR, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SP, SS, TS, TX Elysium aabcc Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley. Directed by Neill Blomkamp. 109 minutes. Rated R. Blomkamp's follow-up to District 9 imagines a future in which the 1 percent live blissfully on an orbiting space station called Elysium while most of Earth's population suffers on the home planet. A heavy-handed allegory for America's immigration debate is all this leaden action flick has to offer. –MD Theaters: ST, VS Enough Said aaabc Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener. Directed by Nicole Holofcener. 93 minutes. Rated PG-13. The latest from writer-director Holofcener stars Louis-Dreyfus as a masseuse who starts dating a man (Gandolfini) and massaging/befriending his ex-wife (Keener) without telling either one that she knows the other. It's a gentle, wise comedy trapped in the body of a broad, dumb comedy, but all of the actors—especially Gandolfini— are superb. –MD Theaters: GVR, VS The Family (Not reviewed) Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones. Directed by Luc Besson. 111 minutes. Rated R. A notorious mafia family is relocated to France under the witness protection program. Theaters: AL, CH, DI, FH, GVR, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SF, SP, SS, ST, TS, TX, VS Generation Iron (Not reviewed) Directed by Vlad Yudin. 106 minutes. Rated PG-13. Documentary following seven top bodybuilders as they train to compete for the Mr. Olympia title. Theaters: ORL 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: ST Insidious: Chapter 2 aaccc Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey. Directed by James Wan. 105 minutes. Rated PG-13. The poor Lambert family continues to be haunted by malevolent spirits in this sequel to the surprise 2011 hit. Whatever creepiness the original movie generated has mostly dissipated, replaced by an abundance of back story that fails to enhance the scares. –JB Theaters: AL, BS, CH, DI, FH, GVR, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SP, SS, TS, TX 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, DI, FH, ORL, PAL, SC, SF, SP, TS, TX 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: ST 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: COL, ORL, SP, ST, VS 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 Metallica: Through the Never aaaac Dane DeHaan, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich, Robert Trujillo. Directed by Nimrod Antal. 92 minutes. Rated R. Metallica plays a thunderous concert in 3D and IMAX while a roadie (DeHaan) is sent on a mysterious mission into an eerie and ominous city to retrieve "something the band needs." Director Antal slowly escalates the sinister, spooky mood, and the overall, visceral effect is like that of a great horror flick. –JMA Theaters: AL, PAL, RR, SS 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: TC 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: CH, COL 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: ST 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: CH, COL, ST, 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, COL, SC Prisoners aaccc Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard. Directed by Denis Villeneuve. 146 minutes. Rated R. Prisoners tediously lays out every detail of the increasingly despairing efforts to find two missing young girls in a Pennsylvania suburb. The relentlessly downbeat movie takes itself incredibly seriously, but the last hour reveals it as nothing more than a cheap thriller with some pseudo-philosophical nonsense tacked on. –JB Theaters: AL, CAN, CH, DI, FH, GVL, GVR, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SF, SP, SS, ST, TS, TX, VS 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: SC, TC 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 one-dimensional space mercenaries. –JB Theaters: AL, GVR, ORL, RR, SF, SS, ST, 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 Rush aabcc Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde. Directed by Ron Howard. 123 minutes. Rated R. The racing scenes are the strongest elements of Howard's otherwise bland Rush, based on the real 1970s rivalry between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Brühl). Their attempts to defeat each other behind the wheel are often suspenseful, but the depiction of their off-track lives is mostly generic. –JB Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, FH, GVL, GVR, ORL, PAL, RR, SC, SF, SP, SS, TS, TX 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 Thanks for Sharing aaccc Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Gad. Directed by Stuart Blumberg. 112 minutes. Rated R. Although it deals with the underexplored subject of sex addiction, following three addicts as they struggle with their recovery, Sharing treads well-worn territory, and its central relationships often ring false. Director and co-writer Blumberg offers up feeble, cutesy comedy, and when the stories turn serious, the big moments come off as phony. –JB Theaters: GVR, VS 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: ST 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: 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, CH, COL, FH, ORL, RR, SC, SP, SS, TS, TX The Wizard of Oz: An IMAX 3D Experience (Not reviewed) Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr. Directed by Victor Fleming. 101 minutes. Rated PG. Re-release in IMAX 3D of 1939 classic about a young girl transported to a magical land. Theaters: AL, RR, SS 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: GVR, SC, TC 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: VS 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: ST JMA Jeffrey M. Anderson; JB Josh Bell; MD Mike D'Angelo October 3–9, 2013 LasVegasWeekly.com 48-49_Short_Takes_20131003.indd 49 49 10/2/13 1:18 PM

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