Las Vegas Weekly

March 6, 2014

Las Vegas Weekly

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A& E | SHORT TAKES The Great Beauty (Not reviewed) Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli. Directed by Paolo Sorrentino. 142 minutes. Not rated. In Italian with English subtitles. An aging author and socialite relects on his life following his 65th birthday. Theaters: VS Her AAABC Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams. Directed by Spike Jonze. 126 minutes. Rated R. Set in the not- so-distant future, the irst ilm written as well as directed by Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) posits a romance between a man (Phoenix) and a sentient operating system (voice of Johansson). Surprisingly, it's less visionary sci-i than a simple, moving allegory. –MD Theaters: VS The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug AAACC Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage. Directed by Peter Jackson. 161 minutes. Rated PG13. It's still a bad idea to split up J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy novel into three movies that run nearly three hours each, but the second installment, with better pacing and a greater sense of urgency, at least makes a case for giving some of the bigger set pieces time to breathe. –JB Theaters: ST, TC The Hunger Games: Catching Fire AABCC Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth. Directed by Francis Lawrence. 146 minutes. Rated PG13. Lawrence returns as steely teenager Katniss Everdeen, who triumphed in a contest in which children ight each other to the death. Catching Fire is impressive in scope, full of dazzling special efects and elaborate action sequences. Yet it moves the story forward only incrementally, and its eforts at social commentary are muddled. –JB Theaters: ST I, Frankenstein (Not reviewed) Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski. Directed by Stuart Beattie. 93 minutes. Rated PG13. Frankenstein's creature inds himself caught in a centuries-old war between two immor- tal clans. Theaters: TC Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit AAACC Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner. Directed by Kenneth Branagh. 105 minutes. Rated PG13. Having resuscitated James T. Kirk, Pine now takes over Tom Clancy hero Jack Ryan, with mixed results. He returns the character to his origins as an egghead analyst leery of taking action, but at the expense of seeming insubstantial, especially compared to Costner's scowling CIA mentor and director Branagh's hammy Russian villain. –MD Theaters: DI, SC, ST The Legend of Hercules ACCCC Kellan Lutz, Scott Adkins, Liam McIntyre. Directed by Renny Harlin. 99 minutes. Rated PG13. This brain-dead take on Greek demigod Hercules fea- tures terrible writing, acting, action and special efects, with Lutz turning in a completely wooden, confused lead per- formance. The supporting cast fares no better at delivering the stilted dialogue, and director Harlin ofers a lame rip-of of Zack Snyder in his visual style. –JB Theaters: TC The Lego Movie AAABC Voices of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell. Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. 100 minutes. Rated PG. A Lego construction worker (Pratt) discovers that he's the designated savior of his brick-based world from an evil tyrant (Ferrell). The Lego Movie is frenetic, often hilarious fun, a nonstop barrage of wordplay and sight gags, far better than a ilm based on toy blocks had any right to be. –JB Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, CH, COL, DI, FH, GVL, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SP, SS, TS, TX Lone Survivor AABCC Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch. Directed by Peter Berg. 121 minutes. Rated R. Berg's ictionalized account of Operation Red Wings pits four Navy SEALs (Wahlberg, Kitsch, Hirsch and Ben Foster) against Taliban soldiers, with foreknowledge that only one will make it out alive. By con- stantly treating our soldiers like noble martyrs, however, Berg succeeds only in making them unworthy of inter- est. –MD Theaters: ORL, SC The Monuments Men AABCC George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett. Directed by George Clooney. 118 minutes. Rated PG13. Clooney directs and stars in a rather lifeless account of the squadron of art experts who tracked down works of art sto- len by the Nazis during World War II. Clooney alternates limp humor with corny speeches about the value of art, and his strong cast can't quite make it all stick. –JB Theaters: COL, FH, RR, SF, SP, ST, TS, VS Non-Stop AABCC Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery. Directed by Jaume Collet- Serra. 106 minutes. Rated PG13. A New York-to-London light is targeted by a mysterious assailant, who taunts a tormented air marshal (Neeson) and threatens to kill a passenger every 20 minutes. The movie's irst half is tense and sometimes surprising, but the more the villain's convoluted plan pro- gresses, the less convincing the movie becomes. –JB Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, CH, DI, FH, GVL, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, SS, TS, TX The Nut Job AACCC Voices of Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Liam Neeson. Directed by Peter Lepeniotis. 85 minutes. Rated PG. Shrill and manic but also entirely forgettable, this animated movie follows a grumpy squirrel who learns the value of sharing and teamwork while planning to steal the contents of a nut store. The plot is convoluted, the characters are irritat- ing, and the lessons are haphazardly delivered. –JB Theaters: ST Oscar Shorts Highlights of this program of Oscar- nominated animated and live-action short ilms include the clever, self- referential Mickey Mouse short Get a Horse!, the tense and powerful French drama Just Before Losing Everything, Finnish comedy Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? and British sci-i short The Voorman Problem. –JB Theaters: SC Philomena AABCC Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark. Directed by Stephen Frears. 98 minutes. Rated PG13. Based on a noniction book about an Irish woman searching for the child she was forced to give up for adoption 50 years earlier, Philomena delivers a weepy, feel-good (but hollow) narrative, in which a cynical, opportunistic journalist (Coogan) has his heart melted by the plight of a lovable old lady (Dench). –JB Theaters: SC Pompeii AACCC Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Kiefer Sutherland. Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. 105 minutes. Rated PG13. This account of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius takes a long time getting to the actual eruption, instead focusing on the drippy romance between a glad- iator (Harington) and a noblewoman (Browning). The eventual destruction is impressive, but the characters and dialogue are enough to make the audi- ence root for the volcano. –JB Theaters: BS, CAN, CH, COL, FH, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, TS, TX Ride Along AACCC Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, John Leguizamo. Directed by Tim Story. 100 minutes. Rated PG13. Aspiring cop Ben (Hart) is stuck spending a day with glowering detective James (Cube), whose sister is Ben's girlfriend and intended iancée. The pair have a typical buddy-cop dynamic; Hart's shtick gets tired quick- ly, and Cube only has one note to play as the humorless straight man. –JB Theaters: AL, CAN, CH, DI, FH, ORL, PAL, SF, SS, ST, TS, TX RoboCop AABCC Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton. Directed by José Padilha. 118 minutes. Rated PG13. This remake of the 1987 classic tells the story of Detroit police oicer Alex Murphy (Kinnaman), who is rebuilt as a law-enforcement cyborg after being nearly killed. The movie spends way too much time detailing every aspect of Murphy's transformation, delivering a workman- like take on a subversive cult icon. –JB Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, CH, COL, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SP, SS, TS, TX Shaadi Ke Side Efects (Not reviewed) Farhan Akhtar, Vidya Balan, Ram Kapoor. Directed by Saket Chaudhary. 145 minutes. Not rated. In Hindi with English subtitles. A young couple deals with the ups and downs of marriage. Theaters: VS Son of God (Not reviewed) Diogo Morgado, Greg Hicks, Adrian Schiller. Directed by Christopher Spencer. 138 minutes. Rated PG13. The life of Jesus Christ. Theaters: AL, BS, CH, COL, DI, FH, CAN, GVL, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, SS, TS, TX Stalingrad (Not reviewed) Thomas Kretschmann, Petr Fedorov, Yanina Studilina. Directed by Fedor Bondarchuk. 131 minutes. Rated R. In Russian with English subtitles. A band of determined Russian soldiers ight to hold a strategic building during the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II. Theaters: PAL Starting Over Again (Not reviewed) Toni Gonzaga, Piolo Pascual. Directed by Olivia M. Lamasan. 130 minutes. Not rated. In Filipino with English subtitles. A pair of exes run into each other again years after a breakup. Theaters: VS That Awkward Moment AABCC Zac Efron, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan. Directed by Tom Gormican. 94 minutes. Rated R. Efron, Teller and Jordan play three college friends now living in New York City, all single and determined to remain that way. There's nothing new about the movie's con- trived misunderstandings and cringe- worthy comic set pieces, but the actors bring extra charm and likeability to their characters. –JB Theaters: DI, ST Thor: The Dark World AABCC Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Christopher Eccleston. Directed by Alan Taylor. 112 minutes. Rated PG13. After the gleeful popcorn-movie high of The Avengers, it's a bit of a comedown to see Marvel superhero Thor (Hemsworth) back on his own. The Dark World hums along mostly as expected, delivering ade- quate superhero adventure in a fairly generic manner, right through the two post-credits stingers. –JB Theaters: TC Walking With Dinosaurs AACCC Voices of John Leguizamo, Justin Long, Tiya Sircar. Directed by Barry Cook and Neil Nightingale. 87 minutes. Rated PG. An awkward combination of nature documentary and kids' movie (putting CGI dinosaurs in live-action locations), with dubious educational value. The dinosaurs talk, but most of what they say involves lame jokes or romantic longing. Kids may inadvertently learn something along the way, but they'd probably get more out of going to a museum. –JB Theaters: TC The Wind Rises AAACC Voices of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki. 126 minutes. Rated PG13. The English-language version of Miyazaki's inal ilm does not improve the soapy dialogue, nor the jerky nar- rative. But most troubling is the depic- tion of the Japanese hero who built planes used to attack the U.S. during WWII. Even so, the ilm's breathtaking imagery seems in tune with nature itself. –JMA Theaters: AL, ST, TS, VS Winter's Tale AABCC Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe. Directed by Akiva Goldsman. 129 minutes. Rated PG13. Adapted from Mark Helprin's beloved 1983 novel, Goldsman's Winter's Tale is supposed to employ magic realism, but it lips indecisively back and forth between magic and realism, without ever inding a tone for both at the same time. Some moments are ridiculously goopy, while others are simply ridiculous. –JMA Theaters: SC The Wolf of Wall Street AABCC Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie. Directed by Martin Scorsese. 179 minutes. Rated R. The true story of Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio), who bilked investors out of millions of dollars, runs a fairly well-worn course, and there isn't a whole lot of variation that Scorsese can add. As entertaining as many of the individual scenes can be, the movie drags as it passes the 90-minute mark. –JB Theaters: COL, SC, ST, TS JMA Jefrey M. Anderson; JB Josh Bell; MD Mike D'Angelo For complete movie listings, visit lasvegasweekly.com/movies/listings. > EVERYTHING IS AWESOME The colorful stars of The Lego Movie. MARCH 612, 2014 LASVEGASWEEKLY.COM 53 52_Short_Takes_20130000.indd 53 3/5/14 4:03 PM

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