Saturday, August 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

New and Noteworthy: Movies

Nicholas Cage and Tye Sheridan in "Joe."
Nicholas Cage and Tye Sheridan in "Joe."


By Steven Rea

Joe Adapted from Larry Brown's novel, with Nicolas Cage in the title role as a tattooed, troubled Texan, and Mud's Tye Sheridan as the abused, homeless kid he befriends. From director David Gordon Green. R

Cuban Fury Nick Frost leaves his Three Flavours Cornetto mates Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright behind to star in a comedy-romance about a socially awkward, lapsed salsa dancer smitten with his new boss, Rashida Jones. Chris O'Dowd is his impossibly obnoxious office colleague. R

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  • Rio 2 The follow-up to the 2011 animated hit, with macaws Blu and Jewel (the voices of Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway) heading for a new life in the Amazon rain forest, where they encounter an old nemesis, Nigel the cockatoo, and every feathered and furry critter feels the need to break into song. Vocal talent includes Leslie Mann, Bruno Mars, and Jamie Foxx. G


    Also Opening


    Alan Patridge A veteran DJ (Steve Coogan) gets caught up in a siege that follows a management change at his station.

    Child's Pose A wealthy Bucharest architect goes to great lengths to keep her son out of prison after a deadly car crash. Romanian with subtitles.

     Dom Hemingway Jude Law stars as a safecracker who sets about collecting debts after spending 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut.

    Draft Day An NFL general manager (Kevin Costner) goes to great lengths to obtain the top pick in the draft for his team.

    Finding Vivian Meier Documentary on a nanny whose highly regarded treasure of street photographs wasn't discovered until after her death.

     Oculus A woman attempts to prove that a supernatural force was responsible for the deaths of their parents, as opposed to her brother, who was convicted of murdering them.

    The Raid 2 An Indonesian cop goes undercover to find the corrupt political and police bosses that are making his life a nightmare.

     St. Vincent A boy whose parents recently divorced bonds with the hedonistic war veteran who lives next door. Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy star.

    Under the Skin A beautiful alien (Scarlett Johansson) comes to earth to prey on unsuspecting hitchhikers.


    Excellent (****)

    Reviewed by critics Steven Rea (S.R.), Tirdad Derakhshani (T.D.), and David Hiltbrand (D.H.). W.S. denotes a wire-service review.

    The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson's eighth, and most teeming, film is a between-the- wars comic caper set in a fictitious central European land, where Ralph Fiennes is the concierge of an elegant alpine hostelry. When a wealthy guest dies, and the will is read, a mad dash for money and a prized painting ensues. With Adrien Brody, Willem Defoe, F. Murray Abraham, Saoirse Ronan, and newcomer Tony Revolori. Sublime. R (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

    The Lego Movie It took 65 years, but finally those little Danish construction toys get their own movie. If the Smurfs can do it, why not these interlocking little bits of plastic? 1 hr. 40 PG (mild action, rude humor) - W.S.

    The Missing Picture Director Rithy Panh's extraordinary memoir, nominated for this year's foreign language Academy Award, is about reclaiming the past - a past taken away from millions of people who lived, and died, under the Pol Pot dictatorship in mid-1970s Cambodia. Panh reconstructs his family's history, and his country's, using clay figurines. It's beautifully simple, full of poetry and pain. 1 hr. 32 No MPAA rating (violence, atrocities, adult themes) - S.R.

    Particle Fever Shot over seven years, this brilliant, majestic, and remarkably accessible science documentary coproduced and narrated by particle physicist David Kaplan chronicles how 10,000 scientists and engineers came together to build what in effect is the ultimate test tube for particle physics, the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator at CERN in Switzerland. Kaplan explains with quiet authority, patience, and great wit how the LHC, one of the largest machines every built, can help clarify some of the most fundamental questions about the universe: How was matter created, what is the deep foundational theory of nature? 1 hr. 39 No MPAA rating (accessible for all ages) - T.D.

    The Wind Rises A love song about flight, about childhood obsessions realized, Hayao Miyazaki's latest and possibly last feature (he has announced his retirement, but he's done that before), has the same dreamlike sense of magic that imbues all of the cartoon maestro's work - even though it's a story rooted in fact: the story of aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi. 2 hrs. 06 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) - S.R.


    Very Good (***1/2)

    Bethlehem Former Israeli intelligence officer and philosophy scholar Yuval Adler delivers a veritable masterpiece with his feature debut, a taut, edge-of-your-seat espionage thriller about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cowritten by noted Muslim Palestinian journalist Ali Waked. At once a deeply moving, violent tragedy, a rich character study, and a lacerating critique of both sides in the armed struggle, the film centers on the ambivalent relationship between an Israeli Secret Service officer and a Palestinian teen he cultivates as an informant. It's sure to haunt you. In Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles. 1 hr. 39 No MPAA rating (intense battle scenes, violence, profanity, smoking) - T.D.

    Ernest & Celestine The unlikely friendship between a mouse and a bear is at the heart of this winning animated feature, nominated for an Academy Award, adapted with wit and grace from Gabrielle Vincent's beloved series of children's books. On view in both original French (subtitled) and dubbed English versions. 1 hr. 20 PG (scary images, cute talking animals in jeopardy) - S.R.

    Tim's Vermeer Fascinating, illuminating documentary about inventor Tim Jenison's obsessive project to prove that the 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, long hailed for his photorealistic style, used optical devices to get the job, and the art, done. Narrated by Penn Jillette, directed by his less gabby show biz sidekick, Teller. 1 hr. 20 PG-13 (adult themes) - S.R.


    Also on Screens

    Captain America: The Winter Soldier **1/2 The ninth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings Steve "Cap" Rogers (Chris Evans, sporting Popeye biceps) to modern-day Washington, D.C., where the old-school "super soldier" struggles to come to terms with a preemptive, paranoid government mindset. With Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and Robert Redford in a sinister supporting role. 2 hrs. 16 PG-13 (action, violence, adult themes) - S.R.

    Divergent *** Dystopian teen drama, with Shailene Woodley as a Katniss Everdeen type, defying the 22d-century postapocalyptic social order, and Theo James as her mysterious, muscle-y warrior mentor. Adapted from the Veronica Roth novel, and directed, surefootedly, by Neil Burger (Limitless, The Illusionist). 2 hrs. 19 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) - S.R.

    God's Not Dead A young man's faith is put to the test by his philosophy professor. Shane Harper, Kevin Sorbo, and Willie Robertson star. Not Previewed

    Mr. Peabody & Sherman *** A time-travel movie, a father-and-son movie, a boy-meets-girl movie, a movie that doggedly celebrates the art of the pun. But most significantly, this snappy adaptation of the '60s Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon segments is a movie about the smartest creature on Earth - who just happens to be a beagle - and his adopted human boy. The bowtied canine and his bespectacled kid find themselves ricocheting through the centuries, exploring history firsthand, and firstpaw. PG (cartoon violence) - S.R.

    The Muppets Most Wanted **1/2 An evil frog is masquerading as Kermit while the real thing is in a Russian gulag, hopping mad. The premise doesn't matter once the songs and gags start flowing. Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell costar in this light entertainment. 1 hr. 52 PG (cartoonish action) - D.H.

    Noah *** Darren Aronofsky's audacious, hallucinogenic reimagining of the Old Testament text is the movie equivalent of Christian death metal. It's an antediluvian Lord of the Rings, fist-pumping, ferocious, apocalyptic, and wet - very wet. With a brooding, burly Russell Crowe in the title role, and CG-generated rock monsters on hand to help build the fabled ark. 2 hrs. 18 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) - S.R.

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