Friday, August 29, 2014
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New and Noteworthy: Movies

Andrew Garfield stars as Spider-Man in "The Amazing Spider-Man," also starring Emma Stone. (Columbia Pictures)
Andrew Garfield stars as Spider-Man in "The Amazing Spider-Man," also starring Emma Stone. (Columbia Pictures)
Andrew Garfield stars as Spider-Man in "The Amazing Spider-Man," also starring Emma Stone. (Columbia Pictures) Gallery: New and Noteworthy: Movies

 

Opening This Week

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Spider-man is kept busy by a slew of super-villains sent by a mysterious new corporation. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone reprise their roles from the original.

Blue Ruin A mysterious man returns to his childhood home town seeking revenge.

Dancing in Jaffa A world- renowned ballroom dancer teaches Jewish and Palestinian Israeli children to dance together in this documentary.

More coverage
  • Tender undead: 'Only Lovers Left Alive'
  • Decoding Annie Parker A woman with breast cancer and a scientist who is doggedly determined to find a cure for the disease are brought together.

    Fading Gigolo Writer-director John Turturro also stars as a man who becomes a professional Don Juan to help raise money for his struggling friend (Woody Allen).

     

    Excellent (****)

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

    Alphaville Rerelease of Jean-Luc Godard's 1965 sci-fi metafiction in which the hard-boiled, famed (in France) American secret agent Lemmy Caution (craggy Eddie Constantine) travels in a spaceship that looks a lot like a Ford Galaxie to pursue a mystery in a city on a distant planet that looks a lot like Paris. French with subtitles. 1 hour, 39 mins. No MPAA rating (violence, adult themes) - S.R.

    Finding Vivian Maier A fascinating puzzle-piece mystery - and a revelatory portrait of an eccentric figure who worked as a nanny in Chicago from the 1950s through the 1990s - and who dragged her charges through the city, taking pictures. The heretofore unknown street photographs are nothing less than brilliant; the documentary about this curious figure is a find in more ways than one. 1 hr. 23 No MPAA rating (adult themes) - S.R.

    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.

     

    Very Good (***1/2)

    Jodorowsky's "Dune" This fascinating documentary looks at the thwarted attempt in the 1970s by cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain, and Santa Sangre) to make a big-budget adaptation of Frank Herbert's sci-fi masterpiece Dune. Featuring extensive interviews with the Chilean-French filmmaker and his colleague, the film walks the viewer through the preproduction process and shares Jodorowsky's remarkable interpretation of a novel that later yielded two very flawed adaptations. 1 hr. 30 PG-13 (some violent and sexual imagery, language, adult themes) - T.D.

    Oculus A woman tries to win her brother's freedom by proving that the murder he was convicted of was committed by a supernatural force. 1 hr. 45 R (scenes of extreme bloody violence, profanity, sexual situations) - T.D.

    Only Lovers Left Alive Jim Jarmusch's sly and seductive vampire movie, starring Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as two old (very old) lovers, is as much about the life-sustaining force of music as it is about any hankering for blood. With Anton Yelchin, Mia Wasikowska, and John Hurt. 2 hrs. 03 R (profanity, nudity, adult themes) - S.R.

    The Raid 2: Berandal Combine every film made by Bruce Lee and muay thai master Tony Jaa and you might get an approximation of the sheer level of martial-arts mayhem, gunplay, knifeplay, car chases, explosions, murder, maiming, and general bloodletting in this extraordinary sequel. Indonesian actor, stuntman and silat fighter Iko Uwais returns as Jakarta cop Rama, the sole survivor of a police raid who goes undercover to destroy three gangs, including a group of dirty, deadly cops. R (strong bloody violence, sexuality, profanity) - T.D.

    Under the Skin Scarlett Johansson, slightly robotic and definitely hypnotic, stars in this deeply creepy and mysterious noir, about a stranger who trolls around Scotland looking for men to seduce - and devour. From filmmaker Jonathan Glazer. 1 hr. 48 R (nudity, sexual violence, profanity, 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.

    Hateship Loveship *** Kristen Wiig brings deft comic grace notes to her portrayal of a single, solitary caregiver who becomes the victim of a prank perpetrated by two teenage girls in this pitch-perfect adaptation of an Alice Munro story. Great cast includes Guy Pearce, Nick Nolte, Hailee Steinfeld, and Sami Gayle. 1 hr. 44 R (sex, profanity, drugs, adult themes) - S.R.

       The Other Woman ** Leslie Mann - ditzy and gasping, Lucille Ball and Olive Oyl rolled into one, in panic-attack mode - makes this formulaic sex farce tolerable, barely. She's the wife who discovers that her husband is cheating on her with Cameron Diaz, and with Kate Upton. The trio team up, in a spirit of twisted sisterhood, to exact revenge. PG-13 (sex, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

    The Railway Man *** Hang in through the stuffy start and you'll get an emotionally powerful (though graphic) film about the horrors of (world) war (II) and its aftereffects. With Colin Firth and Jeremy Irvine. 1 hr. 56 R (torture scenes) - D.H.

    Rio 2 ** Blue-feathered 3D computer-animated Spix's macaw Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and his mate Jewel (Anne Hathaway) return for another life-, love-, family-, and environment-affirming adventure in this muddled, mediocre sequel to the $485 million-grossing hit from 2011. Joined by their motley crew of animal pals (Tracy Morgan, Jamie Foxx, will.i.am, and George Lopez) they trek deep into the Amazon rain forest in search of other members of their nearly-extinct species. The musical numbers are grand and pretty, but the plot is muddled and the message woefully facile. 1 hr. 41 G - T.D.

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