Monday, July 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

New and Noteworthy: Movies

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne star as Mac and Kelly Radner - a young couple who live next door to a fraternity house - in "Neighbors." (Universal Studios)
Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne star as Mac and Kelly Radner - a young couple who live next door to a fraternity house - in "Neighbors." (Universal Studios)

COMING THIS WEEK

By Steven Rea

Neighbors Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are a couple with a newborn who move into a place right next door to a frat house. Zac Efron and Dave Franco are the fraternity brothers. Disputes of the comedic kind ensue. Nicholas Stoller (The Five-Year Engagement, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) directs. R

Belle Historical drama about the illegitimate daughter of an 18th-century Royal Navy commander and an African slave, raised in noble surroundings by her great-uncle, the Earl of Mansfield. With Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the title role, and Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson. PG

Locke Tom Hardy stars as a construction manager trying to put his life in order as he barrels down an English motorway, talking - to his wife, his sons, his boss, to another woman - via his hands-free mobile device. Great cinema ensues. R

More coverage
  • 'Gigolo': fluffy comedy with Woody Allen as pimp
  • 'Decoding' a film in need of a cure
  • 'Spider-Man Two' not completely 'Amazing'
  •  

    Also Opening

     

     Devil's Knot Only a lawyer going through his own personal turmoil (Colin Firth) believes in the innocence of three teens accused of the ritualistic killing of three younger children.

    The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden This documentary looks at disappearances on the Galapagos Islands during the 1930s.

    Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return Dorothy returns to her old stomping grounds to help out her friends in this animated family feature.

      Young & Beautiful After losing her virginity while vacationing with her family, a young Frenchwoman decides to explore her sexuality further by working as a prostitute. French and German with subtitles.

     

    Excellent (****)

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

    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)

    Blue Ruin A barbed-wire sharp and altogether surprising thriller, with Macon Blair as a bearded drifter looking to avenge a double murder. Along the way, writer/director Jeremy Saulnier finds time to explore a whole substratal world of homelessness, of a solitary soul scrounging for food, for shelter. This spare American indie examines how violence defines our lives in ways that feel jolting, and true. 1 hr. 52 R (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

    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.

    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

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 **1/2 Schematic sequel to 2012's reboot of the Marvel Comics franchise starring a kid (Andrew Garfield) who morphs into a web-slinging superhero is driven by adolescent heartache and indecision, and by gigantic, effects-driven fight scenes - against super-foes including Jamie Foxx's Electro and Dane DeHaan's Green Goblin. And through it all: Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy, a lash-batting cartoon of brainy cute-osity. 2 hrs. 22 PG-13 (intense action, violence, adult themes) - S.R.

    Brick Mansions ** Luc Besson produced this tediously felicitous remake of his thrilling 2004 action film District 13 starring the late Paul Walker as a Detroit cop who teams up with an anarchic civilian crime fighter (French parkour maestro David Belle) to take down a drug lord (RZA) who has hijacked a ticking nuclear bomb. See it if you must, but you'll have a better, happier, more fulfilled life if you rent the original. 1 hr. 30 PG-13 (profanity, violence, drug use, drug selling, guns, sexuality) - T.D.

    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.

    Heaven Is for Real ** Small-town parents attempt to come to grips with what their young son claims to have seen during a near-death experience. 1 hr. 40 PG (thematic material including some medical situations) - W.S.

    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.

    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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