Thursday, November 27, 2014
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Life, Life, Love

New and Noteworthy: Movies

Michael Douglas is Oren and Diane Keaton is Leah in "And So It Goes." (Clarius Entertainment)
Michael Douglas is Oren and Diane Keaton is Leah in "And So It Goes." (Clarius Entertainment)


By Steven Rea

And So It Goes Michael Douglas plays a self-centered, misanthropic real estate agent who grudgingly agrees to take care of his young granddaughter, recruiting a lounge-singer neighbor (Diane Keaton) to help out. Rom-com hilarity ensues - or, at least, that's director Rob Reiner's plan. PG-13

Planes: Fire & Rescue A sequel (Planes) to a spinoff (Cars), the latest from the DisneyToon studio finds Dusty Crophopper, the sentient cropduster-turned-aerial racer, joining a squadron of planes and copters trying to put out a massive wildfire. Fam-com hilarity ensues - or, at least, that's director Roberts Gannaway's plan. PG

Sex Tape Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel are a couple trying to put some spark back into their marriage, which they do by recording themselves in the throes of, well . . . the throes. But their private, intimate video accidentally ascends to "the cloud," arriving in people's inboxes and social-media feeds. Sex-com hilarity ensues - or, at least, that's director Jake Kasdan's plan. R

More coverage
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  • 'Planet of the Apes': Not a chimp off the old block
  • Reese Witherspoon plays recovering addict in 'Wild'

    Also Opening


    Aftermath Nine strangers struggle for survival in a farm cellar following a nuclear war.

      The Purge: Anarchy In this sequel to the 2013 hit, a young couple fights for survival as the annual purge rolls around.

     Siddharth An Indian man desperately searches for his son after the boy fails to return home from a long-distance work assignment. Hindi with subtitles.

    Wish I Was Here A struggling actor and family man (writer-director Zach Braff) takes stock of his life when he turns 35.


    Excellent (****)

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

    Venus In Fur Wickedly smart and wickedly playful, Roman Polanski's adapatation of David Ives' Tony-nominated play works on so many levels it's dizzying. A two-character piece about power, perversion, subjugation, seduction, the battle of the sexes, and the relationship between an actress and her director, it stars Polanski's wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, and Mathieu Amalric, who bears a striking resemblance to Polanski. No MPAA rating (sex, nudity, profanity, 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)

    How to Train Your Dragon 2 One of the most delightful surprises of the year, this DreamWorks Animation sequel is an intelligent, sensitive, and beautifully realized morality play that will fascinate children and parents alike. Five years after he ended the war between dragons and Vikings, young hero Hiccup and his fellow dragon-riders face off against a dreaded enemy named Draco, who subjugates dragons, using fear and torture to make them do his bidding. 1 hr. 42 PG (adventure action and some mild rude humor) - T.D.

    The Immigrant Marion Cotillard is nothing less than amazing as a destitute Pole who arrives at Ellis Island in 1921 and falls in with a smooth-talking pimp (Joaquin Phoenix). James Gray (Two Lovers, The Yards) directs this half-crazy, fascinating yarn. R (nudity, violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

    Life Itself A touching, inspiring documentary portrait of Roger Ebert, the famously prolific thumb-slinging movie critic whose life story is the stuff of movies itself - and whose resilience in the face of an 11-year struggle with cancer is nothing short of extraordinary. R (adult themes) - S.R.

    Obvious Child Jenny Slate stars as a Brooklyn comedienne who finds herself pregnant following a messy, drink-fueled one-nighter, in this low-key indie set in a world of stand-up, breakups, and visits to Planned Parenthood. Philadelphia native Gabe Liedman costars. R (profanity, sexual content, adult themes) - T.D.

    Snowpiercer A global-warming experiment goes awry and Earth freezes, leaving survivors to circle Earth on a train driven by perpetual motion. Class war breaks out between those in back and those in front. All aboard for Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Chris Evans. R (violence, language, smoking, drug use) - T.D.


    Also on Screens

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes **1/2 Unnecessarily slow and somber sequel to the 2011 reboot of the classic sci-fi franchise from another century. The apes are dominant, living a life of peace in the misty woods north of San Francisco, but then the humans come asking favors - armed with guns. With Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, and Andy Serkis' performance-capture turn as Caesar, leader of the highly evolved primates. PG-13 (violence, action, adult themes) - S.R.

    Hellion *** Opening with a pack of teens taking out their rage on a pickup truck, this coming-of-age story is an impressionistic take on a life of not-so-quiet desperation led by a working-class family in a small Texas town near Galveston. It's composed of finely wrought vignettes, but light on story and character development. With Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, Josh Wiggins. No MPAA rating (adult subjects, profanity, some violence, smoking) - T.D.

    Rage *1/2 A businessman with a shady past, Nicolas Cage goes on a brutal revenge spree after his daughter is murdered. More rouge than noir, this movie exists only as a pretext for violence. No MPAA rating (violence, profanity, adult themes) - D.H.

    Begin Again **1/2 Keira Knightley, bringing those daunting cheekbones to bear on a mawkish music-biz screenplay, is the best thing about John (Once) Carney's New York City melodrama. Mark Ruffalo is the down-on-his-luck industry veteran who thinks he can turn the heartbroke English songstress into a star. With Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine, Catherine Keener, and Hailee Steinfeld. R (profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

    Deliver Us From Evil ** A New York City cop (Eric Bana) and an unorthodox priest (Edgar Ramirez) who specializes in exorcisms join forces to investigate a series of possessions that are terrorizing the city. R (bloody violence, grisly images, terror throughout, profanity) - T.D.

    Earth to Echo *** Any similarities to E.T. are strictly intentional in this thoroughly winning kiddie sci-fi caper, as boys help a stranded little alien escape first the authorities and then the atmosphere. PG (action sequences) - D.H.

    Tammy **1/2 Melissa McCarthy goes on a crazy, low-rent road trip with her boozy grandma (Susan Sarandon) in a raucous comedy that goes off the rails in its second half. R (profanity, adult themes) - D.H.

    Think Like a Man Too *1/2 Kevin Hart oversees the couples therapy comedy, a sequel to the 2012 hit based on Steve Harvey's bestseller, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. PG-13 (crude sexual content, partial nudity, language, and drug material) - W.S.

    Transformers: Age of Extinction 3D ** Director Michael Bay outdoes himself in the latest pulverizing chapter of his robot franchise. It's much longer and much louder than any of the previous demolition extravaganzas. Mark Wahlberg provides the puny human element.   PG-13 (violence, profanity, adult themes) - D.H.

    22 Jump Street **1/2 Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, not exactly the millennials' answer to Abbott and Costello but working a sympatico stupid-com groove, are back in the sequel to 21 Jump Street. This time the undercover cops go to college to bust a drug ring. Winkingly ironic dumb jokes - anatomical, scatalogical, sexual - ensue. R (profanity, sex, drugs, cartoon violence, adult themes) - S.R.

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