Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Capsule Reviews of Movies

Reviews

Ratings:

**** Excellent *** Good

** Fair * Poor

Reviewers: C.R., Carrie Rickey; S.R., Steven Rea; D.D., Dan DeLuca; T.D., Tirdad Derakhshani; D.H., David Hiltbrand; W.S., Inquirer wire services.

New This Week

César Chávez See Tirdad Derakhshani's review on Page 6.

Enemy See Steven Rea's review on Page 5.

Ernest & Celestine See Steven Rea's review on Page 10.

Le Week-End See Steven Rea's review on Page 4.

Noah See Steven Rea's review on Page 4.

Sabotage See David Hiltbrand's review on Page 5.

Also on Screens

About Last Night The relationships of two new couples are put to the test in this romantic comedy starring Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, and Joy Bryant. 1 hr. 40 R (sexual content, language, brief drug use) - W.S.

Bad Words Jason Bateman stars as a cynically contemptuous 40-year-old who insists on competing in a national children's spelling bee. Rohan Chand plays his precocious 10-year-old sidekick. Wicked fun until it elects to go sappy. 1 hr. 28 R (pervasive profanity, nudity, sex, crude humor) - D.H.

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.

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.

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me A fearless but compassionate documentary portrait of the Broadway belter and cabaret icon - a crank, a boozer, a terror, a delight. Stritch has been a fixture of the New York theater and music scenes forever, or before forever. And now, in her late 80s, she bravely lets a camera crew follow her around. 1 hr. 21 No MPAA rating (profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Forces of Nature Get a close-up look at natural disasters in this Imax documentary.

Frozen *** A plucky princess (voiced by Kristen Bell) is joined by a slapstick snowman (Josh Gad) in a delightful animated film that is part fairy tale, part farce. 1 hr. 48 PG (fright) - D.H.

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

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 Dafoe, F. Murray Abraham, Saoirse Ronan, and newcomer Tony Revolori. Sublime. 1 hr. 40 R (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Ice Age ** Diverting, if undistinguished, animated feature the moral of which is that predators and prey can be in the same posse if they have a common goal. A woolly mammoth with sinus trouble (voice by Ray Romano), an excitable sloth (John Leguizamo), and a shifty saber-tooth tiger (Denis Leary) navigate glacier and avalanche to return a lost baby to his migrating tribe. Shown in Imax. 1 hr. 21 PG (scenes of peril) - C.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 little interlocking bits of plastic? 1 hr. 40 PG (mild action, rude humor) - W.S.

The Lunchbox Exquisite and exciting, exotic and inviting, this tale of a romance that begins with a misdelivered meal will put a smile on your face, a tear in your eye. Set in the teeming thrum of Mumbai, Ritesh Batran's first feature is full of whimsy and wisdom, and boasts a beautifully quiet and wholly realized performance from Slumdog Millionaire's Irrfan Khan. 1 hr. 44 PG (adult themes) - S.R.

The Monuments Men George Clooney, in epaulets and Clark Gable mustache, leads a gang of art experts, tasked with retrieving troves of artwork stolen by the Nazis in this throwback to Hollywood's war movies of yore. Alas, it's a throwback that's thrown its back out - limping along, trailed by battalions of stereotypes and ammo rounds of cliche. With Matt Damon, John Goodman, and Cate Blanchett. 1 hr. 58 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) - S.R.

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 significant, 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. 1 hr. 30 PG (cartoon violence) - S.R.

Muppets Most Wanted An evil frog is masquerading as Kermit while the real thing is hopping mad in a Russian gulag. 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.

Need for Speed Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul gets his own starring vehicle - and climbs into several, including a Shelby Mustang and a Koenigsegg Agera, in this cross-country, road-racing, revenge-taking, stunt-driving cannonball of a movie. 2 hrs. 10 PG-13 (intense action, violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Non-Stop Liam Neeson's latest vehicle is a jetliner - the broad-shouldered, soft-spoken action hero plays a U.S. air marshal on a flight hijacked by . . . well, the question of the hijacker's identity is the ostensible suspense mechanism for this increasingly ludicrous thriller. With Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, and lots of very frightened passengers. 1 hr. 46 PG-13 (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Nymphomaniac: Vol. I Provocateur and prankster Lars von Trier's latest stars Charlotte Gainsbourg in the title role, recounting her tales of sexual obsession to a man (Stellan Skarsgård) who finds her in a bloodied heap on the street. A simple story, really, filled with graphic sex and asides about fishing and cutlery. Thin, saucer-eyed British model Stacy Martin stars in the flashbacks, and porn doubles are used for the nitty-gritty bits. In-your-face and, mostly, enjoyably ridiculous. 1 hr. 58 No MPAA rating (graphic sex, nudity, profanity, 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.

Ring of Fire This Imax documentary looks at the ring of volcanos in and around the Pacific Ocean.

The Single Moms Club In Tyler Perry's latest, women from different social classes (Nia Long, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Cocoa Brown, Amy Smart, and Zulay Henao) bond over the challenges of single parenting. A breezy but banal melodrama. 1 hr. 51 PG-13 (adult themes) - D.H.

Son of God Condensed and reconfigured from the 10-hour History Channel mini-series The Bible, with Portuguese model-turned-screen player Diogo Morgado in the role of Jesus of Nazareth, inspiring his followers, performing miracles, and getting arrested, tried, and nailed to a cross. With its Sunday-school narration and periodic flyovers of a computer-rendered Jerusalem, and with a cast that can best be described as handsome, the film reduces the civilization-shaping events in the life and times of Jesus to a cheesy clip reel. 2 hrs. 18 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) - S.R.

Space Junk 3D This Imax documentary looks at the vast amount of space debris orbiting Earth and the extent to which it jeopardizes space exploration. Not Previewed

300: Rise of an Empire As in the original 300 film, the vastly outnumbered ancient Greeks are trying to hold off the invading Persians. But this time they're fighting on boats, and against a villainess (Eva Green). And as in the original, you get gruesome stylized violence mixed with visual panache. 1 hr. 42 R (strong violence, sex, nudity, profanity) - D.H.

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 showbiz sidekick, Teller. 1 hr. 20 PG-13 (adult themes) - S.R.

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. Nominated for the animated-feature Academy Award. 2 hrs. 06 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) - S.R.

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