Friday, August 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

New and Noteworthy: Movies

Optimus Prime returns in "Transformers: Age of Extinction."
Optimus Prime returns in "Transformers: Age of Extinction." Industrial Light & Magic / Paramount Pictures


Transformers: Age of Extinction The fourth installment in the Transformers franchise picks up four years after the invasion of Chicago, with Mark Wahlberg playing an auto mechanic battling to protect his daughter, and a formidable force plotting to take over Earth. Look out for a horde of new and nasty bots, along with some familiar Transformer faces: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ratchet, and Brains. PG-13.

Korengal The 2010 documentary Restrepo focused on a U.S. Army platoon at a remote outpost in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. Korengal returns to the scene, to the same soldiers, the same conflict - but far from the same perspective on war. R.

The Discoverers Griffin Dunne stars as a recently separated father who leads his dysfunctional family across the country on a reenactment of the Lewis and Clark trek. They find not only the Pacific in this comedy, but each other. No MPAA rating.



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


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)

A Coffee in Berlin Jan Ole Gerster's sly and melancholy day-in-the-life tale is shot in black-and-white and moves to a retro jazz score. Its scruffy protagonist is out of work, and increasingly out of luck, as he ricochets around the German city, meeting people, offending people, and maybe helping one or two as well. 1 hr. 28 No MPAA rating (adult themes) - S.R.

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.

Obvious Child Jenny Slate stars as a Brooklyn comedian 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. 1 hr. 29 R (profanity, sexual content, adult themes) - T.D.

The Rover Writer-director David Michôd's (Animal Kingdom) elegantly filmed minimalist thriller set in the not-too-distant future has Guy Pearce as a teed-off Australian seeking out the gang that stole the last thing on earth that mattered to him. 1 hr. 42 PG-13 (profanity, bloody violence, smoking) - T.D.

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon Mike Myers directs, and narrates, this fast and affectionate portrait of the fabled music- and movie-biz mega-manager, who crossed paths with just about everybody (Jimi, Janis, Cary - as in Cary Grant) and whose personal journey goes from the sybaritic to the spiritual. A remarkable in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time tale of fame, fortune and finding peace. 1 hr. 25 R (profanity, sex, nudity, drugs, adult themes) - S.R.

We Are the Best! Pipsqueak misfits in early '80s Stockholm start a punk band - three girls slashing and thrashing against parents, teachers, and classmates in Lukas Moodysson's exuberant and compassionate coming-of-age gem. 1 hr. 42 No MPAA rating (profanity, drugs, adult themes) - S.R.


Also on Screens

Edge of Tomorrow *** Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt star in a propulsive sci-fi war movie, about a cowardly military flack who gets Bill Murray's Groundhog Day syndrome - he's fated to relive the same day over and over again, and the day is a doozy: a battle against alien invaders that will determine the fate of humankind. PG-13 (intense action, violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

The Fault in Our Stars *** A sweet, bittersweet tale of cancer-stricken lovebirds - played by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort - facing love, and death, head-on. An adaptation of John Green's YA megaseller, from the writing team behind The Spectacular Now (also with Woodley) and (500) Days of Summer. PG-13 (sex, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Jersey Boys *** John Lloyd Young, who starred as Frankie Valli in the original Broadway musical, cinches up his face and hits the high notes with grace in Clint Eastwood's enoyable - and surprisingly tough - music-biz biopic. Wall-to-wall Four Seasons songs, too. 2 hrs. 14 R (profanity, violence, adult themes) - S.R.

Maleficent *** Angelina Jolie stars as the titular villain of the Sleeping Beauty tale in this imaginative, if somewhat labored, reinvention of the classic Disney cartoon. With Elle Fanning as the cursed Aurora, and District 9's Sharlto Copley alarmingly cast as her dad, the king. Flower-powered fairyland visual effects to die for! And Jolie, horns and cheekbones high, is magnificent as the villainous fairy godmother. PG (violence, scary images, adult themes) - S.R.

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.

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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