Recommended films showing in Salt Lake City for the week of March 1– 7, 2013
1. Zero Dark Thirty (R)
2. Argo (R)
3. Lincoln (PG-13)
4. Silver Linings Playbook (R)
5. Warm Bodies (PG-13)
1. Life of Pi (PG)
2. Beautiful Creatures (PG-13)
3. Rise of the Guardians (PG)
4. Wreck-It Ralph (PG)
5. ParaNorman (PG)
1. Argo (R)
2. Amour (PG-13)
3. The Impossible (PG-13)
4. Beasts of the Southern Wild (PG-13)
5. A Place at the Table (PG)
Jack the Giant Slayer
3 out of 5 Stars
Director • Bryan Singer
Starring • Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor
Rated • PG-13
Recommended to • Those looking for a fun, adventurous and somewhat silly take on the classic fairytale of “Jack and the Beanstalk.”
Jack (Nicholas Hoult) is a well-meaning orphan who lives with his uncle on his struggling farm. Threatened with starvation Jack goes into the city to sell his uncle’s horse, but only comes back with a bag of beans; magic beans that grow into a giant ladder to an island in the sky where a race of violent giants dwell.
These days fairytales have move from the realm of family films and into the land of action adventures intended for older audiences. In the past year we’ve had “Snow White and the Huntsman,” “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” and now there’s “Jack the Giant Slayer.” “Jack the Giant Slayer” isn’t as dark as its classmates as it mixes epic adventure with a bit of silliness thrown in for comedic purposes. The sugary visuals are the drawing point; the script plays a distant second fiddle. The cast is a delightful mix of veterans and up-and-comers. The old guard could probably play their roles in their sleep; fortunately they appear to be engaged and awake as they breathe a little life and depth into what are essentially cardboard characters.
“Jack the Giant Slayer” is better than what you’d expect from a movie opening in early March. It’s luster will fade a bit once the onslaught of summer blockbusters arrives, but for now it’s a delightful way to escape the outside world.
21 and Over
2 out of 5 Stars
Directors • Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Starring • Miles Teller, Justin Chon, Jonathan Keltz
Rated • R
Recommended to • Those looking for a particularly vulgar, but not overly funny night of debauchery with three college-aged men.
Jeff (Justin Chon) is planning on celebrating his 21st birthday by preparing for a med-school interview, but his best friends from high school have other plans. What begins as a one-drink evening quickly spirals into a night of excess and humiliation.
Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the writers of “The Hangover,” have simply lifted the central premise of their mega hit and swapped out a Las Vegas for a college campus. The players are younger, but the mayhem is essentially the same. The results are fairly predictable and unremarkable. It’s a step above “Project X,” and possibly “The Hangover II,” but what felt original in “The Hangover” has quickly become a cliché again.
A Place at the Table
3 out of 5 Stars
Directors • Kristi Jacobson, Lori Silverbush
Rated • PG
Recommended to • Those interested in (or completely unaware of) the starvation epidemic that continues to plague America despite an overabundance of available food.
“A Place at the Table” is a well-constructed documentary the features a handful of profiles of families that are struggling to feed themselves and those who are trying to help them put food on the table. The film also examines the politics behind starvation and how an antiquated welfare system is in desperate need of a retrofit. It doesn’t have a lot of answers, but it is a nice introduction to a conversation that needs to continue.
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III
2 out of 5 Stars
Director • Roman Coppola
Starring • Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray
Rated • R
Recommended to • Those looking for a less-than-adequate Wes Anderson film by Anderson’s frequent collaborator Roman Coppola.
Charles Swan III (Charlie Sheen) is an insufferable graphic designer spiraling through a mid-life crisis after his latest girlfriend leaves him.
Roman Coppola’s second feature film is a mixed bag. Essentially Coppola is offering a look into the mind of an artist and the strange way that inspiration mixes with reality to form a strange cocktail of fantasy and paranoia. It reminds me of Michael Gondry’s “The Science of Sleep,” only darker and far less enjoyable. This is mostly due to the portrayal of the central character as self-absorbed hack who may have once been a creative genius but has since disintegrated into a disagreeable old man. Not that the film’s lack of appeal should be blamed on Sheen. He is playing the character, which is essentially a version of his own persona, as well as can be expected, but the script makes him too unsympathetic to root for. You simply, like his ex-girlfriend, grow quickly tired of his presence. Thankfully the supporting cast, which includes Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Patricia Arquette, Katheryn Winnick, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aubrey Plaza, keeps the film from being a complete waste of 90 minutes.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)