Wednesday, August 8 2012, 04:53 PM MDT
Recommended Films May 25-31, 2012
Reviews of this week's new DVD and Blu-ray Releases
by Ryan Painter
1. The Avengers (PG-13)
2. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (PG-13)
3. Undefeated (PG-13)
4. Men In Black III (PG-13)
5. The Five Year Engagement (R)
1. The Pirates! Band of Misfits (PG)
2. The Secret World of Arrietty (G)
3. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (PG)
4. Chimpanzee (G)
5. To the Artic 3D (G)
1. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (PG-13)
2. Footnote (PG)
3. Monsieur Lazhar (PG-13)
4. Undefeated (PG-13)
5. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (PG)
Men In Black III
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director • Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring • Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin
Rated • PG-13
Recommended to • Those that have waited 10 years to cleanse their pallet of “Men in Black II.”
Agent J (Will Smith) travels back in time to the 1960s to keep an alien from altering the course of history by assassinating Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones).
“Men in Black II,” despite coming five years after “Men in Black,” felt like a rushed attempt to make money and lacked the charm that made its predecessor successful.
“Men in Black III” feels like a proper sequel. It isn’t nearly as good as the first film, but it feels less like a gimmick and more like a reunion with old friends.
Maybe the jokes aren’t nearly as fresh as they were the first time around and things to tend to get a little more sentimental than you’d expect, but you leave the theater happy to have reconnected with Agent J, Agent K and their menagerie of aliens.
2 out of 5 Stars
Director • Lawrence Kasdan
Starring • Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline and Dianne Wiest
Rated • PG-13
Recommended to • Those that love movies about people who love dogs.
Beth (Diane Keaton) and Joseph (Kevin Kline) have a dysfunctional marriage that becomes all the more complicated when Joseph loses the dog. As one of the screenwriters of “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” and “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” I owe a great amount of my love for cinema to writer/director Lawrence Kasdan.
So it is with a great amount of sorry that I must report that “Darling Companion” is a boring film that wastes the talents of its all-star cast. Its characters are flat, the story runs in circles and its 103-minute runtime feels closer to 180 minutes.
Initially I simply thought I was the wrong audience for the film but judging by the reaction of my peers (both local and national) it would appear that the film doesn’t appeal to much of anyone.
4 out of 5 Stars
Director • Philippe Farlardeau
Starring • Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nélisse and Émilien Neorn
Rated • PG-13
Recommended to • Fans of intelligent character dramas that focus on the fragility and hidden strength of children.
Bachir Lazhar, an Algerian immigrant secretly mourning the loss of his wife and two children, takes over a grade school class following the suicide of the students’ previous teacher.
What makes “Monsieur Lazhar” a wonderful film is that it isn’t consumed by its weighty themes of loss. Director/writer Philippe Falardeau has made a film that also glimmers with a sense of hope.
It’s not idealized and I suspect that some will react poorly to the film’s realism; particularly it’s bittersweet ending. I personally think that a less realistic ending would undermine the film’s impact.
Sometimes films are for more than escapism. They can teach enlighten minds and give audiences something to think about. That’s exactly what “Monsieur Lazhar” does.