Thursday, July 11 2013, 08:03 AM MDT
Box Office: 4th of July Movie Reviews
By: Ryan Michael Painter
Recommended films showing in Salt Lake City for the week of July 3 – July 4, 2013
1. Man of Steel (PG-13)
2. Star Trek Into Darkness (PG-13)
3. The Heat (R)
4. World War Z (PG-13)
5. Now You See Me (PG-13)
1. Monsters University (G)
2. Despicable Me 2 (PG)
3. The Croods (PG)
4. Epic (PG)
5. Oz the Great and Powerful (PG)
1. Before Midnight (R)
2. The Kings of Summer (R)
3. Mud (PG-13)
4. Frances Ha (R)
5. Much Ado About Nothing (PG-13)
The Lone Ranger
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner
Genre: Action, Adventure, Western
Recommended To: Johnny Depp fans, those that enjoyed the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean films and lovers of absurdist action films.
Synopsis: Tonto (Johnny Depp) tells the story of how he came to know John Reid (Armie Hammer) and the early adventures that made them both legends.
Review: Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski have teamed up to make two highly enjoyable films in 2011’s animated classic Rango and 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Unfortunately they also paired for the first two Pirates of the Caribbean sequels with less than remarkable results. I try to always go into a movie optimistic, but the various trailers for The Lone Ranger were fairly unimpressive. I was somewhat worried about Depp’s performance as Tonto and extremely nervous about the absurdity of the action sequences. Would The Lone Ranger be a coherent story or simply a string of outrageous stunts to distract the audience from realizing there wasn’t a plot to be found within the script? Turns out it was a little of both.
There are times when The Lone Ranger works incredibly well as it balances the silliness with a decent storyline. Yes, the film feels more like a Tonto origins story, but it’s an interesting tale that gives purpose to Depp’s eccentric performance.
Unfortunately there are also times when the film strays so far from reality that it feels like a poorly executed Looney Tunes cartoon. These major shifts in tone are incredibly uncomfortable.
I appreciate and applaud that the film tries to address the terrible things that were done to Native Americans. These moments are insightful and occasionally horrific. Sadly, they’re also undercut by the comedic antics that surround them. I realize that The Lone Ranger is an action film and not a historical drama, but a more even tone could have made it an action film with a deeper meaning.
Despicable Me 2
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Directors: Pierre Coffin, Rhris Renaud
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt
Genre: Animated, Comedy
Recommended To: Those that enjoyed the first film and can’t get enough of Gru’s minions.
Synopsis: Having forsaken his evil past Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to save the world from a new criminal mastermind.
Review: Watching criminal mastermind Gru succumb to the charm of the three-orphaned girls made for fantastic entertainment in Despicable Me. Watching Gru fight evil and fall in love with a fellow do-gooder isn’t nearly as enchanting. Despicable Me 2 is a decent sequel; it just lacks the originality of the first film. It relies too heavily on the goofy antics of Gru’s minions for laughs (the two music videos at the end are funny, they just don’t have anything to do with the film itself) and lacks the heart and cuteness of the first movie (the opening party sequence being the only exception). Despicable Me 2 doesn’t disappoint; it just doesn’t set itself apart.
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