Saturday, August 24 2013, 01:15 PM MDT
Box Office: Recommended Films Showing in Salt Lake City for the Week of August 2 to August 8, 2013
Recommended films showing in Salt Lake City for the week of August 2 – August 8, 2013
1. Pacific Rim (PG-13)
2. The Conjuring (R)
3. The Way, Way Back (PG-13)
4. The Wolverine (PG-13)
5. Man of Steel (PG-13)
1. Monsters University (G)
2. Despicable Me 2 (PG)
3. Turbo (PG)
4. The Croods (PG)
5. Epic (PG)
1. Fruitvale Station (R)
2. The Way, Way Back (PG-13)
3. 20 Feet From Stardom (Not Rated)
4. Unfinished Song (PG-13)
5. Much Ado About Nothing (PG-13)
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Blatasar Kormakur
Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Recommended To: Those looking for a B-movie film with A-list actors and a bloated budget.
Synopsis: Bobby (Denzel Washington) and Stig (Mark Wahlberg) plan to rob a small bank frequented by a Mexican drug lord. It’s an easy job with a high payoff that ultimately turns the men against each other.
Review: To say that 2 Guns is devoid of intelligence wouldn’t be fair. It’s essentially a B-movie with graphic novel roots that somehow ended up at a major studio that roped in the likes of Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington, Bill Paxton and Paula Patton to play its major players. Blake Masters’ script is riddled with holes and the occasional cliché, but that’s part of the film’s charm. It does have a nice twist on the usual buddy cop story even if the end results are as formulaic as it gets. 2 Guns isn’t a great piece of cinematic art; it’s a goofy romp that entertains with its over-the-top gunfights, bizarre dialogue and outrageous hijinks.
The Smurfs 2
1.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Raja Gosnell
Starring: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays
Genre: Animated, Comedy, Family
Recommended To: Fans of the first film, but not necessarily fans of the original animated series.
Synopsis: Gargamel kidnaps Smurfette in hopes of learning how to turn two of his new creations, the Smurf-like Naughties, into real Smurfs so he can siphon away their magical abilities.
Review: Really the only thing that made The Smurfs 2 from being completely insufferable was that I knew exactly what I was getting into. The Smurfs had taken one of my favorite (not to mention sentimental) cartoons of my youth and turned it into a film that only a child could love. Of course The Smurfs made massive amounts of money despite being destroyed by critics and merely tolerated by filmgoers over the age of 10. Those that grew up watching the cartoon will find very little familiar in The Smurfs 2. Like the first film, the story is more about Smurfs running amuck in the world of people rather than staying amongst their kind. It does at least keep the classic rivalry between Gargamel and the Smurfs as the central conflict. I’m just convinced at this point that The Smurfs works best as an animated project. Once you try and insert them into a real world the magic isn’t really there.
I’m So Excited
3 out of 5 Stars
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Starring: Javier Camara, Lola Duenas, Cecilia Roth
Recommended To: Fans of Pedro Almodovar’s more lighthearted work.
Synopsis: Forced to abort their flight to Mexico City a flight crew and the first class passengers (everyone else is drugged and asleep in the main cabin) drink their way through fear into numbness with the occasional musical number, a hefty amount of sexual tension and a general absurdity.
Review: Famed Spanish director Pedro Almodovar follows up 2011’s dark sexual thriller The Skin I Live In with the sort of absurdist comedy that John Waters would be proud of (just replace the drag queen with a dominatrix). It’s a wickedly unrestrained, exuberant and vulgar sex comedy wrapped in a candy-coated shell. Which sounds perfectly delicious until you also consider that its plot and characters are shallower and less complex than what audiences have come to expect from a Almodovar film. I suspect that some fans might be somewhat disappointed, but most audiences will get enough of what they’re looking for to be satiated until Almodovar’s next film.
Cockneys vs Zombies
3 out of 5 Stars
Director: Matthias Hoene
Starring: Rasmus Hardiker, Harry Treadaway, Michelle Ryan
Rated: Not Rated
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Recommended To: Those looking for a solid zombie comedy that delivers everything that its title implies.
Synopsis: When a pair of construction workers unearths an ancient tomb they awake the horrors of the slumbering living dead. As chaos spreads across London a group of bumbling thieves neck deep into a robbery scheme must find the courage (they certainly don’t have the brains) to fend off the flesh-hungry monsters.
Review: Cockneys vs Zombies isn’t as funny as Shaun of the Dead or as mind blowing as 28 Days Later but it is still a fine example of solid low-budget filmmaking. Yes, the script is filled with the expected clichés, the acting isn’t particularly noteworthy and some of the special effects and gore is less than convincing. That doesn’t keep the film from being a joyous occasion for zombie buffs. If the title grabs your attention it’s very likely that you’ll enjoy the film. If you’re not into zombie films with a sense of humor you’ll want to look elsewhere.
2 out of 5 Stars
Director: Ronald F. Maxwell
Starring: Francois Arnaud, Lucy Boynton, Casey Thomas
Recommended To: Fans of director Ronald F. Maxwell’s God’s and Generals.
Synopsis: During the American Civil War Northern Democrats that preferred a peace settlement with the Confederate South to war were called Copperheads by pro-war Republicans. Copperheads follows the struggles of a family torn apart by internal strife.
Review: Following up Gettysburg and Gods and Generals director Ronald F. Maxwell continues his ongoing love affair with the civil war with Copperheads. It is a film wrought with sincerity and authenticity. Maxwell is obsessed with accuracy, a compulsion that Hollywood as a whole should embrace. The problem is that he’s so detail orientated that the story suffers.
Copperhead should be an engaging, thought provoking film that helps audiences to explore an interesting aspect of the Civil War that wasn’t taught to them in school. It’s a compelling subject, but the film rambles and drags and feels more like a Hallmark miniseries than a theatrical release. I’d be inclined to blame first-time screenwriter Bill Kuaffman’s adaptation of Harold Frederic’s novel, but the same problems plagued Gods and Generals. It would seem that Maxwell has a talent for making interesting stories more boring than they should be.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)