Sunday, February 23 2014, 12:36 PM MST
Box Office: Recommended Films For The Week Of February 21 – February 27, 2014
Recommended films showing in Salt Lake City for the week February 21 – 27, 2014
1. The Lego Movie (PG)
2. Her (R)
3. American Hustle (R)
4. Frozen (PG)
5. The Monuments Men (PG-13)
1. The Lego Movie (PG)
2. Frozen (PG)
3. The Book Thief (PG-13)
4. Saving Mr. Banks (PG-13)
5. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (PG)
1. The Past (PG-13)
2. Her (R)
3. 12 Years a Slave (R)
4. Like Father, Like Son (NR)
5. Dallas Buyers Club (R)
New In Theaters This Week:
3 Days to Kill
2 out of 5 Stars
Starring: Kevin Costner, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Recommended To: Fans of Luc Besson’s lesser work, McG devotees and those that want to see Kevin Costner limp his way through an action movie.
Synopsis: Ethan (Kevin Costner), a retired Secret Service Agent dying from cancer, returns to Paris to try and patch things up with his estranged wife and daughter only to be pulled back into service by a mysterious agent promising an experimental drug in exchange for one last mission.
Review: There was a time when a screenplay co-written by Luc Besson (The Professional, La Femme Nikita) was something to be looked forward to. These days his halfhearted efforts occasionally make for shallow entertainment (The Transporter), but more often than not they fail to justify their existence. 3 Days to Kill is a cinematic mess that doesn’t know if it wants to be taken seriously or laughed off the screen as a poor send up of clichéd action films. One half of the film is a sappy drama dedicated to Ethan’s attempts to sweetheart his way back into his daughter’s life. The other half just feels like a goofy action film with cardboard characters and villains with names like "The Wolf" and "The Albino." Amber Heard’s Vivi Delay exists simply to look sexy, drive fast and occasionally shoot Ethan up with a milky fluid. She’d be more mysterious if she wasn’t so ridiculous and painfully useless. Costner, to his credit, isn’t bad; he just isn’t given much to work with. Hailee Steinfeld, who plays the rebellious daughter, is fine, but you have to wonder if her best film will be her first (True Grit).
3 out of 5 Stars
Director: Charlie Stratton
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton, Jessica Lange
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Recommended To: Fans of Émile Zola’s novel Thérèse Raquin with low expectations.
Synopsis: Thérèse Raquin (Elizabeth Olsen), a young and vibrant woman in a loveless marriage to her cousin, finds herself drawn to Laurent (Oscar Isaac), her husband’s co-worker and childhood friend.
Review: Émile Zola’s novel Thérèse Raquin was an intellectual experiment where the famed French author explored various aspects of Galen’s Four Temperaments. Essentially the characters in the story were written to represent one of the four temperaments and their actions would be dictated entirely by the attributes of their assigned temperament. It’s an interesting exercise that makes for a very depressing narrative. The characters are propelled toward their fates with an almost trancelike determination.
Director writer Charlie Stratton’s adaptation is workmanlike. It gets the job done without being too messy about it, but it doesn’t feel entirely inspired. The actors do a fine job with their one-note characters as they shift in and out of the shadows of Florian Hoffmeister's appropriately bleak cinematography. The problem here is that in Stratton’s hands the story is an exercise in darkness with characters that are often impossible to root for. This makes the film equally difficult to appreciate, let alone enjoy.
Like Father, Like Son
4 out of 5 Stars
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Starring: Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, Yôko Maki
Recommended To: Fans of contemporary Japanese drama.
Synopsis: When Ryota and Midori Nonomiya learn that their six-year-old biological son was switched at birth with another child they must decide if blood is more important than familiarity.
Review: Like Father, Like Son explores a variety of parenting themes. The most obvious is ‘nature’ versus ‘nurture.’ What is it that makes a man a father? Is it blood or sweat? The film also explores different kinds of parenting. The Nonomiya family is upper class, rigid, structured and goal driven. The Saiki family, who have been raising their biological son, are simple, free spirited people. While the polar opposite nature of the families could be easily turned into a slapstick comedic affair director/writer Hirokazu Koreeda (Still Walking, Nobody Knows) keeps things firmly grounded in realism. Not that you’ll find yourself bored as the excellent performances and the humorous moments sprinkled throughout keep Like Father, Like Son from becoming a purely intellectual experience.
-Ryan Michael Painter
(2014 Copyright Sinclair Broadcast Group)