Sunday, April 6 2014, 11:41 AM MDT
Box Office: Recommended Films For The Week Of April 4 – April 10, 2014
Recommended films showing in Salt Lake City for the week April 4 - April 10, 2014
1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (PG-13)
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel (R)
3. Noah (PG-13)
4. The Lego Movie (PG)
5. Muppets Most Wanted (PG)
1. Muppets Most Wanted (PG)
2. The Lego Movie (PG)
3. The Wind Rises (PG-13)
4. Mr. Peabody & Sherman (PG)
5. Frozen (PG)
1. The Grand Budapest Hotel (R)
2. The Lunchbox (PG)
3. Bad Words (R)
4. Enemy (R)
5. Cesar Chavez (PG-13)
New In Theaters This Week:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
4 out of 5 Stars
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Recommended To: Anyone looking for an excellent popcorn film packed with action and intelligence.
Synopsis: Still searching for his place in the modern world Captain America (Chris Evans) must team with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to take on a mysterious assassin known as the Winter Soldier.
Review: Captain America: The First Avenger was a delightful surprise and as a result my expectations for The Winter Soldier were probably unreasonably high, particularly when you consider that the Iron Man sequels have failed to live up to the first film. Nonetheless, The Winter Soldier was pretty much everything I could have hoped for as it perfectly balances lighthearted comedy with full throttle action while mixing in a few spy thriller tropes into the narrative. It's smart, but not too brainy, and a whole lot of fun.
The genius of The Winter Soldier is that screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (working from a concept and story by Ed Brubaker) have crafted a story that is all about character dynamics rather than action sequences. There's no shortage of fist fights and shoot outs, but they are secondary to the relationships the characters have with each other and how their opinion of themselves evolves throughout the film. Chris Evans turns in a finely nuanced performance as Captain America struggles to retain his idealistic patriotism in a world dominated by self-interest and backroom politics. Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson also bring more depth to their characters as Nick Fury shows a vulnerable side and Black Widow drops her guard just enough to see what might be the real person behind the metaphorical mask. Robert Redford plays political mastermind Alexander Pierce with a laidback confidence that feels terrifyingly real. He reeks of hidden agendas, but his charisma is overpowering.
The Winter Soldier is a fantastic film that transcends the superhero genre as it examines patriotism in a world that isn't defined in black and white terms while also addressing the timely theme of safety at the cost of freedom. Iron Man might be the box office gem in Marvel's crown, but Captain America is proving to be the soul of the Avengers. Which is, of course, is exactly what he should be.
3 out of 5 Stars
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Recommended To: Those looking for a thriller that could have been engrossing, but was mostly languid and dull.
Synopsis: Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal), a college professor, becomes obsessed with actor Anthony St. Claire (Jake Gyllenhaal), his exact lookalike, after seeing him in a minor role in a film.
Review: There are some interesting themes being explored in Enemy. The title alone implies a certain sense of conflict between Adam and his doppelganger Anthony. The problem is that director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) has made a film that takes opens with a bizarre display of sexuality that recalls Eyes Wide Shut and Irreversible and then plods along in a trancelike state that barely registers a pulse. Enemy should be a mind bending and fascinating experience; a variation on Fight Club if it was written by William S. Burroughs after he digested a dose of Franz Kafka. Villeneuve seems more interested in confusing the viewer and muddying the narrative than actually exploring the story. I haven't read Jose Saramago novel, the film's source material, but I have to believe that it more adequately explored the thoughts that must have haunted Anthony and particularly Adam. We identify ourselves first and foremost by our outward appearance. To discover someone who looked exactly the same would undoubtedly force a person on to a journey of self-rediscovery. Enemy fails to fully capture that voyage. It scrapes at the surface, but never digs in beneath the skin by choosing to simply present Adam and Anthony as foils. It's too simplistic for its own good and feels like a waste of a fascinating concept.
Island of Lemurs: Madagascar
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: David Douglas
Recommended To: Those interested in seeing a beautiful documentary about an animal most of us don't really know anything about.
Synopsis: Dr. Patricia C. Wright is on a mission to protect the remaining lemurs, an endangered animal that came to Madagascar millions of years ago.
Review: I typically love IMAX documentaries. The cinematography is often gorgeous and in recent years the use of 3D has been mind blowing. Island of Lemurs: Madagascar is no different in that regard, but when it comes to the weight of the narrative something seems to be missing. The information, particularly early on in the film, is quite interesting. I knew very little about lemurs going into the film and left the theater with a whole new understanding and appreciation for them as a species. It just wasn't nearly as engrossing as Born to Be Wild or Hubble 3D and is more on par with Under the Sea 3D. Considering the film is only 40 minutes long it's a perfect length for parents looking to introduce their children to animal documentaries.
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Ritesh Batra
Starring: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Genre: Drama, Romance
Recommended To: Those looking for a pleasant foreign film.
Synopsis: Mumbai's lunchbox delivery system is something of legend, but when a lunchbox is inadvertently delivered to the wrong person a lonely housewife and an older withdrawn businessman create a fantasy world together by exchanging lunchbox letters.
Review: I unfortunately missed The Lunchbox at this year's Sundance Film Festival where the general consensus was that the film was a delightful and lighthearted romance that was a pleasant diversion from some of the heavier or edgy films that were in the festival. Those initial impressions feel spot on as the film simply presents a pleasant story filled with warmth and humor. Running beneath the soft exterior is a social critique that explores a person's need for attention and purpose. Ila, the housewife, is desperate for physical and emotional connection while Saajan, the businessman, finds very little to look forward to in his quickly approaching retirement. Their relationship is based upon a need of fulfillment, but it is a fragile friendship built upon fantasy. A temporary oasis that may prove to be only a mirage of what they truly need.
-Ryan Michael Painter
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