Movie bits

2013-01-17T18:15:00Z Movie bitsThe Entertainer Corvallis Gazette Times
January 17, 2013 6:15 pm  • 

‘SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK’  — OSCAR NOMINEE

3.5 stars

(Comedy drama, R, 122 minutes, playing at Carmike Cinema 12). Pat (Bradley Cooper) is confident and upbeat for a man just released from a mental hospital and under a restraining order from his wife. He's determined to surprise everyone by moving ever onward and upward. What stage of bipolar disorder would you guess he's in? His parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) are well-meaning but dubious. A prickly neighborhood widow (Jennifer Lawrence) wants to sleep with him and is offended that he's interested only because she's in touch with his ex-wife. This all somehow comes down to intersecting bets about a football game and a ballroom dance contest. Written and directed by David O. Russell. (Roger Ebert, Universal Press Syndicate)

‘BROKEN CITY’

3 stars

(Crime drama, R, 109 minutes, playing at Carmike Cinema 12 and Regal Albany 7 Cinemas) From a lurid and predictable plot, "Broken City" is the sworn enemy of subtle. It's a big, juicy, sometimes clunky, political crime thriller that plays like a 21st-century B-movie. It's also pretty trashy and sometimes stupid. But there's never a moment when you won't be entertained on one level or another. Thanks to a great cast -- Oscar winners Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg and terrific supporting players Barry Pepper, Kyle Chandler, Jeffrey Wright and Griffin Dunne -- you'll have a good time even when the script is breaking bad. (Richard Roeper, Univeral Press Syndicate)

‘MAMA’

3 stars

(Horror, PG-13, 100 minutes, playing at Carmike Cinema 12) A distraught father flees financial scandal by shooting people, grabbing his children and fleeing into the snowy mountains of Virginia. They crash, he drags the innocent little girls to a remote cabin, and just as he is about to finish his horror something happens to him. Five years later searchers finally find the girls, who are feral, non-verbal and skittering around on all fours like rats. Their artist Uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is ready to take them in. Lucas and girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain) try to bring the girls back into the human race. But thanks to whatever kept them alive for five years in the woods, that’s not going to be easy. (By Roger Moore, McClatchy Tribune News)

‘THE HAUNTED HOUSE’

1 star

(Comedy, R, 86 minutes, playing at Carmike Cinema 12) Marlon Wayans stars as Malcolm, a single man about to invite his girlfriend (Essence Atkins) to move in with him — into a haunted house. (Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Daily News)

‘ZERO DARK THIRTY’ — OSCAR NOMINEE

3 stars

(Thriller, R, 157 minutes, playing at Carmike Cinema 12 and Regal Albany 7 Cinemas) Two hours of watching a loner female CIA strategist who knows she is right — and the payoff that she is. Jessica Chastain stars as Maya, who was right all along, providing the film with a timely heroine. Lots of murky action in the big capture and death, but lacking the split-second timing and relentless action of director Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker." These characters are less compelling, and the outcome less meaningful. (Roger Ebert, Universal Press Syndicate)

‘THE IMPOSSIBLE’

4 stars

(Drama, PG-13, 114 minutes, playing at Carmike Cinema 12) The tsunami that devastated the Pacific Basin in the winter of 2004 remains one of the worst natural disasters in history. We were in Europe when it struck, and we sat mesmerized, watching the news on TV -- again and again, that towering wall of water looming from the sea, tossing trucks, buses and its helpless victims aside. Surely this was a blow from hell. In this terrifying triumph of special effects, Juan Antonio Bayona's film becomes a powerful story of a family's cohesive strength. With Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor and Tom Holland. One of the best films of 2012. (Roger Ebert, Universal Press Syndicate)

‘BROOKLYN CASTLE’

3.5 stars

(Documentary, PG, 101 minutes, playing at Darkside Cinema) An inspiring documentary covering two years in the history of a chess team from a poverty-level junior high school that (after the film completed production) became the first middle school team to win the U.S. Chess Federation's national high school championship. We meet inspiring teachers, we see the shadow of threatened budget cuts, and one team member approaches her dream of becoming the first female African-American grandmaster in U.S. history. (Roger Ebert, Universal Press Syndicate)

‘GANGSTER SQUAD’

3 stars

(Action, R, 110 minutes, playing at Regal Ninth Street 4 Cinemas and Regal Albany 7 Cinemas) “Gangster Squad” is a gang-war drama built on Western conventions, a rootin’ tootin’, Camel-smokin’, whiskey swillin’ shoot-’em-up about a lawless period in L.A.’s history when a small cadre of cops (Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling), working outside the law, took on Mob boss Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) in a fight for “the soul of Los Angeles.” (Roger Moore,McClatchy-Tribune News Service)

‘THE LONELIEST PLANET’

2 stars

(Drama, not rated, 113 minutes, playing at Darkside Cinema) A couple who will get married soon takes a backpacking hike over the trails of the Caucasus Mountains in the eastern European republic of Georgia. Not a dangerous adventure, more of a long slog, with director Julia Loktev pulling back for long shots and watching them plodding for long periods. Their local guide has a vaguely ominous way. Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Hani Furstenberg and Bidzina Gujabidze. We're given no particular reason at the outset to care about these people, our interest doesn't grow along the way, and the film grows tiresome. (Roger Ebert, Universal Press Syndicate)

‘PARENTAL GUIDANCE’

2 stars

(Comedy, PG, 105 minutes, playing at Regal Ninth Street 4 Cinemas and Regal Albany 7 Cinemas) Billy Crystal and Bette Midler portray the less-popular “other grandparents” to the three children of their only daughter, played by Marisa Tomei. Tomei and her husbang (Tom Everett Scott) reluctantly call upon Midler and Crystal to watch their kids so the younger couple can take a trip away together. The children's highly regimented lifestyles immediately begin to fall apart upon the arrival of their new temp caretakers. (Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times)

‘LES MISERABLES’ — OSCAR NOMINEE

2.5 stars

(Musical drama, PG-13. 158 minutes playing at Regal Ninth Street 4 Cinemas, Rio Theatre and the Pix Theatre) Tom Hooper’s extravaganza, big-screen telling of the beloved musical “Les Miserables’’ is as relentlessly driven as the ruthless Inspector Javert himself. It simply will not let up until you’ve Felt Something — powerfully and repeatedly — until you’ve touched the grime and smelled the squalor and cried a few tears of your own. (Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic)

’DJANGO UNCHAINED’ — OSCAR NOMINEE

2 stars

(Drama, R, running time 165 minutes, playing at Regal Ninth Street 4 Cinemas) In Quentin Tarantino’s new tale of wickedly savage retribution, a black man (Jamie Foxx) gets to rewrite Deep South history by becoming a bounty hunter on a killing spree of white slave owners and overseers just before the Civil War. Granted, there’s something gleefully satisfying in watching evil people get what they have coming. But the film is Tarantino at his most puerile and least inventive, the premise offering little more than cold, nasty revenge and barrels of squishing, squirting blood. (Guy Germain, AP movie writer)

‘THIS IS 40’

2.5 stars

(Comedy, R, 134 minutes, playing at Regal Albany 7 Cinemas) “This Is 40” is a sequel of sorts to “Knocked Up,” focusing on married couple Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann). It’s five years later and Pete and Debbie, both of whom have their 40th birthdays approaching, are in the midst of a mid-life crisis. The small indie record label Pete owns is struggling, Debbie’s clothing store seems to be doing only marginally better (and one of the employees is a thief), they’ve got two headstrong daughters to raise (played by Apatow’s real-life daughters), and the fire that once provided the heat to their marriage has been reduced to a flickering flame. (Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

‘JACK REACHER’

2.5 stars

(Action-thriller, PG-13, 130 minutes, playing at Carmike Cinema 12 and Regal Albany 7 Cinemas) Based on Lee Child’s novel “One Shot,” “Jack Reacher” is about an Iraq War sniper accused of mowing down a crowd of people in Pittsburgh. Reacher (Tom Cruise), as is his way, just shows up, “summoned” because of a connection with this sniper who snapped, first in Iraq and now, apparently, in Pittsburgh. He offers not to help, but to “bury this guy.” (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service)

‘THE HOBBIT’

2.5 stars

(Action-adventure, PG-13, 169 minutes playing at Carmike Cinema 12 and Regal Albany 7 Cinemas) A hobbit, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), leaves the comforts of hearth and home to join with a band of dwarves, other denizens of the fantastical Middle Earth, to save their land from the clutches of evil — all under the watchful eye of the good wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen). At first, Bilbo seems an unlikely choice as one of the Middle Earth supergroup put together to defeat the dragon Smaug and restore the stout-hearted dwarves to their rightful ancestral home. But Bilbo, much like his nephew Frodo years later in “The Lord of the Rings,” ends up proving his worth, finding bravery deep in the heart of fear. (Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

‘CHASING ICE’

3 stars

(Documentary, PG-13, 76 minutes, playing at Darkside Cinema) Heart-stopping in its coverage of the brave and risky attempt by a scientist named James Balog and his team of researchers on the Extreme Ice Survey, where “extreme” refers to their efforts almost more than to the ice. During repeated expeditions to Greenland, Iceland, Alaska and Montana, the team took stop-motion cameras and anchored them in place. We see glaciers retreating from ice mountains to expose the rock they rest on. One glacier loses the height in ice of the Empire State Building. (Roger Ebert, Universal Press Syndicate)

‘THE SESSIONS’

3.5 stars

(Drama, R, 95 minutes, playing at Darkside Cinema) Mark (John Hawkes) is 38 years old and after contracting polio, he has spent most of those years in an iron lung. He believes his time is running out. He would like to experience sexual intercourse with a woman at least once before he dies. He contacts Cheryl (Helen Hunt), a sex surrogate who explains the ground rules to Mark: They will have six meetings, no more. They are not working together in order to fall in love, but to achieve a specific physical purpose. She is kind and tactful, and so is Mark’s parish priest (William H. Macy), who guides him with compassion through this process. Astonishing performances, and not without humor. (Roger Ebert, Universal Press Syndicate)

‘LIFE OF PI’ — OSCAR NOMINEE

4 stars

(Fantasy, PG, 125 minutes, playing at Carmike Cinema and Kuhn Cinema) A miraculous achievement of storytelling and a landmark of visual mastery. Inspired by a worldwide best-seller that seemed unfilmable, it is a triumph over its difficulties. It is also a moving spiritual achievement, a movie whose title could have been shortened to “Life.” The story involves the 227 days that its teenage hero (Suraj Sharma) spends drifting across the Pacific in the same lifeboat as a Bengal tiger. The movie quietly combines various religious traditions to enfold its story in the wonder of life. How remarkable that these two mammals, and the fish beneath them and birds above them, are all here. One of the year’s best. (Roger Ebert, Universal Press Syndicate)

‘LINCOLN’ — OSCAR NOMINEE

4 stars

(Drama, PG-13, 149 minutes, playing at Carmike Cinema 12) Steven Spielberg’s new film focuses on only a few months of Lincoln’s life, including the passage of the 13th Amendment ending slavery, the surrender of the Confederacy and his assassination. Rarely has a film attended more carefully to the details of politics. Daniel Day-Lewis creates a Lincoln who is calmly self-confident, patient and willing to play politics in a realistic way. Not about an icon of history, but about a president who was scorned by some of his opponents as a hayseed from the backwoods. He understood them better than they did him. Sure to win many Academy Award nominations. (Roger Ebert, Universal Press Syndicate)

‘ARGO’ — OSCAR NOMINEE

4 stars

(Drama, R, 120 minutes, playing at Regal Ninth Street 4 Cinemas) Ben Affleck directs and stars in the incredible true story of how, at the height of the Iranian hostage crisis, a CIA agent and a couple of Hollywood professionals dreamed up a cockamamie scheme to free six Americans who were not being held in the American Embassy but had found refuge with the Canadian Embassy. Kept top secret for 18 years, the operation created a fake sci-fi production named “Argo,” convinced the Iranians it was real and used it to spirit the Americans out of the country. With lots of tension and also some humor from John Goodman and Alan Arkin as the Hollywood pros involved. (Roger Ebert, Universal Press Syndicate)

WRECK-IT RALPH’

3.5 stars

(Animation, PG, 98 minutes, playing at Carmike Cinema 12) John C. Reilly is the voice of Ralph, a beast in a Donkey Kong-like kiddie game titled “Fix-It Felix.” Felix (Jack McBrayer) repairs this wonderful apartment building for all his friends, the tenants, to live in; the hulking Ralph wrecks it. Although this has been going on for decades, Ralph wants to find his way to a game where he can be the hero, win the “medal” and become beloved. (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service)

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