Silver Screen: The Score Card, March 1, 2012 Edition

Silver Screen: The Score Card, March 1, 2012 Edition
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Silver Screen: Confidence Man: The Hugh DeNeal Story Is Stranger than Fiction
Silver Screen: Hereafter *
Silver Screen: Machete **
Silver Screen: Saw VII 3D Zero Stars
Silver Screen: Takers *1/2
Silver Screen: 127 Hours ****
Silver Screen: A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas ***
Silver Screen: Bad Teacher ***
Silver Screen: Battle: Los Angeles **
Big Muddy Film Festival 33
Silver Screen: Black Swan ****
Silver Screen: Blue Valentine ****
Silver Screen: Breaking Dawn Part I *1/2
Silver Screen: Bridesmaids ****
Silver Screen: Captain America **
Silver Screen: Cars II *1/2
Silver Screen: Case Thirty-nine *
Silver Screen: Cedar Rapids ****
Silver Screen: Charlie Saint Cloud **
Silver Screen: Chronicle ****
Silver Screen: Contagion ****1/2
Silver Screen: Contraband *
Silver Screen: Cowboys & Aliens ***
Silver Screen: Crazy, Stupid, Love **
Silver Screen: Despicable Me **1/2
Silver Screen: Devil ***
Silver Screen: Dinner for Schmucks *1/2
Silver Screen: Director Rusty Nails Presents... Dead On: The Life and Cinema of George A. Romero
Silver Screen: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark **
Silver Screen: Dream House *1/2
Silver Screen: Drive ****1/2
Silver Screen: Drive Angry 3D **1/2
Silver Screen: Due Date ***1/2
Silver Screen: Easy A ***1/2
Silver Screen: Eat Pray Love ***
Silver Screen: Fast Five **1/2
Silver Screen: Fifty/Fifty ****
Silver Screen: Final Destination V **
Silver Screen: Friends with Benefits **
Silver Screen: Fright Night ***
Silver Screen: Get Him to the Greek ***
Silver Screen: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 1/2*
Silver Screen: Going the Distance ***
Silver Screen: Gone **1/2
Silver Screen: Green Lantern *1/2
Silver Screen: Grown Ups *
Silver Screen: Hall Pass *1/2
Silver Screen: Hanna ****
Silver Screen: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II ****
Silver Screen: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I ***
Silver Screen: Haywire ***1/2
Silver Screen: Horrible Bosses **1/2
Silver Screen: How Do You Know ***
Silver Screen: I Am Number Four *
Silver Screen: In Time **1/2
Silver Screen: Inception ****1/2
Silver Screen: Insidious ***1/2
Silver Screen: J. Edgar **
Silver Screen: Jack and Jill 1/2*
Silver Screen: Jackass 3D **1/2
Silver Screen: Jonah Hex *
Silver Screen: Josh Hyde’s Postcards and Love Letters
Silver Screen: Just Go with It *
Silver Screen: Killer Elite **
Silver Screen: Killer Elite **
Silver Screen: Knight and Day *1/2
Silver Screen: Kung Fu Panda II ***
Silver Screen: Larry Crowne *1/2
Silver Screen: Let Me In ***
Silver Screen: Life as We Know It *1/2
Silver Screen: Limitless ***
Silver Screen: Megamind ***1/2
Silver Screen: Midnight in Paris ****
Silver Screen: Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol ****
Silver Screen: Moneyball ***1/2
Silver Screen: My Soul to Take 3D 1/2*
Silver Screen: New Year’s Eve *
Silver Screen: No Strings Attached ***
Silver Screen: One Day **
Silver Screen: Our Idiot Brother ***
Silver Screen: Paranormal Activity II ***1/2
Silver Screen: Paranormal Activity III ***1/2
Silver Screen: Paul ***1/2
Silver Screen: Piranha 3D ***1/2
Silver Screen: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides *1/2
Silver Screen: Predators ***
Silver Screen: Priest 1/2*
Silver Screen: Real Steel *
Silver Screen: Red ***
Silver Screen: Red Tails **
Silver Screen: Rise of the Planet of the Apes ****
Silver Screen: Safe House ***
Silver Screen: Salt ***
Silver Screen: Scott Pilgrim versus the World ***1/2
Silver Screen: Scream IV *
Silver Screen: Sex and the City II 1/2*
Silver Screen: Shaft and Coffy: Novotny Lawrence Discusses the Blaxploitation Movement
Silver Screen: Shark Night 3D 1/2* -- Apollo 18 **
Silver Screen: Skyline *
Silver Screen: Soldiers Speak Out: Carbondale Oscar Winner Barb Trent’s Latest Film
Silver Screen: Something Borrowed *
Silver Screen: Source Code ****1/2
Silver Screen: Splice ****
Silver Screen: Straw Dogs *1/2
Silver Screen: Straw Dogs *1/2
Silver Screen: Super Eight ****
Silver Screen: The A-Team **1/2
Silver Screen: The Academy Honors... The Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale
Silver Screen: The Adjustment Bureau *1/2
Silver Screen: The American ****
Silver Screen: The Audubon Trilogy: Fugitive Narratives and the Drama of the Natural World
Silver Screen: The Big Muddy Film Festival
Silver Screen: The Big Year *1/2
Silver Screen: The Boys and Girls Club Night at the Oscars
Silver Screen: The Debt ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Descendants ****1/2
Silver Screen: The Dilemma *1/2
Silver Screen: The Expendables **1/2
Silver Screen: The Fighter ****
Silver Screen: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo *
Silver Screen: The Green Hornet **1/2
Silver Screen: The Hangover Part II **1/2
Silver Screen: The Ides of March ****
Silver Screen: The Karate Kid ***
Silver Screen: The Karate Kid ***
Silver Screen: The King's Speech ****
Silver Screen: The Last Airbender *
Silver Screen: The Last Exorcism ***
Silver Screen: The Lincoln Lawyer ***
Silver Screen: The Mechanic **1/2
Silver Screen: The Next Three Days ***
Silver Screen: The Other Guys ***
Silver Screen: The Rite *
Silver Screen: The Roommate *1/2
Silver Screen: The Rum Diary ***
Silver Screen: The Score Card , February 24, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card , February 3, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card , March 31, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card , September 16, 2010 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card August 19, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card August 26, 2010 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card September 9, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, April 14, 2011 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card, December 1, 2011 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card, December 16, 2010 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card, December 8, 2011 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card, February 10, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, February 16, 2012 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card, February 2, 2012 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, February 23, 2012 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, February 9, 2012 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, January 12, 2011 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card, January 19, 2012 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card, November 11, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, November 17, 2011 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card, November 4, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 06, 2011 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 20, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 21, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 27, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 28, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 7, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 01, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 15, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 22, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 29, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 8, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 01, 2020 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 15, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 22, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 29, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard June 10, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard June 17, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard June 24, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Sitter ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Social Network ****1/2
Silver Screen: The Sorcerer's Apprentice **
Silver Screen: The Thing **1/2
Silver Screen: The Tourist **
Silver Screen: The Town ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Tree of Life *****
Silver Screen: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse *1/2
Silver Screen: The Vow **
Silver Screen: The Woman in Black **
Silver Screen: Thirty Minutes or Less ***1/2
Silver Screen: Thor ***
Silver Screen: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy ***1/2
Silver Screen: Tower Heist ***
Silver Screen: Toy Story III ****
Silver Screen: Transformers: Dark of the Moon *1/2
Silver Screen: True Grit ****1/2
Silver Screen: Unknown ***
Silver Screen: Unstoppable **
Silver Screen: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps ****
Silver Screen: Wanderlust ***1/2
Silver Screen: War Horse **
Silver Screen: Water for Elephants ***
Silver Screen: We Bought a Zoo ****
Silver Screen: X-Men: First Class ***
Silver Screen: Your Highness ***1/2
Silver Screen: Zookeeper *


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Silver Screen: The Score Card, March 1, 2012 Edition
Bryan Miller

> Opening this week (Friday unless otherwise noted).

< Leaving Carbondale this Friday.

by Bryan Miller unless otherwise credited.

< Chronicle (PG-13, ****): Director Sam Trank and screenwriter Sam Landis, each just twenty-six years old, make their feature-film debuts with this impressive genre mashup that is undeniably Cloverfield with superheroes, but is also a really sharply executed, character-driven Cloverfield with superheroes. Dane DeHaan stars as a camera-crazy loner struggling with a sick mother and abusive father. When he and two other students (Alex Russell and The Wire’s Michael B. Jordan) stumble onto a mysterious object that grants them great powers, they film their progress as emergent superhumans. Fun and games give way to mounting terror as DeHaan’s tormented teen begins to give himself over to his darkest impulses. The found-footage gimmick works brilliantly here, giving the first hour a level of real intimacy that makes the bangup climax play even bigger and crazier. These might not be new ideas, but it’s a hell of a remix.

The Descendants (R, ****1/2): George Clooney leads a phenomenal ensemble cast in this deeply affecting dramedy about a land baron (Clooney) struggling to maintain his family's historic legacy at the same time his wife, lingering in a coma, nears death. Clooney's ace businessman must reconnect with his estranged children (Amara Miller and the exceptional Shailene Woodley) and find a way to cope with a loss that stubbornly continues to unfold even as it seems to end. Yet despite the morose plot, director Alexander Payne's latest film is a deft blend of humor and sadness that finds sympathy with all of its characters, no matter how dubious they seem. A script dense with stirring and revelatory character interactions unfolds at a meditative pace, highlighted with great performances all around. This is a rare treat, a beautiful-looking studio film featuring standout performances from big stars that truly resonates. One of 2011’s best.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (PG-13, 1/2*): Not only is the sequel to the godawful first Ghost Rider film completely improbable, it's much, much worse. Crank writer/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Tailor amp the already giddily stupid franchise up to eleven and in the process make one of the most simplistic yet blazingly incomprehensible movies in years. Like a screaming child, it draws attention, but only in all the wrong ways. Yet again Cage is a former stuntman possessed by a demon spirit who rides a flaming motorcycle and dispenses justice, and he's still battling the devil (now played by Ciará n Hinds), this time specifically attempting to keep Satan from reincarnating in the body of a young boy. This is just about as bad as it gets. In 2D and 3D.

Gone (PG-13, **1/2): Amanda Seyfried stars as a young woman traumatized by an encounter with a serial killer who kidnapped her and kept her in a hole in the woods for one long night before she escaped. Two years later, the police have still found no evidence to support her incredible story-- and then her sister goes missing. Convinced the killer has come back for her, she launches a one-woman search to prove she's not crazy. It's a cool concept for a thriller, and director Heitor Dhalia and screenwriter Allison Burnett nearly make it work, crafting sympathetic characters and building real tension for the first hour or so. Alas, an exceptionally weak climax deflates the film and renders it not so much bad as entirely forgettable. Featuring Wes Bentley and Jennifer Carpenter.

Safe House (R, ***): Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds square off against one another in this thriller in which a low-level CIA agent (Reynolds) becomes entangled with a notorious traitor (Washington) who allows himself to be captured in order to evade mercenaries. Reynolds’s uncertain rookie must keep Washington’s calculating killer alive but still in custody, requiring an uneasy alliance. The battle of wits is the real fun here, with both actors bringing plenty to their respective roles. But once the action breaks out of the claustrophobic title location the tension lets up and Safe House becomes just another action flick, albeit a decent one. Featuring Brendan Gleeson, Vera Farmiga, and Sam Shepard.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D (PG, *): Recall the excitement you felt just before the release of the first Star Wars prequel, after George Lucas turned nerddom upside down with his announcement that one of the most beloved franchises of all time would get three more installments? Now recall the crushing disappointment you felt after sitting through that first, dismal, two-and-a-half-hour experience full of wooden acting, dull plot machinations, and uninspiring computer effects, where we learned the not-so-exciting backstory of the future Darth Vader. You can relieve that feeling again, now enhanced through the magic of 3D. It’s like the failure is coming right out of the screen. Featuring Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, and Jake Lloyd. Remember Jake Lloyd?

The Vow (PG-13, **): It's tough to believe Nicholas Sparks didn't pen this cloying, cliché -riddled romantic weepie about a couple separated by tragic circumstances. After a car accident robs her of the last several years of her memory, a free-spirited artist (Rachel McAdams) struggles to rekindle her relationship with her husband (Channing Tatum) despite interference from her cartoonishly villainous, WASPy parents (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange). The basic premise is a decent one, but the committee-written script steadfastly avoids originality and subtlety at every turn in favor of melodrama and pathos, making this grind of a chick flick something you'll be eager to forget.

Wanderlust (R, ***1/2): Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston star as displaced Manhattanites who cast off in search for a new way of living and wind up on a hippie commune founded by aging acid freak Alan Alda and led by goofball guru Justin Theroux. They try to make a new life for themselves but discover that dropping out comes with its own perils. The film, directed and cowritten by David Wain with his regular collaborator Ken Marino, never really answers the significant questions it poses, but it's consistently hilarious, packed with great lines and powered by fantastic performances from Theroux, Alda, Rudd, Marino, and supporting players Joe Lo Truglio and Kathryn Hahn. It's an ace ensemble working off a great script on a production helmed by a guy who seems incapable of being unfunny-- Wain's previous films include the cult classic Wet Hot American Summer, the vastly underrated anthology film The Ten, and the more conventional but hilarious Role Models.

< The Woman in Black (PG-13, **): Achingly dull ghost story in which a bereaved lawyer (Daniel Radcliffe in his first post-Potter role) is sent to a distant country estate to sort through legal papers, only to encounter the black-clad spirit the townspeople believe has claimed the lives of their children. Director James Watkins’s film is heavy on atmospherics, so much so that it’s really just a bunch of atmosphere filling out a spindly plot far too familiar from just about every ghost story you’ve ever seen. Radcliffe is fine and occasionally the movie conjures up a bit of menace, but its short-lived, and the boredom comes rushing back in.

Also in or Coming to Local Theaters

Act of Valor (R): This feature-length military recruiting ad stars active-duty Navy SEALs who span the globe to hunt down a terrorist cell.

The Artist (PG-13): A silent black-and-white film by director Michel Hazanavicius about the dawn of the film industry. Nominated for ten Academy Awards and starring Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, James Cromwell, Missi Pyle, John Goodman, Penelope Ann Miller, and Malcolm McDowell.

> Doctor Seuss's The Lorax (PG): Computer-animated adaptation of Doctor Seuss's environmentalist fable in which the titular creature (voiced by Danny Elfman) must save the beauty of the natural world from the greedy Once-ler (Ed Helms). Featuring the voices of Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, and Betty White, among others. In 2D and 3D.

< The Grey (R): Survivalist thriller from director Joe Carnahan in which badass senior citizen Liam Neeson leads a group of plane-crash victims toward safety through the treacherous wilds of Alaska. And he fights wolves.

The Iron Lady (PG-13): Biopic about the late Margaret Thatcher, starring Meryl Streep as the female British equivalent of Ronald Reagan.

Journey II: The Mysterious Island (PG): Family-friendly sci-fi adventure sequel to the film rather loosely based on Jules Verne’s classic story. The Rock returns as a badass stepdad helping his young charges track down their grandfather (Michael Caine), who knows the location of an island full of deadly wonders. Featuring Vanessa Hudgens, Josh Hutcherson, Luis Guzmá n, and Kristin Davis. In 2D and 3D.

> Project X (R): Comedy in which three teenage friends throw a party that swells to epic proportions.

The Secret World of Arrietty (Kari-gurashi no Arietti) (G): Animated adaptation of Mary Norton’s kids’ book about a family of four-inch-tall people who live in the crevices of a normal-sized human’s home. Featuring the voices of Amy Poehler, Saoirse Ronan, Will Arnett, and Carol Burnett.

This Means War (R): Type-A cutie Reese Witherspoon is romanced by a pair of embattled CIA agents (Chris Pine and Tom Hardy) who will use all the tools at their disposal to win her affection. Featuring Chelsea Handler, directed by McG.

Tyler Perry's Good Deeds (PG-13): In Tyler Perry's latest Tyler Perryfest, writer/producer/director/actor/caterer/key grip Perry stars as a high-powered businessman who learns redemptive lessons about family and stuff when he falls for a struggling single mom (Thandie Newton). Featuring Gabrielle Union and Phylicia Rashad.