Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 6, 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: 21 Jump Street ***
Silver Screen: A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas ***
Silver Screen: American Reunion **1/2
Silver Screen: Bad Teacher ***
Silver Screen: Battle: Los Angeles **
Silver Screen: Battleship *
Silver Screen: Bernie ****
Big Muddy Film Festival 33
Silver Screen: Black Swan ****
Silver Screen: Blue Valentine ****
Silver Screen: Brave ***
Silver Screen: Breaking Dawn Part I *1/2
Silver Screen: Bridesmaids ****
Silver Screen: Bully **
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: Chernobyl Diaries *
Silver Screen: Chronicle ****
Silver Screen: Contagion ****1/2
Silver Screen: Contraband *
Silver Screen: Cowboys & Aliens ***
Silver Screen: Crazy, Stupid, Love **
Silver Screen: Dark Shadows *1/2
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: Hit and Run ***
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: Jeff, Who Lives at Home ***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: Lawless ****
Silver Screen: Let Me In ***
Silver Screen: Life as We Know It *1/2
Silver Screen: Limitless ***
Silver Screen: Lockout **
Silver Screen: Megamind ***1/2
Silver Screen: Men in Black III *1/2
Silver Screen: Midnight in Paris ****
Silver Screen: Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol ****
Silver Screen: Moneyball ***1/2
Silver Screen: Moonrise Kingdom ****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: ParaNorman ***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: Premium Rush ***
Silver Screen: Priest 1/2*
Silver Screen: Project X 1/2*
Silver Screen: Prometheus ***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 ***
Silver Screen: Safe House ***
Silver Screen: Salt ***
Silver Screen: Savages ***1/2
Silver Screen: Scott Pilgrim versus the World ***1/2
Silver Screen: Scream IV *
Silver Screen: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World **1/2
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: Silent House **1/2
Silver Screen: Skyline *
Silver Screen: Snow White and the Huntsman **1/2
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: Ted ***1/2
Silver Screen: That's My Boy *
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 Amazing Spider-Man **1/2
Silver Screen: The American ****
Silver Screen: The Artist ****
Silver Screen: The Audubon Trilogy: Fugitive Narratives and the Drama of the Natural World
Silver Screen: The Avengers ****
Silver Screen: The Big Muddy Film Festival
Silver Screen: The Big Year *1/2
Silver Screen: The Bourne Legacy ***
Silver Screen: The Boys and Girls Club Night at the Oscars
Silver Screen: The Campaign ***
Silver Screen: The Dark Knight Rises ***
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 Expendables II *1/2
Silver Screen: The Fighter ****
Silver Screen: The Five-Year Engagement ***1/2
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 Hunger Games ***
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 Lucky One *1/2
Silver Screen: The Mechanic **1/2
Silver Screen: The Next Three Days ***
Silver Screen: The Other Guys ***
Silver Screen: The Raven *
Silver Screen: The Rite *
Silver Screen: The Roommate *1/2
Silver Screen: The Rum Diary ***
Silver Screen: The Score Card , February 24, 2011 Edition
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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 Three Stooges ***
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 Watch **
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: To Rome with Love ***1/2
Silver Screen: Total Recall **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: Wrath of the Titans 1/2*
Silver Screen: X-Men: First Class ***
Silver Screen: Your Highness ***1/2
Silver Screen: Zookeeper *


Who:
What:
Where:
When:
Pictured: The Words.
Bryan Miller

> Opening this week (Friday unless otherwise noted).

< Leaving Carbondale this Friday.

For more film reviews and capsules, see the Nightlife section of

<http://www.CarbondaleRocks.com>.

by Bryan Miller unless otherwise credited.

The Avengers (PG-13, ****): Six prequel films’ worth of setup climax in what is undeniably the biggest superhero movie ever made, with an ensemble played by Hollywood’s top stars. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Scarlett Johansson reprise their roles from earlier blockbusters, while Jeremy Renner is introduced as marksman Hawkeye, and Mark Ruffalo steps into the role of the Hulk. Impressively, director and cowriter Joss Whedon manages to orchestrate all this chaos and make the story semi-intelligible to boot-- something about a magic gizmo that will allow aliens to come kill us all. Whedon nicely balances the interpersonal drama among the egotistical titans with big effects sequences so that the characters don’t get too lost in the massive scope of the movie. Whedon’s quippy dialogue and some fun performances, especially from Downey Jr. and Ruffalo, keep the film as light and zany as the comic books on which it’s based. In 2D only.

The Bourne Legacy (PG-13, ***): The oddball experiment of making a Bourne movie without Bourne proves even more troublesome when series writer Tony Gilroy, now in the director's chair, turns new hero Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) into a genetically enhanced agent, a literal superspy, and shifts away from espionage and toward superheroics, as though the summer box office needs more superhero movies. When Cross is targeted for elimination following the public debacle of the Bourne situation, he absconds with the scientist who made him super (Rachel Weisz) to try and sever ties for good between himself and the generically evil bureaucrats who run the program (Edward Norton, Stacy Keach, Scott Glenn). The action sequences lack the verve that made the originals so thrilling, and the plot, while passable, seems unlikely to have been made if not for the Bourne affiliation-- a connection that turns out to be negligible at best.

Brave (PG, ***): Pixar’s latest is perfectly adequate but not up to their own high standards. Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) is a flame-haired princess eager to buck tradition and shirk her responsibility to be partnered in an arranged marriage. She meets a witch, makes a wish, and it backfires. What follows is both silly and predictable, with an anthropomorphic bear standing in during all the mother-daughter scenes that are supposed to form the emotional core. Neither the action nor the jokes work especially well, although the animation and visual aesthetic are astounding, especially with 3D to lend depth to the intricate backgrounds. It’s handsomely adorned but uninspired; great for kids and passable for adults, which is a big step down from Pixar’s usual demographic transcendence. Bolstered by nice vociework from Emma Thompson and, of course, Billy Connolly and Craig Ferguson, who should be (and probably are) required casting for any Scottish-themed cartoon. In 2D only.

The Campaign (R, ***): This election comedy costarring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis is benignly funny enough, but it seriously lapses when it attempts to stretch into satire. Ferrell’s vacuous, pandering congressman has always run unopposed, until a pair of billionaire industrialists (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) prop up a local numbskull (Galifianakis) to run against him, beginning a brutal, spite-filled election process that turns both men into the worst versions of themselves. The two leads keep it interesting, but its blunt attempts at insightful commentary are no more effective than those of similarly forgettable campaign comedies like Head of State, Man of the Year, and Welcome to Mooseport.

The Dark Knight Rises (PG-13, ***): Christopher Nolan concludes his Batman trilogy with this overlong, morose installment that stingily deals out spectacular action sequences amid a slog of exposition and needless subplots. Eight years after the events of the last film, a retired Batman (Christian Bale) must put the suit back on to stop masked terrorist leader Bane (Tom Hardy), who uses class-war rhetoric to exploit Gotham's restless underclass to help him hatch a deadly plot. Batman fights back with help from a sexy jewel thief (Anne Hathaway), the ever-faithful Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), and a dedicated cop (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) inspired by the caped crusader. There are some cool concepts and beautiful scenes here, but they're lost in a mush of stilted dialogue, superfluous characters, and ponderous speeches, artfully rendered but no damn fun at all.

The Expendables II (R, *1/2): The first Expendables was more appealing in theory than practice-- two decades’ worth of action icons crammed into one old-school shoot ‘em up!-- but its gleeful audacity gave it a bit of nostalgic charm. Not so for this rehash, which grimly demonstrates why the 1980s standard of having a hero mindlessly pump endless rounds into nameless foreign people is not only morally dubious, it’s dull in comparison with stunt-driven, kinetic modern-day action. Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham lead a team of badasses into a fake eastern European country to avenge the death of their youngest team member, because apparently the team name is not meant to be taken literally. Jean-Claude Van Damme awkwardly says bad-guy lines while Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Jet Li, and Randy Couture return; Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger step up their roles; and the never-cool Chuck Norris joins the fray. It’s a showcase of the worst actors of a generation.

Hit and Run (R, ***): Writer, producer, and codirector Dax Shepard not only stars in this car-chase caper comedy, he cast real-life girlfriend Kristen Bell as the romantic lead and loaned his personal collection of race cars and souped-up roadsters to the production. The result could be considered a vanity project, but if so, it’s an entertaining one. Think Cannonball Run by way of Elmore Leonard. Shepard’s reformed wheelman is just trying to get his girlfriend to L.A. for a job interview when the former partners he testified against (including a wildly miscast Bradley Cooper) come calling for revenge. It’s an absolutely frivolous movie, but it’s fun, with a script that surprisingly works best in the slower, character-driven moments. Shepard and Bell’s chemistry translates well to the screen, and their banter makes for the strongest moments in the movie.

Lawless (R , ****): Director John Hillcoat reteams with his Proposition screenwriter Nick Cave for this neo-Western about backwoods bootleggers in the days of Prohibition. The three Bondurant brothers (Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke, and Shia LeBeouf) refuse to allow their illegal liquor business to be overseen by a corrupt cop (an over-the-top Guy Pearce), launching a bloody conflict that threatens everyone in the county. It's a more conventional, plot-driven movie than The Proposition, but it's similarly potent and gritty. Hillcoat seems to be stretching to imitate the visual poetry of Terrence Malick, and he's not altogether unsuccessful, crafting some beautiful images that nicely complement Cave’s punchy, pulpy script. Alas, it's a man's movie in the style of Sam Peckinpah for better and for worse, which means Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska are relegating to playing damsels.

ParaNorman (PG , ***1/2): The charming, slightly creepy stop-motion-animated comedy from the producers of Coraline lacks the goth street cred of a Neil Gaiman or a Tim Burton, but codirectors Chris Butler and Sam Fell have still made an awfully entertaining family film. The eponymous Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is an outcast for his alleged ability to speak to the dead, but that becomes a major asset when his small town is overrun with zombies and placed under a witch's curse. It's more an macabre adventure tale à la Monster House than gothic, Gorey-inspired fare like Corpse Bride, but the jokes, though reliant on slapstick, are funny, and the visual gags are abundant. Kids will dig it, but it's entertaining enough you needn't bring them along to justify going. In 2D and 3D.

Premium Rush (PG-13, ***): This fast-paced action flick based on the wild world of New York City bike messengers is as of-the-moment as adulatory looks at 1980s subcultures like Rad, Thrashin’, and Gleaming the Cube, which is to say it’s almost certain to look like a relic a decade hence. But cowriter and director David Koepp keeps it interesting, at least for now, with some kinetic action sequences and a wonderfully villainous performance by Michael Shannon, as cartoonish and bug-eyed crazy as usual. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Wilee, the best bike messenger in the biz, who’s tasked with getting an envelope across Manhattan in an hour and a half. The package also holds the key to redemption for Shannon’s crooked cop, so the chase is on through the streets and alleys. It’s bike porn, but it’s pretty good bike porn, with a typically solid and earnest performance from Levitt, a zippy script, and enough cycling jargon to fill an urban dictionary.

Also in or Coming to Local Theaters

Hope Springs (PG-13): An eager wife and unwilling husband (played by Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones) enter counseling (with a therapist played by Steve Carell) to reinvigorate their marriage.

Obama’s America 2016 (PG): Right-wing hack Dinesh D'Souza (author of The Roots of Obama's Rage) goes after the president in an election year. (Wissmann)

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (PG): A childless couple (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) is shocked to find a child (C.J. Adams) magically emerge from their garden in this light, family friendly fantasy.

< Oogieloves in The Big Balloon Adventure (G): Matthew Diamond directs this animated, somewhat interactive children’s tale starring the voices of Toni Braxton, Christopher Lloyd, Chazz Palminteri, Cary Elwes, and Cloris Leachman.

The Possession (PG-13): A girl (Natasha Calis) buys a trinket that holds an evil spirit-- but The Trinket isn’t a very good name for a horror movie. Jeffrey Dean Morgan costars with Kyra Sedgwick as the parents trying to lift the curse.

> The Words (PG-13): Drama about a writer whose personal and professional lives are upset by accusations of plagiarism. Featuring Jeremy Irons, Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, and Dennis Quaid.