Advertisement

Movies: ‘Sex Tape’ reviewed, and other new, recent films

Dreading the reviews: Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz in
Dreading the reviews: Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz in "Sex Tape."
Bruce Ingram
For Sun-Times Media | @BruceIngram
July 17 11:15 a.m.

OPENING 

BOYHOOD

★★★★

Rated R for language including sexual references, and for teen drug and alcohol use

Stars: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater

This one is special. Writer/director Richard Linklater (“Slacker,” “School of Rock,” “Before Sunrise”) took a few days each year for 12 years to shoot this loosely plotted, subtly moving fictional portrait of a boy (Ellar Coltrane), his sister (Linklater’s daughter Lorelei), his mom (Arquette) and his mostly absentee dad (Hawke) simply going about their lives, with all its attendant calamities and joys.

PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE

Not reviewed

Rated PG for action and some peril

Stars: Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Julie Bowen, Hal Holbrook

When air-racer Dusty (Cook) learns his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he shifts gears and becomes an aerial firefighter. Disney producer/TV director Roberts Gannaway makes his feature debut with the animated adventure.

THE PURGE: ANARCHY

Not reviewed

Rated R for strong disturbing violence, and for language

Stars: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez

A man seeking revenge for the death of his son assists a stranded couple when their car breaks down during America’s annual anything-goes Purge. Writer/director James DeMonaco returns for the sequel to last year’s thriller.

SEX TAPE

★★ 1/2

Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use

Stars: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper, Rob Lowe

When their sex life fizzles after 10 years and two kids, a married couple (Segel and Diaz) decide to spice things up with a homemade porn opus — and immediately regret it after copies are synched to iPads they’ve given to family and friends. The leads have minimal chemistry and director Jake Kasdan (“Bad Teacher”) takes a long time to get things moving, but “Sex Tape” is pretty funny at times when the farce finally kicks in. Especially long-ago sex tape veteran Lowe as Diaz’s secretly raunchy prospective boss.

WISH I WAS HERE

Not reviewed

Rated R for language and sexual content

Stars: Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Pierce Gagnon, Joey King, Mandy Patinkin

A struggling actor (Braff) decides to try home-schooling his children when he can no longer afford to pay for their private school. Braff (“Garden State”) wrote and directed the comedy.

STILL PLAYING

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Not reviewed

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language

Stars: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jason Clarke

A small group of humans who survived a devastating virus challenge the rule of evolved ape leader Caesar. Matt Reeves (“Let Me In”) directed the sequel to “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”

LE CHEF

★★

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language

Stars: Jean Reno, Michael Youn, Raphaelle Agogue, Julien Boisselier

It’s meant to be a soufflé-light charmer, but this bland, predictable French comedy basically falls flat. Two chefs on the menu, actually: classic-cuisine superstar Alexandre (Reno, better known for action fare) and otherwise-clueless kitchen genius Jacky (Youn) — a half-hearted odd-couple teaming up to save his restaurant from crass trendiness. There are a couple of clever swipes at molecular cuisine (“phosphorescent radish mousse”), but “Le Chef” ultimately resorts to dressing Youn up as a Japanese lady for laughs, and doesn’t get them.

BEGIN AGAIN

★★★

Rated R for language

Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam Levine

Writer/director John Carney’s follow-up to his near-perfect 2006 indie musical romance “Once” is basically an attempt to lay down the template and have another go with movie stars this time around, and a plusher budget. Ruffalo plays a one-time star producer whose career and personal life are on the skids but sees salvation in his discovery of singer-songwriter Knightley — leading to a guerrilla-style recording of an album in various New York locations. Their relationship is a bit trumped-up, but the musical vibe is quite nice.

EARTH TO ECHO

★★

Rated PG for some action and peril, mild language

Stars: Teo Halm, Astro, Reese Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt

This flashy but uninspired revamp of ’80s sci-fi adventures for kids (particularly “E.T.”) was shot found-footage style, as if on camcorders, smartphones and the like, making it frequently confusing in addition to thoroughly artificial. Sensing a government conspiracy after their parents are ordered to vacate their homes, three boys (Halm, Astro and Hartwig) ride out into the Nevada desert and befriend a tiny, crash-landed alien. Unfortunately, debut director Dave Green places much more value on the way “Earth to Echo” looks than making the over-familiar story and two-dimensional characters credible.

DELIVER US FROM EVIL

★★ 1/2

Rated R for bloody violence, grisly images, terror throughout, and language

Stars: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn

The hit-and-miss detective/horror thriller “Deliver Us from Evil” comes with a double helping of clichés, but at least the back-and-forth genre hopping keeps it fairly lively. NYPD detective Sarchie (Australian Bana with a “Noo Yawk” accent) teams up with a whisky-drinking, chain-smoking, smolderingly sexy Jesuit exorcist (Ramirez) to investigate very freaky/very gross goings-on in the Bronx. Scott Derrickson (“Sinister”) co-wrote and directed based on Sarchie’s memoir.

LIFE ITSELF

★★★ 1/2

Rated R for brief sexual images/nudity and language

Stars: Roger Ebert, Martin Scorsese, Chazz Ebert, Werner Herzog, A.O. Scott

More than just a tribute to the career of the world’s most famous and influential film critic, this often-revelatory documentary is also an intimate portrait of a life well lived — right up to the very last moment. In most ways, “Life Itself” conforms to the standard format of biographical documentary, covering Ebert’s life and career with archival photos and reminiscences. But it ultimately goes much deeper when Ebert learns, mid-film, that he’s losing his long battle with thyroid cancer — and decides to continue regardless.

SNOWPIERCER

★★★

Rated R for violence, language and drug content

Stars: Chris Evans, Kang-ho Song, Ed Harris, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Jamie Bell

The first English-language film by South Korea’s Joon-ho Bong (who also made the spectacular old-fashioned monster movie “The Host”) takes place aboard a high-speed train circling the globe after a flash-freeze apocalypse. A revolution is in progress, as the oppressed poor, led by unrecognizably grimy “Captain America” Evans, attempt to seize control from the decadent rich — and encounter many surprises. Grim throughout, but exhilaratingly so, with lots of dazzling flourishes from this world-class visual stylist.

TAMMY

Not reviewed

Rated R for language including sexual references

Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Dan Aykroyd, Kathy Bates, Sandra Oh

After losing her job and learning her husband has cheated on her, a woman (McCarthy) hits the road with her hard-drinking, foul-mouthed grandmother (Sarandon). Actor Ben Falcone co-wrote (with his wife McCarthy) and directed the comedy.

THEY CAME TOGETHER

Not reviewed

Rated R for language and sexual content

Stars: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Ed Helms, Cobie Smulders

A corporate candy company exec and the owner of an indie candy shop (Rudd and Poehler) hate each other at first sight — and then, strangely, begin to have a change of heart. David Wain (“Role Models”) co-wrote and directed the romcom parody.

THIRD PERSON

★★ 1/2

Rated R for language and some sexuality/nudity

Stars: Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, Adrien Brody, Mila Kunis, James Franco

Three love-equals-boatloads-of-pain stories run parallel and occasionally overlap in this overlong, occasionally confusing drama in the style of writer/director Paul Haggis’s Oscar-winning “Crash.” Failed romantic love is the primary focus as lovers and former lovers torment each other in Paris (Neeson and Wilde), Rome (Brody and Moran Atias), and New York (Franco and Kunis). But Haggis also reserves failed parental love and a common plot thread about an endangered child for an emotional gut punch worthy of his “Million Dollar Baby.”

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION

★★ 1/2

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo

Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, John Goodman

In a way, you can’t fault director Michael Bay anymore for the incoherence of the “Transformers” movies, since he threw rational plotlines out the window a couple of installments back — and 2011’s “Dark of the Moon” grossed a billion dollars. It’s still sort of a mystery, though, why people keep lining up for what amounts to an all-spectacle-all-the-time cinematic assault on the senses. “Age of Extinction” continues to make little or no sense as Wahlberg replaces Shia LeBeouf as the series’ flesh-and-blood hero, joining the good-guy Autobots in a global conflict with the fate of the planet at stake. But it also features more running, screaming, wanton destruction, shape-shifting racecar robots, epic explosions and overall pandemonium than ever before.

YVES SAINT LAURENT

Not reviewed

Rated R for sexual content and drug use

Stars: Pierre Niney, Guillaume Gallienne, Charlotte Le Bon, Nikolai Kinski

The life of the famed French fashion designer (Niney), beginning with the start of his relationship with lover/business partner Pierre Berge (Gallienne). Jalil Lespert (“Headwinds”) directed the bio-drama.

JERSEY BOYS

★★ 1/2

Rated R for language throughout

Stars: John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Christopher Walken

Slick, professional, but oddly emotionally uninvolving, Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of this long-running Broadway musical works hard to inject some dramatic weight into the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons despite a glut of showbiz clichés.

It doesn’t work, unfortunately, but at least we get a video jukebox of the group’s greatest hits. Even there, though, “Jersey Boys” mostly seems to be going through the motions. Meanwhile, Walken is a bonus as a local mafia don who takes a benevolent interest in the group’s career.

THE ROVER

★★★ 1/2

Rated R for language and some bloody violence

Stars: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy

Australian writer/director David Michod’s follow-up to his savage 2010 crime family drama “Animal Kingdom” is a post-apocalyptic revenge saga with more than a touch of Cormac McCarthy existential despair. Not a whole lot of fun, in other words, but weirdly compelling. Ten years after an unnamed worldwide collapse, a gang of thieves make the mistake of stealing the car of a grim loner (Pearce, terrific), who tracks them relentlessly through the Outback with a wounded, half-witted former member of the gang (former “Twilight” star Pattinson) as an initially reluctant guide.

Tags:

0 Comments

Read about Ernest Hemingway and his ties to Oak Park by clicking here.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
Advertisement

Modal