Capsule reviews of recently released films 

Page 4 of 4

TERMINATOR SALVATION 4 stars (PG-13) In 2018, rising resistance soldier John Connor (Christian Bale) questions the motives of an ass-kicking, well-intentioned stranger (Sam Worthington) who seems oddly ill-informed about all the killer robots trying to wipe out humanity. Salvation offers thin characterizations but does justice to the post-apocalyptic mythos that James Cameron hinted at in the first Terminator movies. Charlie's Angels director McG helms awesome action scenes that are like having metal stuff thrown at your head — in a good way. — Holman 

 
TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN (PG-13) The Autobots, those heroic space robots, must protect Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) from the evil Decepticons when the teen journeys from college campus to Egyptian desert to find an Earth-shaking artifact called the Matrix of Leadership. Bay’s original Transformers was hardly an exercise in subtlety, but at least it offered a sense of discovery and built some genuine suspense. At once sillier and more pompous, the sequel makes a chaotic hash of things from practically the first scene and draws out for two and a half deafening hours. If only it could transform into a movie that doesn’t suck. — Holman

UP 5 stars (PG) An elderly widower (voiced by Ed Asner) uses zillions of balloons to take his house on airborne adventure, unwittingly bringing a pesky boy scout (Jordan Nagai) along for the ride. Monsters, Inc. director Pete Docter helms Pixarís latest masterpiece, which begins with an achingly lovely montage of a marriage and builds to a rousing adventure story that combines Jules Verne, Indiana Jones and some of the most hilarious dog jokes every put on film. Plus, the instantly-iconic image of the floating house accumulates considerable richness as a metaphor for life and memory. — Holman

WHATEVER WORKS (PG-13) In the latest film from writer/director Woody Allen, Larry David plays a curmudgeonly ex-physics professor and self-professed genius who shelters a young Southern runaway (Evan Rachel Wood) and marries her, despite their sharp personal differences. Dusting off a 30-year-old script written for the late Zero Mostel, Allen covers familiar territory while showing breathtaking condescension to women and Southerners. David has fun with some Groucho Marx-like put-downs, but his acting lacks the subtlety to flesh out the character. As a Southern matron transformed by New York, Patricia Clarkson steals the film, but it’s not really much of a theft. — Holman

YEAR ONE 3 stars (PG-13) This cavecore buddy comedy from director Harold Ramis and producer Judd Apatow pits hunter Zed (Jack Black) and gatherer Oh (Michael Cera) against the ancient world. After Zed tastes the fruit of the tree of knowledge (and inadvertently sets fire to his primitive village), the pair embarks on a quest to find the meaning of life, and rescue a couple of bangin' cave chicks. The film's replete with Old Testament references, from Cain and Abel (played by David Cross and Paul Rudd, respectively) to Sodom and Gomorrah, not to mention penis jokes and elaborate hair and wardrobe changes.

 

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