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Friday, July 16, 2010

Film Clips: This Weekend's Openings and More

Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb in Inception
  • Melissa Moseley
  • Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb in Inception

INCEPTION 4 stars (PG-13) The brooding Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) leads a team of thieves (including Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page) capable of removing ideas from people’s dreams on a kind of subconscious caper to implant an idea in the mind of rising industrialist (Cillian Murphy). The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan disguises his dizzying head-trip as a slick action film without making these easy for his audience: information comes nearly beyond the speed of comprehension. Inception builds to a redemption plot that’s simplistic where the rest of the film is sophisticated, but Nolan’s excitement over his imaginary dream-heists prove undeniably infectious. — Holman

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT 4 stars (R ) The college-age daughter (Mia Wasikowska) of a lesbian couple (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) resolves to meet the anonymous sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo) who fathered her, and his casual values destabilize the unconventional family structure. Writer/director Lisa Cholodenko crafts characters and situations that are exaggerated enough to be laugh-out-loud funny, but realistic enough to feel as fully-formed and surprising as real life. But which will end up being the Oscar-nominated role, Bening’s besieged perfectionist or Moore’s frustrated free spirit? — Holman

(R ) In this Irish crime comedy, a young man (Inception’s Cillian Murphy) owes a thousand euros to a mobster named Perrier (Brendan Gleeson) and seeks help from his coke snorting father (Jim Broadbent) and occasionally hearing the Voice of Death (Gabriel Byrne).


HAUSU (1977) (R) In this stylish horror/comedy, teenage Japanese girls vacation at an old house, only to discover that it’s haunted by a deadly female ghost. Splatter Cinema. Through July 18, 9:30 p.m. The Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939.

HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 3 stars (R ) There have been plenty of movies about second chances but none like this. Picture a cross between Dicken's A Christmas Carol, 17 Again, and Back to the Future...but on crack! Enough said.

Flicks on 5th. Wed., July 21 at dusk (circa 9 p.m.) Technology Square in Midtown, 5th Street, between Spring St. and Williams St. Free. 404-894-2805.

FAMILY (NR) This comedy-drama concerns a group of gay African-American women and their struggles with love, the workplace and the closet. July 18, 5:30 p.m. The Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939.

DESPICABLE ME 3 stars (PG) An evil genius named Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) adopts three orphan girls as part of a plan to reclaim his title as the world’s #1 supervillain from his younger rival, Vector (Jason Segal). But will the girl’s steal Gru’s heart while he attempts to pilfer the moon? The comedy’s most despicable qualities are the oppressive bathroom humor jokes and the heavy dose of treacle that floods the last half. Focus instead on the gizmo-driven feud between Gru and Vector and you’ll enjoy Despicable Me’s slapstick worthy of Wile E. Coyote. — Holman

THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE 2 stars (R ) Antisocial hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) turns fugitive when circumstantial evidence links her to the murder of two muckraking journalists. This follow-up to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo retains the outlandish action scenes of Steig Larsson’s original novel, but edits out the narrative connective tissue that makes sense of its convoluted plot. Rapace remains a memorably unusual thriller heroine, but Played With Fire seldom strikes sparks. — Holman

MICMACS 2 stars (R) A slacker video store clerk (Danny Boon) catches a bullet in the skull, becomes a homeless street performer, meets a gaggle of quirky scavengers and exacts prankish revenge on a pair of rival arms merchants. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet specializes in whimsical, Rube Goldberg set pieces in previous films like Amelie, but in Micmacs the clockwork caper scenes fail to connect to human emotions. Imagine if Terry Gilliam hijacked the Ocean’s 11 franchise. — Holman

PREDATORS 3 stars (R ) A multinational group of soldiers and professional killers (lead by Adrien Brody) find themselves in a mysterious jungle where they’re stalked by a familiar group of alien big-game hunters. Hungarian director Nimrod Attal helms a sharp and engrossing sci-fi thriller to match the first Predator film from 1987. If not original or inventive enough to be a true drive-in classic, Predators delivers the summer-movie action goods, and the first act may please distraught “Lost” fans who miss scenes of castaways experiencing weird phenomena in jungles. — Holman

THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE 3 stars (PG) Harry Pott- I mean, Percy Jacks- that is, Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a college physics prodigy, learns to tap his magic powers as an heir to Merlin’s legacy with the help of strung-out sorcerer Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage). But can Dave reach his potential before nasty wizard Horvath (Alfred Molina) releases super-evil Morgana La Fey (Alice Krige) from an enchanted nesting doll? Utterly derivative, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice still features two lively lead actors and some reasonably clever, well-executed special effects gags. There are worse ways to make $10 and two hours of your life disappear.

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