A mixed bag opening at the movies this week… but that means something for everyone.
Top pick for me this week is a documentary of Roger Ebert, one of the most well-known and loved American film critics who died in 2013. LIFE ITSELF tells the story of his life and career. I’ll be definitely going to see this one – he’s sort of a “hero” to me given my interest in film. And if you are interested in the movies, you will want to see this documentary too. According to Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers, Don’t miss it. Though Life Itself is a warts-and-all portrait Ebert didn’t live to review, my guess is his thumbs would be shooting upward. Mine sure are.
OTHERS TO SEE
The adventure comedy fantasy musical hits our screens this week – just in time for the last bit of the school holidays, the PG-rated INTO THE WOODS is all about a witch who tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree. Responses have been mixed. Variety’s Scott Foundas takes a middle ground in his review, suggesting that Marshall [the director] hasn’t made one of the great movie musicals here, but he hasn’t bungled it either – far from it. And New York Magazine’s (Vulture) David Edelstein makes an interesting comment: I’m only half-kidding when I suggest that you see the movie but leave (especially if you have kids) at what’s obviously the end of the first act. You’ll still get the dissonances, ambiguities, and portents of doom, along with much that is pure enchantment. And you won’t leave thinking the movie had been made by the Big Bad Wolf. If you are a parent, you’d better take the PG rating seriously.
Two movies sit firmly in the maybe/maybe not category this week.
First is the next in the Taken series, TAKEN 3 in which we see ex-government operative Bryan Mills accused of a ruthless murder he never committed or witnessed. As he is tracked and pursued, Mills brings out his particular set of skills to find the true killer and clear his name. If you have seen the previous Taken movies, you’ll know what to expect. General viewers seem to like the movie but, as so often, critics do not. Variety’s Maggie Lee describes it as A mind-numbing, crash-bang misfire that abandons chic European capitals for the character’s own backyard. And The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw, with biting humour, says It’s difficult to know what subtitle to give this. Taken 3: Not Again, or Taken 3: Seriously? or Taken 3: This Is Getting a Bit Much Frankly. BUT, general viewers are loving it, giving it around about 4 stars on the average. So you will need to make your mind up about this one. I’ll let you know what I think after I have seen it.
Finally, there’s DUMB AND DUMBER TO starring Jim Carrey. 20 years since their first adventure, Lloyd and Harry go on a road trip to find Harry’s newly discovered daughter, who was given up for adoption. Once again, the general viewer is averaging around 3 stars and critics slamming it. McClatchy-Tribune News Service’s Roger Moore says, Truth be told, I was never a fan of the first “Dumber,” but the stars made it endurable and convincingly stupid. Here, they’re sometimes funny, and sometimes just sad. They’re better than this, no matter how good they are at hiding the fact that they know it. Up to you whether you spend your money on this one!
That’s it for this week. See you at the movies!
* Movie synopses are based on/adapted from IMDB. Opinions are mine except where references are provided.