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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Film Clips: July 17

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The Conjuring R

The first sign of trouble on moving day: the family dog refuses to come inside. The second: discovering the boarded-up entrance to a disused cellar. It was downhill from there for the unfortunate family that purchased an old Rhode Island farmhouse. Set in 1971, The Conjuring is a tribute to the silver age of horror movies, the era of The Exorcist and Amityville Horror, concerning a house where even the ghosts are afraid of the demon lurking within. The most chilling moments involve the suspense of waiting in darkness as fear mounts. The Conjuring stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as psychic investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren. (David Luhrssen)

 

Girl Most Likely PG-13

Imogene (Kristen Wiig) is a once-promising, still-young Manhattan writer who loses her magazine job and her boyfriend in rapid succession. After a half-hearted, if dramatic, suicide attempt, Imogene is released by the hospital to the custody of her estranged, gambling-addicted mother (Annette Bening). Back home in Atlantic City, Imogene encounters mom’s live-in CIA agent boyfriend (Matt Dillon), her agoraphobic kid brother (Christopher Fitzgerald) and the handsome young lodger (Darren Criss) with whom sparks inevitably fly. The screenwriter of Girl Most Likely failed to realize that being self-consciously quirky isn’t the same as being funny. (D.L.)

 

RED 2 PG-13

This sequel to RED (Retired, Extremely Dangerous), retreads much ground from 2010’s chapter one. Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is determined to enjoy civilian life, which means shopping at Costco with his girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). This domesticity is interrupted when Frank’s ex-spy buddy Marvin (John Malkovich), arrives to inform Frank that Wikileaks has named them both as knowledgeable about the Night Shade weapons program. Playing retired Brit spy Victoria, Helen Mirren rejoins the gang in attempting to outsmart assassins, terrorists and power-hungry government officials—all competing for the next-generation Night Shade weapon. Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones play supporting roles to Frank and his motley crew as they argue their way through Paris, London and Moscow. The film boasts moments of hilarity (especially from Malkovich), but the element of surprise has left this old-guy buddy flick. (Lisa Miller)

 

R.I.P.D.  PG-13

After rising-star detective Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) is brutally murdered, he’s recruited to the Rest In Peace Department and partnered with dead veteran sheriff Roy Pulsifer (Jeff Bridges). Their job is to track monstrous spirits that are cleverly disguised as ordinary people. Using specially designed weapons, Roy and Nick must dispatch these otherworldly interlopers to the other side, beginning with Nick’s killer. In an effort to distinguish this one-joke movie from others of its ilk, others perceive Roy and Nick as a buxom blonde female and an aging Asian man. This last ploy was used in the similarly themed TV show, “Dead Like Me,” dashing any hope for an original idea. (L.M.)

 

Turbo PG

Ryan Reynolds voices a young speed-obsessed snail named Turbo in this animated feature. Hung up on professional car racers, especially Guy Gagné (Bill Hader, assuming a French-Canadian accent), Turbo makes his way to the Los Angeles street racer scene. After being sucked into the engine of a car fueled by nitrous oxide, Turbo becomes turbocharged, and fast enough to seek entry into the Indy 500. Turbo’s brother Chet (Paul Giamatti) fears the peril that confronts a little snail among comparatively enormous race cars, but having secured sponsorship from a taco stand run by Tito (Michael Peña) and Angelo (Luis Guzmán), Turbo is determined to take his chances. Although the film is a one-note story aimed at young children, Turbo distinguishes itself with zippy dialogue delivered by its vocally talented cast. (L.M.)

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