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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Film Clips: April 17

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Bears G

Alaska’s brown bears receive the Disney nature film treatment as a mother and her two newborn cubs are followed throughout the first year of their lives. With avalanche season looming, Sky awakens from her hibernation to bitterly cold spring temperatures. Her first goal is putting distance between her cubs and the unstable mountain where they have holed up for the winter. Fattening themselves during the summer, the mother and her cubs seek to evade ever-present wolves while staying well away from rival male bears and predators—all in hopes the salmon run will provide the food they need to survive the coming winter. (Lisa Miller)

 

A Haunted House 2 R

Back to spoof the most recent horror hits, Marlon Wayans continues to send up the Paranormal Activity films via the documentary-style “found footage” that has become integral to that franchise. Though the first Haunted House was critically panned, there’s no escaping the fact that the $2.5 million production earned $60 million at the box office. Little attempt is made to contribute anything new, worthwhile or amusing to the horror-mocking genre, but Wayans is, as always, an affable presence who makes this cash-grabbing enterprise seem almost bearable. (L.M.)

 

Le Week-End R

Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan are marvelously nuanced as Nick and Meg, an old married academic couple from England on vacation in Paris. They know each other well, but maybe too well and not well enough. Directed with grace and empathy by Roger Michell (Notting Hill) from a screenplay by Hanif Kureishi (My Beautiful Launderette), Le Week-End is an ongoing set of conversations revealing the desire and disappointment contained within the wobbly frame of a marriage held together by habit and anxiety as much as anything else, as well as the sense that life’s opportunities have passed. Jeff Goldblum delivers a witty performance as Nick’s successful friend, the toast of the Paris intelligentsia (and with a young trophy wife in tow). (David Luhrssen)

 

Transcendence PG-13

Will Caster (Johnny Depp), the premier expert on artificial intelligence, receives a mortal injury and requests that his consciousness be uploaded to a computer prior to his death. Caster’s wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) struggles to remain emotionally connected to her computer-dwelling husband, even as he embraces his new digital existence and begins to believe that only he understands what is best for the planet and mankind. Caster’s associate Max (Paul Bettany) is determined to rid the world of this new version of Caster, but finds that deleting his former friend from the Internet is virtually impossible, but necessary to protect our freedom. Directed by Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer Wally Pfister, Transcendence boats strong visuals fleshed out by intelligent performances from Depp, Hall and Bettany. (L.M.)