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Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014

Film Clips: Aug. 14

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Calvary R

As revealed in the often-witty screenplay by writer John Michael McDonagh, Father James (Brendan Gleeson) is no ordinary Roman Catholic priest. A widower with a grown daughter, James is an empathetic, tolerant, enigmatic man threatened by a victim of priestly pedophilia—a crime for which he is innocent. “There is no point in killing a bad priest, but killing a good one, that would be a shock,” he is told. A fatalistic suspense drama set in rural Ireland, Calvary wonders about faith and cynicism, and the distinction between surrender and sacrifice. Gleeson endows his character with a beautifully understated performance. (David Luhrssen)

Opens Friday, Aug. 15, at the Downer Theatre.

 

The Expendables 3 PG-13

In this ill-advised threequel, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone, who also co-writes) takes on the team’s cofounder Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who has gone over to the dark side by becoming an arms dealer. To protect himself from exposure, Stonebanks decides to terminate The Expendables, prompting Barney and Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) to retrieve blade-wielding Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes) from prison in a spectacular breakout sequence. After weapons specialist Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) is injured, Barney seeks to protect his aging teammates—Swedish sniper Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) and demolitions expert Toll Road (Randy Couture), by recruiting younger Expendables played by Kellan Lutz, Glen Powell, boxing champion Victor Ortiz and mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey. Unflattering early reviews see an expiration date fast approaching for this expendable franchise. (Lisa Miller)

 

The Giver PG-13

The Giver is based on Lois Lowry’s young adult novel, the first of four in a series, frequently taught in middle school to stress the important contributions that arise from encouraging individuality. The story is set in a futuristic, dystopian society that long ago outlawed emotions, colors and nonconforming actions or thought. Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is the young man chosen to learn from “The Giver” (Jeff Bridges), who alone carries the memories of pain and failures that their ultimate nanny government believes would bring down their utopian society if allowed to continue. The more Jonas learns the truth of the human experience, the more he believes he must escape these restrictions, though he’s also been taught that no one ever escapes and lives to tell the tale. (L.M.)

 

Land Ho! R

In this indie Bucket List comedy, two old timers fly to Iceland for a retirees’ version of an off-road vacation. It’s an odd couple buddy picture, but not odd enough to generate hilarity or consistent interest as good ole boy Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) takes charge of his depressed Aussie friend, Colin (Paul Eenhoorn). Amusing moments occur within the long, run-on conversations—just not enough of them as Mitch proffers his Dixie-friend “Just get on with it” banter. (D.L.)

Opens Friday, Aug. 15, Oriental Theatre.

 

Let’s Be Cops R

Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. cash in on the popularity of their TV comedy show, “New Girl,” taking a comedic turn on the big screen. Misunderstanding the meaning of a masquerade ball, best buds Ryan and Justin (Johnson and Wayans Jr., respectively) arrive dressed as policeman and proceed to save the partygoers from thugs. Thirty-year-old losers, the guys decide being cops is their ticket to girls and success—even if that means being fake cops. To that end they persuade the LAPD that they too are the real deal, and are sent undercover to crack a syndicate drug ring. A few amusing moments reveal the film’s potential to be more than a one-joke pony; alas it was not to be. (L.M.)