Theatrical Releases This Week
Tuesday, July 3
The Amazing Spider-Man
Director: Marc Webb
PG-13; 138 mins
The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero. (Synopsis by Sony)
Not particularly new or engaging. The only thing that works consistently is the interplay of the two leads. It is just too soon for this reboot, and it shows. Webb’s directing is questionable—while the film’s highlights should have been the action sequences, they ultimately fall flat.
Friday, July 6
Director: Oliver Stone
R; 130 mins
Laguna Beach entrepreneurs Ben (Aaron Johnson), a peaceful and charitable Buddhist, and his closest friend Chon (Taylor Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL and ex-mercenary, run a lucrative, homegrown industry-raising some of the best marijuana ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with the extraordinary beauty Ophelia (Blake Lively). Life is idyllic in their Southern California town…until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them. When the merciless head of the BC, Elena (Salma Hayek), and her brutal enforcer, Lado (Benicio Del Toro), underestimate the unbreakable bond among these three friends, Ben and Chon–with the reluctant, slippery assistance of a dirty DEA agent (John Travolta)–wage a seemingly unwinnable war against the cartel. (Synopsis by Universal)
Stone is back with a (literal) vengeance, and hallucinogen-fueled action runs rampant. With a cast this strong, there is little not to like. Skip the spider and stick with the maestro.
To Rome with Love
Director: Woody Allen
R; 112 mins
“To Rome with Love” is a kaleidoscopic comedy movie set in one of the world’s most enchanting cities. The film brings us into contact with a well-known American architect reliving his youth; an average middle-class Roman who suddenly finds himself Rome’s biggest celebrity; a young provincial couple drawn into separate romantic encounters; and an American opera director endeavoring to put a singing mortician on stage. (Synopsis by Sony Pictures)
As Woody Allen movies go, this one is a bit of a mess. Sure there are moments of comedy and Allen charm, but largely the film is tangled and uneven. Less self-indulgence would have gone a long way toward making “To Rome” as charming and intellectual as “Midnight in Paris.”
DVD Releases This Week
Jesus Henry Christ
Director: Dennis Lee
PG-13; 91 mins.
This colorful, modern family comedy revolves around 10-year-old boy genius Henry James Herman (Jason Spevack) and his fervently left-wing single mother Patricia (Toni Collette), who works at the local university’s cafeteria. A misfit from birth, Henry’s precocious, rabble-rousing ways catch up with him when he gets kicked out of school for writing “Manifestos on the Nature of Truth.” Meanwhile, 12-year-old Audrey (Samantha Weinstein) has her own problems because of her single father, university professor Dr. Slavkin O’Hara (Michael Sheen), who used her as the test subject for his best-selling book Born Gay or Made that Way? Needless to say, she gets a not-so-nice nickname from her classmates. When Henry scores a scholarship to the university as a child prodigy, the two families cross paths and everything they knew about their lives is thrown to the wind. (Synopsis by Tribeca Film)
The poor man’s answer to the far superior “Moonrise Kingdom.” Lee poorly attempts to create an homage to Wes Anderson, and fails in almost every possible way. Being quirky to the point of distraction does little to help a story with no teeth. Skip this and stick with Anderson, the master of the eccentric film.