Oh, Jason Bateman, how much do we enjoy your recent success as the wry straight-man du jour? And how much are we concerned that this hacky-looking body-switch comedy co-starring Ryan Reynolds is going to leave its stink on you?
Opens Aug. 5.
Regarded as the first summer blockbuster ever, Steven Spielberg’s
set the precedent for releasing huge action films during the hottest season. Unfortunately, today’s summer blockbusters are a far cry from this Academy Award Best Picture nominee. It’s hard enough to find any movie as exciting, well directed/acted/scripted/edited/scored, and smart as
, much less one monopolizing multiplex screens. Not to say everything about this movie is smart. You are guaranteed to want to scream at the Amity Island locals to get out of the water, get over the beach being shut down, and stop being sleazy politicians in aggravatingly ugly suits. You almost couldn’t care less that these jerks are going to be a buffet for a marauding great white shark, but you do want to see the trio of male leads take down the beast. The interactions between Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider), kooky shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw), and young marine biologist Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) are the highlight of the film; you just don’t find scenes like the one in which they’re comparing scars in
movies. And when it all comes down to it, isn’t hearing the score’s “dundun, dundun” motif for the shark at theater volume reason enough to see
on a big screen? (Jessica Manzo)
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
James Franco puts his somber Oscar-telecast mode to work as a scientist in this reboot/reimagining of the
Planet of the Apes
franchise. Opens Aug. 5.
The “Takers” are a group of criminals who drive Porsches and live in high-rise condos. They pick and choose heists with discretion. So when old pal Ghost (ex-con rapper T.I.) returns from prison with a plan to hijack an armored truck, they’re a bit suspicious. But because Ghost used to be part of the crew before he got nabbed during a bank robbery, they decide to go along with him. Not so surprisingly, things don’t go exactly as planned—especially since a relentless cop with anger-management issues (Matt Dillon) is hot on their tail. Dillon gives the only credible performance here, but even he has trouble breaking his character from stereotype. Writer/director John Luessenhop builds some suspense in this rudimentary heist flick, but T.I. and much of the cast—including singer Chris Brown and Hayden Christensen—are so terrible,
ends up like a very poor man’s
. (Jeff Niesel)
Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie star in director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s lighthearted/headed thriller about a mysterious woman (Jolie) who uses an American vacationer (Depp) to elude law enforcement and some netherworld denizens in Venice.
VIVA LAS VEGAS
Prime Elvis. Ann-Margaret. Las Vegas. The title song. If you’re going to this, we’ve said enough already.