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Also Playing: March 8, 2013

Other movies to check out, or not

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21 and Over
R, 1 HR., 33 MINS.
One of those brashly formulaic all-night-long youth-party flicks that’s redeemed by the speed and personality of the actors. Miles Teller, as a motormouthed ne’er-do-well, and Skylar Astin, as a geek who knows his beer pong, are fast and charming as buddies who race around town, from bars to frats to dorm bacchanals, all to rescue their troubled best friend (Justin Chon). BOwen Gleiberman

Beyond the Hills
NOT RATED, 2 HRS., 30 MINS.
The new film from Romania’s Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) is set at a convent, where Alina (Cristina Flutur) has come to visit the nun (Cosmina Stratan) who was once her lover. The movie is a grand clash of wills between the secular heroine, who hates this ”cult” that has taken her girlfriend, and the forces of religious repression. Mungiu works in his dourly accomplished, stately-bordering-on-ponderous style, but the movie, unlike 4 Months, feels preconceived to be powerful. It’s like The Exorcist directed by Robert Bresson. (Available on VOD 3/14) BOwen Gleiberman

Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 45 MINS.
This rockumentary fairy tale sounds more fun than it is. In 2007, the members of Journey were looking for a lead singer, and after seeing a Filipino named Arnel Pineda in a YouTube video, they gave him a shot. Pineda does an amazing simulation of Steve Perry’s majestic wide-vibrato croon. On stage, however, he seems less a star than an ultimate fan hitting the nightly karaoke jackpot. And since he’s a sweet but rather ordinary guy, the movie runs out of gas. (Available on VOD 3/9) B-Owen Gleiberman

Escape From Planet Earth
PG, 1 HR., 29 MINS.
A noseless alien who looks like a tropical fish and his macho brother get abducted by earthlings in an animated film that goes lamely where many have gone before. C-Keith Staskiewicz

A Good Day to Die Hard
R, 1 HR., 38 MINS.
Yippee-ki-yay mofo Bruce Willis is back as John McClane, still killing scumbags and cracking wise in Die Hard‘s fifth edition. CLisa Schwarzbaum

Identity Thief
R, 1 HR., 47 MINS.
The divine Melissa McCarthy is defeated by this hectic madcappery about a scam artist and her victim on a road trip. B-Lisa Schwarzbaum

Jack the Giant Slayer
PG-13, 1 HR., 55 MINS.
It could have been called Jack the Huntsman Meets Clash of the Rings. Jack (Nicholas Hoult) joins a fellowship to climb a beanstalk and defeat a tribe of giants. Everything that isn’t F/X-related is weightless. C+Owen Gleiberman

The Last Exorcism Part II
PG-13, 1 HR., 28 MINS.
In this sequel to the 2010 horror movie we’ve decided to rename The First Last Exorcism, Ashley Bell is convincingly fretful as a possessed woman who spends the film enduring flies, visions, and nocturnal back-bending (limber vertebrae have now replaced projectile vomiting as proof of demonic possession). Unfortunately, no one seems to have bent over backward to make the result original or even all that scary. C+Clark Collis

Safe Haven
PG-13, 1 HR., 55 MINS.
There’s no refuge from endless clichés in this Southern soap adapted from the Nicholas Sparks novel about a spunky gal (Julianne Hough) who finds love with a broad-shouldered single dad (Josh Duhamel). DAdam Markovitz
Stoker
R, 1 HR., 40 MINS.
Park Chan-wook’s oddly stylized and lugubrious tale of a dour 18-year-old (Mia Wasikowska) and her creepy uncle, played by Matthew Goode with a gigolo’s smirk. The movie is rigged and stultifying. C-Owen Gleiberman

The Sweeney
R, 2 HRS., 2 MINS.
What’s worse than watching another loose-cannon-cop drama? Watching one that’s based on a ’70s U.K. TV show that you’ve likely never heard of. The great Ray Winstone brings a certain hooligan charm to the role of an angry detective who clashes with his boss (Homeland’s Damian Lewis), chases down a jewel thief, and delivers catchphrases (”We’re the Sweeney… You’re nicked!”), all while breaking rules, necks, and bollocks. But you’ve seen this type of Guy Ritchie rip-off before. The baddies aren’t the only ones getting nicked. (Also available on VOD) C-Melissa Maerz