Capsule Movie Reviews (Apr. 9): 'The Railway Man' and five more
The Railway Man
R, 1 HR., 48 MINS.
The true story of Eric Lomax, a British WWII soldier who survived a Japanese POW camp and confronted his torturer 50 years later, is astonishing. The movie version isn’t. Colin Firth smolders as the PTSD-riddled veteran (played in flashbacks by War Horse‘s Jeremy Irvine), and Nicole Kidman cries dutifully as his wife — but they’re both derailed by the movie’s tidy emotional resolutions. B- —Adam Markovitz
R, 1 HR., 38 MINS.
Nick Frost, Simon Pegg’s portly partner in crime from Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End, takes center stage in this heartwarming, mildly amusing comedy about a former salsa-dancing prodigy who gets back on the floor to woo his boss (Rashida Jones). Frost is a likable bloke with a deft physical grace to match his rat-a-tat one-liners. But all the sequins and silk shirts in the world can’t disguise the film’s too-familiar formula. B- —Chris Nashawaty
R, 1 HR., 30 MINS.
To earn extra cash, an ex–bookstore boss (Woody Allen) pimps out his florist friend (John Turturro, who also wrote and directed). He lands a three-way with two eager ladies (Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara), but it’s his platonic meet-up with a lonely Hasidic widow (Vanessa Paradis) that establishes the deepest bond. B+ —Sabrina McFarland
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 42 MINS.
You have to give Kristen Wiig a little credit for stepping out of her comedy comfort zone in Liza Johnson’s low-key indie about a clean-freak caregiver who chases love with an irresponsible ex-con (Guy Pearce). Too bad the film (based on an Alice Munro story) is such a meandering slog and Wiig’s character winds up being such a cipher. The supporting cast includes Nick Nolte, Christine Lahti, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Hailee Steinfeld, making the movie’s greatest accomplishment the fact that it was able to squander so many interesting actors. (Also available on VOD) C —Chris Nashawaty
R, 1 HR., 44 MINS.
Those busy bees at the Blumhouse fright factory (purveyors of the Insidious and Paranormal Activity films) may need to slow it down a bit. Their latest, a chiller about a demonic antique mirror, is half-baked. A brother and sister who witnessed horrors via said looking glass as children get the object back and try to exorcise it. But unless you’re Billy Bob Thornton, old furniture just isn’t all that scary. C —Chris Nashawaty
G, 1 HR., 30 MINS.
Sequelitis is wreaking havoc in the Amazon. In the follow-up to the 2011 hit, rare birds Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) uproot their city life for adventures in the jungle, where Blu has to battle illegal loggers, an evil cockatoo (Jemaine Clement), and his strict father-in-law (Andy Garcia). There are fun moments, especially with Kristin Chenoweth’s vampy poison dart frog. But with more evolved films like The LEGO Movie and Frozen in the animated ecosphere, overstuffed and gag-reliant time-passers like the Rio movies feel like a dying breed. C+ —Stephan Lee