Friday April 19, 2013

EVIL DEAD (R). Five twentysomething friends who have gathered in a cabin in the woods to help a friend in need unwittingly unleash unspeakable horrors when they read out loud a mysterious incantation from a strange book they find in the cabin. This remake of Sam Raimi's 1981 cult fave is not a bad movie, just one that doesn't raise (or lower) the bar on gore artistry as Raimi's did decades ago, and it's fair to compare. HH1/2 (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 4/6). 1:41.

42 (PG-13). A straIghtforward and purposeful as a home run trot, this drama tracing Jackie Robinson's color-barrier breaking 1947 season as second baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers is one of the all-time great sports movies primarily because it's one of the all-time great sports stories. With Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford. HHH (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 4/12). 2:08.

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION (PG-13). COBRA may have been down for the count in the first "Joe" movie, but they have an impostor in the White House and all manner of evil henchmen and ingenious gadgets to wipe out the G.I. Joes. It's up to team members Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) and Flint (D.J. Cotrona) -- with maybe an assist from masked marvel Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and the fetching fury Jinx (Elodie Yung) -- to foil the evil masked COBRA commander and his sidekick, Firefly (Ray Stevenson). There is really no place for acting in this live-action version of an ‘80s cartoon that was designed to sell toys. HH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service-- 3/28). 1:50.

JURASSIC PARK 3D (PG-13). On its 20th anniversary, director Steven Spielberg has remastered his horror classic about genetically engineered prehistoric creatures who run amok in an island theme park designed for them into a polished new 3D version. The 3D is good. But when a movie is this near-flawless, nothing is needed to make it better. With Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough. HHH1/2 (Bentley, The Fresno Bee -- 4/6). 2:06.

LORE (NR). The Third Reich has fallen, and in Germany, a Nazi officer and his wife take their children into hiding, and then abandon them as Allied trucks and tanks roll in. Led by Lore (Saskia Rosendahl), a strong-minded teenager, the group -- twin boys, a younger sister, an infant -- must trek clear across their ruined country to their grandmother's house. Review, D2

NO (R). This Oscar-nominated Chilean drama focuses on the young ad exec (played by Gael Garcia Bernal) who crafted the "no" campaign that ultimately helped topple a general who had seized power in a 1973 coup. The drama never quite rises to the level of compelling and as a result, the movie loses a certain propulsion here and there. Still, it alwys retains a level of interest, especially for those who don't remember -- or aren't old enough to remember -- which side won. HHH (LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle -- 4/5). 1:50.

OBLIVION (PG-13). Tom Cruise stars as one of the last human beings on Earth in 2073, 60 years after the planet has been conquered by aliens. With Morgan Freeman.

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (R). Gerard Butler, his eyebrows in a consternated V, plays a former presidential bodyguard demoted to a desk job after an accident on his watch scarred the First Family. He leaps back into action when a rogue force of North Koreans launch simultaneous air and ground assaults on the White House, which is hosting the South Korean premier. If they presented this character note, or any of the plot points pilfered from "Die Hard" with a knowing wink, this might have been an enjoyably self-referential romp. Unfortunately, they give every evidence of taking it seriously and expecting us to do the same. H (Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune -- 3/26). 1:58.

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL (PG). Oz isn't a merry old land in Disney's garishly produced barely necessary prequel to one of the most beloved tales of all time. As the future wizard of Oz, a traveling circus charlatan named Oscar Diggs, James Franco shows only traces of charm in a role that requires flamboyance and affable insolence. A fitful fantasy that reminds us that much more amazing things in Oz were yet to come. HH (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 3/9). 2:10.

SCARY MOVIE 5 (PG-13). The latest in this horror movie parody franchise. The broad swipes this sketch comedy takes at horror films, reality TV, sci-fi films and real-life personalities produce barely a single laugh. H (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 4/16). 1:25.

THE CROODS (PG). For all the riffs on innovation in this nutty-Neanderthals comedy about a stone-age family trying to adapt to tectonic changes in the world and themselves, the CGI ‘toon ultimately has few original ideas behind its gently sloping forehead. Although "The Croods" has lazy patches throughout, the conclusion is exciting and, lo and behold, surprising. With the voices of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Cloris Leachman. HH (Daly, Tampa Bay Times -- 3/26).1:38.

THE GATEKEEPERS (PG-13). Revealing documentary about Israel's counterterrorism agency, Shin Bet, based on interviews with six former directors. As a clear-eyed examination of a conflict that seems to have no end, "The Gatekeepers" is powerful, provocative stuff. HHHH (Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer -- 3/30). 1:27.

THE HOST (PG-13). Stephenie Meyer's novel is the source of this sci-fi fantasy about an alien inhabiting a young woman's mind, sharing it with her "host," and the two hot young guys competing for her/their affection and loyalty. This not especially scary film is little more than a teenage girl's fantasy checklist for a prom: Which "me" should I be, which guy should I go with, and can we get one of those shiny sports cars to drive? H1/2 (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 3/29). 2:05.

THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES (R). Three overlapping stories that center on the legacies -- voluntary or not -- fathers leave their sons, and the split-second decisions that can shape them. With more than 50 speaking roles, this film could easily have spiraled out of control into a predictable epic. But it holds enough intimacy -- and surprise -- to satisy. With Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta. HHH (Tillotson, Minneapolis Star Tribune -- 4/13). 2:20.

TRANCE (R). Director Danny Boyle's new film is about a heist, a head injury that causes amnesia in an art auctioneer (James McAvoy) who can't remember where a stolen painting was stashed, the gangsters (Vincent Cassell leads them) who want that information and the hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson) who may, or may not, help them uncover it. Boyle has a diabolical blast with the material. Even when the plot goes completely bonkers, bat-guano off the rails in the final reel, "Trance" is a perfect title for this dazed and confusing movie. See it but don't dare explain it to anyone. Then see it again and realize you would have been wrong. HHH1/2 (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 4/15). 1:41.

TYLER PERRY'S TEMPTATION (PG-13). An ambitious married marriage counselor's attraction to a powerfully handsome billionaire has unalterable consequences. Clumsily told tale with a title that's a come-on and a premise that rings false. With Junee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross, Vanessa Williams, Brandy Norwood, Robbie Jones. H (Moore, McClatchy Tribune News Service -- 4/1). 1:51.