Most of what I know about complex science comes from comic books, so forgive me if my understanding of quantum mechanics is a little off. But, I think it can mean that particles can exist in two states simultaneously. 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2,' a film loaded with such half-understood notions of difficult scientific concepts, is a quantum movie. It manages to be both awful and entertaining, frequently at the same exact time. The script is ludicrous, even by summer blockbuster standards. The characters behave irrationally and without motivation and the story makes lengthy, frequent pit stops into dull backstory. But, for every moment of tedium and confusion there is a tiny explosion of joy. Director Marc Webb just barely ties this collision of half-baked ideas together in a sticky Spidey bow.
It all starts out with such promise. Steven Brill’s latest comedy, ‘Walk of Shame,’ introduces us to Meghan Miles (Elizabeth Banks), polished television news anchor, by way of a series of dramatized versions of famous newscast flubs that highlight exactly what Meghan is not – she’s not unprepared, she’s not unprofessional, and she’s not without some serious skills.
She is, however, without a clue.
Today, a movie that, on the surface, resembles a rom-com, but isn’t a rom-com (there are no rom-coms any longer) titled ‘The Other Woman’ is playing at the multiplex down the street from you right now. Cameron Diaz (‘Shrek 2’) stars as Carly, a single, independent woman living in New York City who is dating Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) – but Mark has a secret! Is Mark cheating on Carly? Is Mark secretly the Kingslayer? As a service to you, we answer every question that you could possibly have about ‘The Other Woman’?
Yes, it’s a little odd that another LEGO movie is coming out so quickly after the release of, well, ‘The LEGO Movie’ – that also features an animated LEGO mini-fig voiced by a well-known celebrity. In this case, it’s Jason Bateman (as opposed to Chris Pratt) and this is a documentary (or, as they are calling it, a “brickumentary”), not a narrative feature.
‘Beyond the Brick: A LEGO Brickumentary’ (which premiered this week at the Tribeca Film Festival) is a sort of companion piece, as opposed to direct competitor, to the aforementioned ‘The LEGO Movie’ – especially considering that ‘The LEGO Movie’ is mentioned quite a few times over the course of this film and we even see the shooting of a particular scene. (Funny, if you don’t want to be spoiled on how ‘The LEGO Movie’ ends, you probably should avoid ‘Beyond the Brick.’) Also, it’s endlessly fascinating.
'A Haunted House 2' did not screen early for critics. On Thursday, I received an email from my editor suggesting that I pay to see 'A Haunted House 2' at a movie theater on Friday morning. I tried using the "but I haven’t seen the first ‘Haunted House'" excuse, but that seemed to have little to no impact on this request. Who knows? Maybe it’s hilarious? On Friday morning, I purchased a ticked for the 10:45 a.m. screening of 'A Haunted House 2.' While watching, I kept a running diary of the events that transpired. It was a fairly miserable experience. Here’s how all that went:
"Nature, red in tooth and claw." - Alfred, Lord Tennyson
"It's like a freakin' Country Bear Jambaroo around here!" - Homer J. Simpson
Disneynature, the French production arm that's probably something of a tax write-off for the gigundo Walt Disney Corporation, is back with another top-shelf family-friendly naturalist film. 'Bears' is their fifth Earth Day-timed title released to theaters (two others went straight to DVD) and it yet again affords us 80 minutes of sitting in a theater muttering "how the hell did they get that shot?"
When I was a young man and the Internet was new, I made the same joke every time I dialed-up and heard those dissonant, scratchy tones. “Chhhhhhh-CHHHHHH-Chhhhhh” my modem would bray, and as soon as there was silence I'd turn to whomever was in the room and conspiratorially say, "all right, we're in."
'Transcendence,' the first feature film directed by Christopher Nolan's longtime cinematographer Wally Pfister, is two straight hours of that “all right, we're in,” with (slightly) updated peripherals. Featuring more technobabble than a middling episode of 'Star Trek: Voyager,' Rebecca Hall and Johnny Depp star as husband and wife computer geniuses who, along with artificial intelligence labs across the country, are attacked by a band of “neo-Luddite” terrorists.
A horror movie has one job really: be scary. Beyond that, most flaws can be overlooked (at least temporarily). 'Oculus,' a horror movie ostensibly about a haunted mirror, has many flaws (not the least of which is that it's a horror movie about a haunted mirror; a tired premise if there ever was one), but it does one thing very, very well: be scary.
A working knowledge of how the NFL’s somewhat antiquated but weirdly compelling draft system plays out is not necessary to enjoy Ivan Reitman’s ‘Draft Day.’ In fact, such a knowledge base may actually prove detrimental, if only because there’s absolutely no way that the majority of what happens on the big screen ever goes down in real life. Reitman’s latest film – a basically light-hearted sports-centric dramedy – takes places entirely on the eponymous day, following the various highs and lows of a struggling general manager, and while it’s frequently quite entertaining, it also seems as if it was created to appeal to people who find football only vaguely interesting (but who like Kevin Costner a whole lot).
Whereas Tom Hanks' Captain Phillips talked, finessed, sweated and went into shock to rescue his crew, Chris Evans' Captain America jumps onto a hijacked boat from a helicopter without a parachute. His liberation of a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel captured by international terrorists involves flinging himself across the deck; a human pinball with terrorists as his easily neutralized bumpers. Make that a super-human pinball, because as much as Steve Rogers maintains his golly shucks good nature, he is, after all, a Marvel superhero and he's here to save the day in the most preposterous and camera-ready fashion that's possible. Welcome to 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'.