Film » Film Capsules

Film Capsules

In theaters this week

The Bourne Legacy The fourth Bourne movie, and first without Matt Damon, at times plays like a Bourne copy, not the next chapter in the franchise. It's not necessarily the fault of Jeremy Renner (who takes over the lead role) or new director Tony Gilroy (who co-wrote the other three movies). The Bourne Legacy often looks like the real thing, but there's something missing in this side story about Aaron Cross, another castoff from the shadowy government agency that made life hell for super-spy Jason Bourne. In fact, the bad guys are now covering their tracks by wiping out every test subject in the shady program that was uncovered in the last couple of movies. But like Bourne, Cross — along with a marked doctor played by series newcomer Rachel Weisz — is one step ahead of them. Overlong, needlessly complicated, and short on the post-007 action sequences that made the Damon movies so great, The Bourne Legacy furthers the story without adding much to it, besides a huge opening for part five. (PG-13) (Michael Gallucci)

The Campaign (R) — When Cam Brady (Will Ferrell), the incumbent congressman of an off-the-map North Carolina district, finally gets an opponent in Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), the shit-slinging begins. Initially, Huggins doesn't stand a chance; his pug-loving persona and slight lisp get him branded with a scarlet O (for odd). After some help from a wealthy duo, Huggins finds his inner politician but loses his sense of decency. The movie's absurd accusations mirror current politics and add cheeky relevance to a plot riddled with dick jokes. Even though Ferrell plays his usual dumb-ass hotshot, The Campaign can't quite compete with his best movies. Still, there are plenty of laughs, even if the ending teeters on the sentimental. (Christina Sterbenz)

Hope Springs (PG-13) — Steve Carell counsels Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones through their 30-year-old marriage, which predictably has hit a few bumps. There are plenty of problems to get through, starting with the usual bedroom ones. Carell's doc suggests solutions — some work (holding each other through the night proves easy enough), some don't (Streep tries to goes down on Jones in a movie theater with disastrous results). Every summer, a movie like this is released to give grownups a reprieve from the superheroes clogging the multiplex. At least this one has a terrific cast, even if, like a marriage, it hits some predictable bumps. (Gallucci)

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (PG) — Jim and Cindy Green live an unremarkable life in a small town best known for its pencil factory. The two are almost creepily obsessed with having a child, and their inability to do so has left them unhappy. After yet another letdown, the young couple soak their depression in booze and make a list of all the qualities they want in their ideal kid. They bury the list in a box in their garden, and through some old-fashioned Disney magic, a little boy named Timothy emerges. For a family film, The Odd Life of Timothy Green is surprisingly creative (it's based on a story by Ahmet Zappa, one of Frank's sons). Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton can get annoying as the overly involved parents, but CJ Adams brings an irresistible charm as Timothy. (Julia Eberle)

The Queen of Versailles (PG) — Around the time of the 2008 stock market crash, Lauren Greenfield was shooting a documentary on the Siegel family, who raked in millions during the housing-market bubble. They pushed the profits toward a 90,000-square-foot home that was still under construction during the crash, becoming a deadweight as the Siegels veered toward financial ruin. The Great Recession presented Greenfield with one hell of an inciting incident: Her characters must change, lest they get swept up and dumped out by a world that can't facilitate their lifestyle anymore. At first, the film resembles a reality TV show, but the results prove far more compelling. Rather than placing judgment, events unfold without intervention. The Queen of Versailles is a detailed snapshot of the nation's financial turmoil, presented through a couple who attained the American dream only to see it decay into an abject nightmare. (Erin Gleeson)

The Dark Knight Rises (PG-13) — This story picks up eight years after Batman (Christian Bale) went into retirement and Gotham branded him a criminal. It takes a hulking psychopath sporting a pain-suppression mask named Bane (Tom Hardy) to bring him back into action. A stellar cast of newcomers (including Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Marion Cotillard) join series veterans Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine in this deep-thinking epic. The film doesn't pack the same visceral punch as its predecessor, but it comes close. It's dark, despairing, rousing, and absolutely brilliant. (Gallucci)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (PG) The third movie based on Jeff Kinney's hit book series for preteens has the same problem as the first two Wimpy Kid outings: Protagonist Greg Heffley (played once again by Zachary Gordon) isn't very likable. He treats his best friend like crap, taking advantage of him to weasel his way into a posh country club, where he plans to spend his summer pursuing a cute classmate. And he lies outright to his dad (Steve Zahn) about his summer job so he doesn't have to take an internship at his father's company. Greg learns to admit his mistakes by the end of the movie, but it doesn't quite redeem his flaws. Kids will like the slapstick humor, but adults will have a hard time sympathizing with such a bratty wimp. (Jeff Niesel)

Ruby Sparks (R) — Calvin (Paul Dano) is a neurotic young writer crumbling under the pressure of his reputation as a literary genius. Then inspiration finally strikes when his shrink asks him to write a story about the fictional Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan), a quirky redheaded painter who also happens to be Calvin's idea of the perfect girlfriend. Through some unexplained movie magic, Calvin wakes up one morning to discover that his dream girl has become a reality and is standing in his kitchen. The movie starts sweet, but quickly turns dark as Calvin finds that he can't handle losing control of his creation. (Julia Eberle)

Step Up Revolution (PG-13) — Step Up Revolution has a message at its core: Don't let anyone determine your fate, Sean (Ryan Guzman) and Emily (Kathryn McCormick) tell each other as they try to overcome life's obstacles. Set in Miami, the fourth movie in the franchise features some incredible choreography made all the more incredible by snazzy 3D. But the plot about disaffected youth looking for meaning through dance is a tired one. (Niesel)

The Watch (R) — After a security guard is murdered in his store, Costco manager Evan (Ben Stiller) vows to catch the killer. When he receives no help from the lazy local cops, he starts a neighborhood watch. At first, no one takes them seriously. Then they stumble across a glowing silver orb that has the power to blow shit up. After responding to a call, they discover an alien at the crime scene, and suddenly the fate of the world is in the hands of this unlikely group of heroes. Most of The Watch's jokes are crude and kinda immature. Still, it's the best movie with aliens and dick jokes since Paul. (Eberle)

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