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Bill Murray, in a role tailored for him, stars as a bitter middle-aged man who becomes the unlikely mentor to a pre-teen boy who’s just moved in next door to him with his newly divorced mother (Melissa McCarthy). Uneven in execution and saddled with a script that leaves many things unexplained, the film is salvaged by the solid work from the entire cast, which includes Naomi Watts and Chris O’Dowd. 2 ½ Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated PG-13. 102 minutes. AMC, CAR, SAV.
Listen Up Philip
Jason Schwartzman stars as Philip Lewis Friedman, a self-absorbed author who leaves his long-suffering girlfriend Ashley (Elisabeth Moss) to spend the summer in the country with his mentor, fellow author Ike Zimmerman (Jonathan Pryce). While it contains more than a few sharply rendered pieces of dialogue, the main problem is that the film focuses on the wrong character, as Friedman is a static boor, while Ashley is a dynamic, interesting person dealing with more pressing matters. 2 ½ Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Not Rated. 108 minutes. ART
This low-budget ($1.2 million) exploitation feature was an international hit (to the tune of $103 million) and introduced the character of Jigsaw to the list of iconic horror characters. Two men (Cary Elwes and Leigh Whannell) awaken in a room, each chained to a pipe, with a dead body between them. They soon find out that they’ve been abducted in order to atone for past sins and must commit unspeakable acts in order to escape. Though crudely made, director James Wan does a masterful job generating a sense of tension that never lets up, while the film’s twists prove to be devilishly clever. 3 Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated R. 103 minutes. (AMC, CAR, SAV.)