What If (Starts Friday)
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan star as two aimless young people who decide to be best friends, though they’re obviously aware of the physical and emotional connection between them. More annoying than appealing, these two performers are forced to recite lines that sound like witty dialogue not genuine conversation. Neither is skilled enough to bring any life or a different perspective to this material, which ends up being a long haul to an inevitable conclusion. 2 Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated PG-13. 102 minutes. PG-13. 95 minutes.
Boyhood (Starts Friday)
Richard Linklater’s dynamic chronicle charts the maturity of a small boy to manhood in an innovative and ultimately poignant manner as the director cast Ellar Coltrane as Mason at the age of seven and then filmed each summer until he was 18 year-old so that we can watch this young man grow up before our eyes. Not much in the way of plot happens – we simply see him experience the sorts of events we all encounter on our way to adulthood – but it’s all done in such a matter-of-fact way that we feel as though we’re eavesdropping on the character’s most intimate, formative moments. With Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason’s parents, the cumulative, emotional effect of the film is profoundly moving and sincere, making this one of the best films of the year. 4 Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated R. 165 minutes.
The Expendables 3 (Starts Friday)
Sylvester Stallone and his geriatric band of mercenaries are back, this time to take down an arms dealer (Mel Gibson) who happens to be a former member of the group. This is standard macho mayhem, but Gibson, with the old twinkle back in his eye, is quite good as the villain while Harrison Ford’s quiet, tough guy persona is put to good use as a CIA operative. 2 ½ Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated PG-13. 126 minutes.
Let’s Be Cops
Ryan (Jake Johnson) and Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) are two buddies who, when they dress up as cops for a costume party, are mistaken for the real thing. Comedic mayhem ensues. Though this sort of thing has been done before, the chemistry between the two leads makes this more fun than you’d expect. 2 1/2 Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated R. 104 minutes.
Calvary (Starts Friday)
Brendan Gleeson gives a profoundly moving performance as Father James, the only man of faith in an Irish village who’s told by one of parishioners during confession that he will kill him in a week’s time. The film covers the ensuing seven days and as James gets his house in order, we come to realize that almost everyone in his flock is corrupt, without faith and immune to his sound advice, yet the man-of-the-cloth remains true to his beliefs regardless. A blistering diatribe leveled towards the Catholic Church, writer/director John Michael McDonagh delivers a thought-provoking, engaging story that stays true to its intentions in presenting a portrait of a truly heroic man who refuses to compromise even in the most dire circumstances. 4 Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated R. 100 minutes.
Scroll down to hear Chuck talk about these on today’s show…
A Most-Wanted Man (Starts Friday)
This adaptation of the John le Carre novel follows the international turmoil caused when a half-Russian, half-Chechen immigrant shows up in Hamburg to claim a vast fortune left to him by his father. Questions about his identity arise and it’s up to Gunther Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to determine if this stranger intends to use the money for terrorist activities and if he can stop him from getting it. Rated R. 122 minutes.
From last week:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
This big budget ($125 million!) reboot provides an origin story for the hardshell, pizza-eating warriors who are forced to go toe-to-toe with their archenemy Shredder while the fate of New York City hangs in the balance. Though the story is what you expect, there’s no question that the turtles have never appeared so tangible as they do this time around. The motion-capture effects and animation are top-notch and Megan Fox is good in a thankless role. 2 ½ Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated PG-13. 101 minutes.
The Hundred-Foot Journey
A case of culture clash is at the center of this adaptation of the Richard Morais novel about the owner of a French restaurant (Helen Mirren) who is threatened by an Indian eatery that opens up across the street from her. An expected love story develops between her and her older Indian competitor (Om Puri), while sparks fly between his son Hassan (Manish Dayal, who’s a brilliant chef, and a comely young woman (Charlotte Le Bon) who competes with him in the kitchen. Pleasant enough, there are few surprises as fine cuisine helps set the stage for love to triumph. 2 ½ Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated PG. 122 minutes.
Chuck’s Classic Picks:
Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic is nothing more than a haunted house film set in space but the atmosphere that’s created and the distinctive production design and horrific creature at its core provide a fresh take on the movie’s basic premise. As the crew of the spaceship Nostromo, which has answered a distress call, fall victim to the constantly changing creature that lurks in the shadows, crewmember Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) emerges as the only one who can keep her wits about her to combat the threat. The film’s effects and sets still look fresh and vibrant today while the movie continues to shock new viewers. 3 ½ Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated R 117 minutes.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Steven Spielberg’s homage to the cliffhanger serials of the 1940’s features iconic archeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) for the first time, as he sets out to recover the Ark of the Covenant from a group of Nazis intent on harnessing its mystical powers. Spectacular action sequences butt up one against the other while the inherent ridiculousness of the entire affair is acknowledged throughout. Ford’s contribution cannot be overlooked as he gives us a resourceful hero with feet of clay who provides a center for the chaos that swirls about him. Nominated for nine Oscars, this classic can only be appreciated on the big screen. 4 Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated PG. 115 minutes