Capsule reviews of the weekend’s new movie releases. Should you see it, wait for DVD, or skit it altogether? We lay it out below.
SEE IT NOW!
We Are The Best!: A brilliant, keenly observed Swedish film from Lukas Moodysson (Together) about a trio of 13-year-old girls who form a punk band in early-’80s Stockholm. Equal parts wry and wrenching, Moodysson’s film is a perfectly wrought time-capsule of the age in one’s life when many such improbable ideas can still be fulfilled. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
How To Train Your Dragon 2: This sequel finds Viking kid Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his good buddy dragon, Toothless (Randy Thom), discovering an ancient cave stockpiled with hundreds of wild dragons. From all accounts, it does much to capture the magic of the original, according to critical and fan response alike. And in blockbuster season, that’s about as ringing an endorsement as you’re likely to get. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
22 Jump Street: Well, you have to give this much to red-hot directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie). This riotous sequel to their 21 Jump Street send-up doesn’t shy away from the highly problematic conundrum of a lot of comedy sequels: making a fun movie that is meant to be almost identical to the first. The boys succeed by actually incorporating it into the action, adding various meta elements, including a thinly veiled discussion about the nature of rehashing the exact same plot again. Only here, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), have to infiltrate a college, instead of a high school. Pretty amusing times ensue. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
WAIT FOR DVD
Borgman: Sadly not about a swamp creature who terrorizes a small town in the Everglades. Alex van Warmerdam’s Dutch thriller instead involves a mysterious vagrant who arrives at the doorstep of a well-to-do couple’s abode, and quickly inserts himself into the lives of them and their young family. While it might sound an awful lot like Down and Out in Beverly Hills (itself based on the French Boudu Saved From Drowning), Mr. van Warmerdam is going for something a good deal more hallucinatory and unsettling. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon: A loving documentary from Beth Aala and Mike Meyers (yes, that Mike Meyers) about his good friend, legendary Hollywood insider and artist manager Shep Gordon, who, in the course of his long and varied career, managed musical artists as diverse as Alice Cooper and Blondie, invented the concept of the celebrity chef, and befriended the Dalai Lama. As befitting such a figure, many celebs, including Sly Stallone, Michael Douglas, and Willie Nelson, all speak to the man’s generosity, eloquence, and ineffable spirit. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68%
The Signal: A peculiar — but stylish — sci-fi mystery thriller from young gun William Eubank. Effectively creepy if not terribly coherent, the story concerns a trio of friends who inadvertently discover a terrifying secret our government is trying to keep under wraps. It might not feel fully baked — it lacks the intellectual heft and cleverness of the best of its genre brethren — but it does have the dour conviction of an indie allowed to forge its own path. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%
Alone Yet Not Alone: If the title wasn’t enough to turn you off, this “based on a true story” tale of war, cruelty and fidelity to God set in 18th century mid-America sounds as if it were looped together from outtakes of all the other earnest religious flicks that have suddenly found a purchase on our weekly film releases. Lest anyone thinks we’re just being unduly biased against zealous religious fare, the critical buzz on this one has been shall we say, a bit less than fervent. Rotten Tomatoes Score: n/a
The Grand Seduction: This isn’t intended as an outright condemnation of this film — which concerns a small fishing village in Canada that needs a town doctor (Taylor Kitsch) in order to secure a big business venture that can save the region from going bankrupt. It sounds like a genial enough enterprise, but the whole “big city doctor is forced to come to a small town and winds up falling in love with it” thing is a bit played out. Also, we’re more than willing to give actors another chance, but Mr. Kitsch is really going to have to convince us of something after having to endure Battleship. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63%