Short Reviews

The Perfect Game (PG) ★★★☆☆

A sweetly mannered sports movie with lots of heart that’s ideal for introducing baseball to young fans. It’s 1957 Monterrey, Mexico and former Cincinnati Reds ballboy Cesar (Clifton Collins Jr.) coaches a group of ragtag child ballplayers to play in the Little League World Series. It’s based on a true story of the only “perfect game” (when a pitcher never allows a runner to ever get on base) in the league’s championship history.

The Clash of the Titans (PG-13) ★★★☆☆

In spite of a miscast Sam Worthington as Perseus and a lame CGI Medusa, Titans is an enjoyable spectacle based on the myth of Perseus. Director Louis Leterrier (Transporter 2) makes the most of big action set pieces that include intense battles. To all the critical moaning about this update of Desmond Davis’ 1981 original, I say pishaw. Solid performances from Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes add gravitas.

Hot Tub Time Machine (R) ★★☆☆☆

Considering John Cusack produced this lackluster comedy romp wherein three buddies (Rob Corddry, Cusack and Craig Robinson) travel back to their ’80s-era heyday, Time Machine should at least feature some cool music—instead, we get Poison and Mötley Crüe. Chevy Chase is wasted in a minor role, as is Crispin Glover. Homosexual hijinks and poorly executed slapstick punches and pratfalls attend this sloppy comedy.

Chloe (R) ★★☆☆☆

In this formulaic suspense, Julianne Moore’s Catherine hires local call girl Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) to discover if her husband David (Liam Neeson), can be tempted into cheating. Eric Cressida Wilson’s script places Chloe as the protagonist, then backpedals between the couple and their son (Max Thieriot). The film slips into a predictable dilemma that punishes the audience for its curiosity about the title character.

Date Night (PG-13) ★★★☆☆

Date Night is a middle-aged romantic comedy that splits between overplayed situational slapstick gags and saucy comic delivery from its compatible leads. As Phil and Claire Foster, a New Jersey wedded couple of 10 years, Tina Fey and Steve Carell are perfectly plausible and easy on the funny bone. The problem is screenwriter Josh Klausner’s hackneyed story that puts the couple on the run from a couple of bad-apple cops in a case of mistaken identity. Pumped-up cameos from the likes of Mark Wahlberg, Ray Liotta, James Franco and Mila Kunis do little to distract from a sophomoric script that never should have been green-lit. Even the film’s centerpiece car-chase sequence is a thing of inert comic value. Fey and Carell deserve better. Their effortless comic timing together is the only thing to recommend Date Night, but that’s enough to make it worth your time.

The Runaways (R) ★★★☆☆

Runaways follows the crash-and-burn experiences of the 1970s all-girl rock band of the same name. Dakota Fanning delivers her best work as the band’s bisexual lead singer, while Kristen Stewart channels Joan Jett. But Michael Shannon steals the show as their famously eccentric producer. Debut filmmaker Floria Sigismondi is keen on meta meaning, while Joan Jett and record producer Kenny Laguna executive produced.