Vegas Seven

Short Reviews

  • Short Reviews

    Mama

    By Tribune Media Services

    (PG-13) ★★★☆☆

  • Short Reviews

    Gangster Squad

    By Tribune Media Services

    (R) ★★☆☆☆

  • Short Reviews

    Broken City

    By Tribune Media Services

    (R) ★★★☆☆

  • Short Reviews

    The Last Stand

    By Tribune Media Services

    (R) ★★★☆☆ Arnold is back. The results are OK. Schwarzenegger plays Ray Owens, the sheriff of a sleepy Arizona border town. Little does he know that Mexican gangster Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) has escaped federal custody and is speeding toward them to escape into Mexico. Federal agent Bannister (Forest Whitaker) warns Owens that they’re coming. So it’s up to Owens and his ragtag crew, which includes town eccentric Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville), to block the border. Arnold may be old, but he can still bring the smack down.

  • Short Reviews

    Zero Dark Thirty

    By Tribune Media Services

    (R) ★★★★☆ Director Kathryn Bigelow has accomplished something pretty special in this partially fictionalized yet pseudo-realistic film about the Osama bin Laden manhunt. Jessica Chastain plays Maya, a CIA operative in Pakistan, who ultimately is appropriately sidelined for the climactic raid on bin Laden’s compound. Bigelow strives for immediacy and realism, and the film remains impressively complicated and nonpartisan in its treatment of the events. The best film of 2012.

  • Short Reviews

    Django Unchained

    By Tribune Media Services

    (R) ★★☆☆☆

  • Short Reviews

    The Guilt Trip

    By Tribune Media Services

    (PG-13) ★★★☆☆ Barbra Streisand returns to the big screen here, and the result is not bad. Streisand plays Joyce, the long-widowed mother of inventor Andy (Seth Rogen). Out of guilt, Andy asks Joyce to accompany him on a work trip. The secret mission is to hook up Joyce with a long-lost beau. A tight if formulaic script does well enough, but the performers here do a lot of the lifting. It’s a sweet movie, in its way.

  • Short Reviews

    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    By Tribune Media Services

    (PG-13) ★★★☆☆ This first of three movies to be extracted from J.R.R. Tolkien’s slim novel is moderately engaging. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a homey hobbit ill-suited to dangerous adventures, gets mixed up in just such a quest. Bilbo and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and 13 dwarves set out to reclaim the ravaged kingdom or Erebor. Peter Jackson is up to his old tricks, and it’s pleasant enough, but three films seem a bit extreme and the controversial 48 frames-per-second that Jackson used is awful. See it in 24 if you can.

  • Short Reviews

    Jack Reacher

    By Tribune Media Services

    (PG-13) ★★☆☆☆ This new Tom Cruise vehicle does its work sleekly and well. However, to be honest, it’s a little hard to watch given recent news events. Jack Reacher (Cruise) is off the grid as a cop, ex-military sniper and investigator. An accused killer, coming out of a coma, asks for Reacher to help clear his name. Rosamund Pike plays Helen, the defense attorney who’s on the case. Eventually, it all boils down to The Zec, played with relish by Warner Herzog. It’s a sharp film, but with lots of gun violence.

  • Short Reviews

    Les Misérables

    By Tribune Media Services

    (PG-13) ★★☆☆☆ This film version of the popular French Revolution musical (based on the classic novel) is destined for Oscar nods. That being said, it doesn’t exactly work. Hugh Jackman has the chops to sing his way through as Jean Valjean. Anne Hathaway takes a turn as Fantine and nails her one song, “I Dreamed a Dream.” But otherwise, director Tom Hooper fumbles with a few numbers, moves his camera far too much, and relies on Russell Crowe who can’t really pull off the singing as Javert. It’s just all right.

  • Short Reviews

    This Is 40

    By Tribune Media Services

    (R) ★★★☆☆ In the latest film from Judd Apatow, Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) reprise their roles from Knocked Up. They’ve reached age 40; there are money problems; Pete’s label is on the verge of insolvency; their sex life has cooled; Debbie becomes pregnant again. Rudd and Mann are incredibly skilled comedic actors, and there’s a lot to like here, with Albert Brooks and John Lithgow supporting to boot. But Apatow hesitates going deep enough, starting out well and bravely, and then settling for less.

  • Short Reviews

    Playing for Keeps

    By Tribune Media Services

    (PG-13) ★☆☆☆☆ This romantic comedy follows onetime Scottish soccer star George (Gerard Butler), who finds himself down and nearly out. He’s moved to suburban Virginia to be close to his preteen son. George’s ex (Jessica Biel) is engaged to be remarried. But you never know! Maybe she’ll get back with the vaguely unsympathetic protagonist. The women in the film exist to prop up Butler’s fabulousness. Not a lot to like here.

  • Short Reviews

    Killing Them Softly

    By Tribune Media Services

    (R) ★★★☆☆

  • Short Reviews

    Life of Pi

    By Tribune Media Services

    (PG) ★★★☆☆ Based on Yann Martel’s beautiful little book about a young man and the sea and a tiger, this film transforms into a big, imposing and often lovely 3-D experience. Ang Lee directs and while not all of it works, there is a lot to admire. Pi sets sail with his family on a freighter, accompanying a slew of zoo creatures. Terrible weather. The ship sinks. All die except for Pi, a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker. The adventures and astonishments keep on coming.

  • Short Reviews

    Red Dawn

    By Tribune Media Services

    (PG-13) ★★☆☆☆ In the not-too-distant future, North Korea has invaded American soil. Our only hope is a gaggle of high school kids who form a guerilla army calling itself the Wolverines, after the local football mascot. Chris Hemsworth takes on the old Patrick Swayze role, and there’s enough to like about him and the general reworkings of the 1984 cult-classic. There’s plenty of righteous kills, explosions, patriotic speeches and righteous kills. It’s not a disaster. Just drab.

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