At The Movies
By Sameen Amer
21 Jump Street
Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Ellie Kemper, Rob Riggle, and Ice Cube
Director: Phil Lord and Chris Miller
A nerd (Jonah Hill) and a jock (Channing Tatum) join forces at police academy and eventually end up on a mission to bust a drug ring at a high school, in 21 Jump Street, a comedy resurrection of the ‘80s crime drama television series that starred a young Johnny Depp. The film is intentionally absurd, and misses no opportunity to make fun of its own clichés, and it never forgets to be fun. Well cast and enjoyable, 21 Jump Street also features a cameo appearance by Johnny Depp, which adds another amusing touch to this entertaining flick.
[3.5 stars out of 5]
A Thousand Words
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Kerry Washington, Cliff Curtis,Clark Duke, and Allison Janney
Director: Brian Robbins
A literary agent, Jack McCall, with the habit of stretching the truth to get what he wants, learns a lesson on the importance of every word he speaks in A Thousand Words, a tired comedy drama that stars Eddie Murphy in the lead role. A tree appears in Jack’s backyard, and it loses a leaf for every word he speaks; when all the leaves are gone, both he and the tree will perish. The film’s first and most obvious shortfall is its lack of originality, and the fact that the script is not particularly funny doesn’t really go in the project’s favour. A Thousand Words neither succeeds in delivering laughs, nor gives us much to think about. There are parts of it that have the potential to be touching, but overall this supposed comedy comes off as bland, uninspired, and very predictable. Skip it and you’re not missing much
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Chyler Leigh, JR Bourne, and Tom Berenger
Director: Gabe Torres
A secret service agent (Stephen Dorff) is held captive in the trunk of a car, in Brake, a thriller that takes a worn-out concept and doesn’t do much with it. The film comes off as an even more boring version of Buried. There isn’t much here in the form of a story. It’s a plot that could, and perhaps should, have been unfolded in half as much time instead of stretching it to a full length feature. Worse yet, the filmmakers haven’t succeeded in creating a convincing narrative, which is why the first of the two twists at the end doesn’t come as a surprise; unfortunately, the second one doesn’t satisfy either.
Ice Age 4: Continental Drift
Voice cast: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Keke Palmer, Chris Wedge, Peter Dinklage, Jennifer Lopez, Drake, and Nicki Minaj
Director: Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier
2002’s Ice Age was a fun animated movie; its “sub-zero heroes” cast were endearing, and their amusing antics made for entertaining viewing. Four films on, the Ice Age universe is getting a little crowded, and the fact that they keep adding more daft characters with each instalment is weighing the franchise down. This time, Scrat’s (Chris Wedge) pursuit of that elusive acorn literally reshapes the world, sending Manny (Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary), and Sid (John Leguizamo) on another adventure. Continental Drift is overcrowded, and not subtle and clever like the first film, but it’s still fun. Younger viewers, especially, are likely to enjoy this adventure.
Men in Black 3
Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Emma Thompson
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
A decade after delivering an unsatisfying sequel, the galaxy defenders return for Men in Black 3, an attempt at salvaging the franchise. After a prisoner (Jemaine Clement) escapes from lunar prison and goes back in time to kill Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) who put him there, Agent J (Will Smith) is left with the task of saving his partner and preventing an alien attack on the planet. With impressive performances by Michael Stuhlbarg and especially Josh Brolin who plays a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones’ K, MIB3 shows a marked improvement on its predecessor. Sure the novelty has worn off, and yes there are plot holes, but there are enough amusing touches to keep the viewer interested, and there’s a touching ending that gives more depth to J and K’s relationship. If you liked the first movie, then chances are you will enjoy this one too.
Starring: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer,Nathan Lane, Mare Winningham, Michael Lerner, and Sean Bean
Director: Tarsem Singh
The best word to describe Mirror Mirror is “redundant”. Tarsem Singh has created a film that’s visually pretty but devoid of originality, wit, and excitement. There is nothing new or creative or even interesting about this adaptation of Snow White. As per tradition, the evil queen (Julia Roberts) tries to take over the kingdom, as the exiled princess (Lily Collins) tries to take back the throne with the help of her seven rebel dwarf friends, while both women try to win the affections of prince charming (Armie Hammer). The characters aren’t particularly interesting, the proceedings are predictable and unexciting, and Lily Collins doesn’t have the talent to carry a film. As a result, this half-hearted adaptation just comes off as feeble and unnecessary.
One for the Money
Starring: Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara, Daniel Sunjata, John Leguizamo, Sherri Shepherd, and Debbie Reynolds
Director: Julie Anne Robinson
Forced to work as a bounty hunter after losing her job, Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl) finds herself in pursuit of a former vice cop (Jason O’Mara) who is accused of killing an unarmed man. Cliché ridden and dull, One for the Money is an example of ineptitude all across the board. The director simply doesn’t seem to be in control of the project, and the filmmakers haven’t done themselves any favours by casting Katherine Heigl in the lead role. A comedy that isn’t funny, the film brings Janet Evanovich’s 1994 bestseller to the big screen, but it lacks a convincing plot and believable characters, and drowns everything in rom-com clichés. The story is all over the place and at no time makes even the slightest effort to be realistic or even marginally plausible.
Starring: Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux, Alan Alda, and Malin Åkerman
Director: David Wain
After their financial situation leaves them distressed, a married couple (Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston) find themselves on a commune in David Wain’s excessively raunchy comedy Wanderlust. Powered by its charming leads, the film sets off on a zany trip that ends with an overly neat Hollywood ending. Despite its inconsistency and obviousness, Wanderlust isn’t as abysmal as it could have been, as it wisely relies on its primary asset: the cast. The film puts together a talented set of actors who ensure that Wanderlust offers some laughs and keep the film from being unwatchable.