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What Are You Seeing This Weekend? ‘The Big Wedding’ of ‘Mud’ & ‘Pain & Gain’ To Be Held In Theaters

What Are You Seeing This Weekend? 'The Big Wedding' of 'Mud' & 'Pain & Gain' To Be Held In Theaters

The spirit of adventure is strong for this weekend’s slate of releases. We begin with the nostalgic and beautiful 1950s-era actioner about Thor Heyerdahl and his raft voyage across the Pacific Ocean — exploring, so exciting! But there are also expeditions of a tamer, more modern sort. Michael Bay will be returning to the silver screen with loud music and ‘roided-up robbers. Matthew McConaughey gets a boat stuck in a tree. An assassin must expose corrupt American government officials and rescue a pretty CIA analyst, set to the tune of flying bullets and explosions (oddly, Bay didn’t direct this one). Also, a young couple embarking on the age-old expedition of marriage. So cinephiles, if you’re feeling daring — lace up those boots, mark out the route, pack your GORP and let us know in the comments how you plan to spend your weekend in Adventureland.

Pain & Gain.” Directed by Michael Bay. Starring
Mark Wahlberg

Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Rob Corddry, Ken Jeong, Rebel Wilson, and Ed Harris. Our review: “One would have hoped that
Bay, taking a brief detour away from the land of Hasbro toy
adaptations — of which, it should be said, are at least visually
thrilling if far too melodramatic — might re-inspire the filmmaker. But
comedy requires a mastery of tone and nuance that Bay doesn’t seem to
possess beyond his on and off switch of loud and boisterous. Michael
Bay’s crime doesn’t pay themes and his ambition to do something new is
stolen by his desire to play things safe and stupid.” Metacritic: 44 Rotten Tomatoes: 48% The Playlist: D+

The Big Wedding.” Directed by Justin Zackham. Starring Robert De Niro, Katherine

Diane Keaton
Amanda Seyfried

Topher Grace
, Ben Barnes, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams
. The bevy of talent makes this sentimental, predictable, unfunny farce mildly watchable. At only 90 minutes, and with a cast that sports 5 Oscars (and 15 more nominations!) between them, that’s really saying something. MC: 30 RT: 0%
Mud.” Directed by Jeff Nichols. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob LoflandReese Witherspoon, Michael Shannon, Sarah Paulson, Ray McKinnon, and Sam Shephard. Our review: “Is ‘Mud’ the kind of revisionist genre piece that Quentin Tarantino or Nicolas Winding Refn
would make? No, it is not. Nichols is after a more emotionally
satisfying, less overtly stylish (read: cool) experience. He values that
we care about his characters first and foremost, so when the action and
other, more familiar and entertaining elements arrive in his films, the
audience is so invested (if the film is working) that you can’t imagine
losing them. He understands the necessity of consequences and stakes in
drama, even if they come from an intimate place.” MC: 70 RT: 94% PL: A

Kon-Tiki.” Directed by Espen Sandberg and Joachim Ronning. Starring Pal Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Gustaf Skarsgard, Odd Magnus Williamson, Tobias Santelmann, Jakob Oftebro, and Agnes Kittelsen. Our review: “There is little more to ‘Kon-Tiki’ than a fun, handsomely-mounted,
old-style adventure story. And as impressive a feat as that is to
achieve, especially outside of Hollywood, which kind of specialises in
this sort of thing, those looking for something with more depth from
this category may come away a little disappointed.” MC: 67 RT: 82% PL: B

The Numbers Station.” Directed by Kasper Barfoed. Starring John Cuasck, Malin Akerman, Liam Cunningham, and Lucy Griffiths. Recipe: government conspiracy + an assassin with a guilty conscience + CIA analyst whose post gets attacked + romance + shootouts + hinting towards psychological thriller beats + those beats never pay off. Result: a weird and uninspiring mash-up of “Grosse Pointe Blank” and “Safe House.” MC: 48 RT: 17%

The Reluctant Fundamentalist.” Directed by Mira Nair. Starring Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber, and Om Puri. Our review: “There is stuff that works well in the film. When Nair is on home
suddenly comes alive. But it’s too little, too late, and the lack of
subtlety with which she’s tackled the rest of the material, William Wheeler’s
lacklustre script and the uneven performances mean that the picture
ultimately feels like a chore, even despite Ahmed’s excellent turn.” MC: 57 RT: 62% PL: D+

Midnight’s Children.” Directed by Deepa Mehta. Starring Satya Bhabha, Shahana Goswami, Rajat Kapoor, and Seema Biswas. Trying to fit his novel’s powerful allegories and detailed prose into a two-and-a-half hour movie might have been a mistake on the part of co-screenwriter Salman Rushdie: the end product feels emotionally weak and underdeveloped, but drags on too long. Quite simply, the story (at least this version of it) doesn’t translate particularly well to the cinematic medium. MC: 53 RT: 44%

Arthur Newman.” Directed by Dante Ariola. Starring

Colin Firth, Emily Blunt,

Anne Heche,
David Andrews
, Kristin Lehman,
and Sterling Beaumon
. Our review: “This is not the stuff of stirring humanist drama, but rather a bland
scenario about boring people that want to mature but have no idea how.
It’s intentionally underdone, but only to a point.” MC: 48 RT: 29% PL: D

An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty.” Directed by and starring Terence Nance. Also starring Namik Minter, Chanelle Pearson, and Tabilah Lateefah Newman. Formal and narrative experimentation result in a contemplative, poignant, and very believable account of one man’s self-examination through the experience of falling in love. Nance proves himself an artist, and one worth watching. MC: 70 RT: 82%

Tai Chi Hero.” Directed by Stephen Fung. Starring Xiaochao Yuan, Angela Yeung Wing, Eddie Peng, Daniel Wu, Qi Shu, and Tony Leung Ka Fai. The sequel to last year’s “Tai Chi Zero” picks up right where its predecessor left off, but fails to carry on any of its thoughtfulness or innovation, replacing them with overloaded visuals. MC: no score yet RT: no score yet

Paradise: Love.” Directed by Ulrich Seidl. Starring Margarethe Tiesel, Peter Kazungu, Inge Maux, and Maria Hofstatter.
Our review: “Challenging, complex and frequently ugly, ‘Paradise: Love’
is a ruthless
exploration of how unlike our everyday selves we can behave when we’re
‘on holiday,’ and how much that illuminates who we really are.” MC: 73
RT: 63% PL: B+

Sun Don’t Shine.” Directed by Amy Seimetz. Starring Kate Lyn Sheil and Kentucker Audley. Our review: “It’s an interesting hybrid of the relationship movie, mumbly indie and
dark murder film, and the combination works here, for the most part. The
storytelling is the weakest part of the film, which feels more like a
half-drawn sketchy portrait of a troubled woman. However, the potential
seen in the talent here makes us look forward to more from Seimetz,
Sheil and Audley.” MC: 65 RT: 91% PL: B-

Graceland.” Directed by Ron Morales. Starring Arnold Reyes, Menggie Cobarrubias, Dido Dela Paz, and Leon Miguel.
Our review: “Mezmerizing in fits and starts, ‘Graceland’ doesn’t
coalesce into the ‘important’ thriller it seeks to be.” MC: 63
RT: 75% PL: B

At Any Price” opened Wednesday. Directed by Ramin Bahrani. Starring Dennis Quaid, Zac Efron, Heather Graham, Kim Dickens, Maika Monroe, and Clancy Brown. Our review: “We can see why some might not roll with the melodramatic plotting and
the less-than-opaque metaphors. But for all its flaws, we found the film
powerful, engaging and, by the finale, moving. And in the end, ‘At Any
Price’ is certainly one of the most impressive reactions to the recent
economic crisis (because that’s exactly what it is) that cinema has
produced so far.” MC: 61 RT: 63% PL: B

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