Reviews to help you choose for April 11, 2013

April 10, 2013 

ADMISSION 2 1/2 stars. Tina Fey stars as a Princeton admissions officer, Paul Rudd is a hippe-dippie progressive school head lobbying for one of his students, in this odd mix of romantic comedy, improbable soap and Ivy League satire. 1 hr. 57 PG-13 (sex, profanity, adult themes)

THE CALL 2 stars. A sordid slice of abduction porn, with Halle Berry as a veteran 911 operator who is not, no way, never, going to let the 16-year-old girl trapped in the trunk of a psycho’s car disappear and die. Abigail Breslin displays a wide range of shrieks, squeals, yelps and sobs as the victim, and Morris Chestnut is Berry’s LAPD cop boyfriend. 1 hr. 34 R (violence, profanity, adult themes)

THE CROODS 2 1/2 stars. DreamWorks’ latest animated blockbuster is a visually dazzling, if a little empty-headed, 3-D feast for the eyes. Nicolas Cage stars as the patriarch of a prehistoric caveman family who are forced to go on a road trip when their cave is destroyed. Emma Stone plays his adventurous daughter and Ryan Reynolds her love interest, a more evolved man who introduces the family to fire, cooking and tool-making. The flick is breezy, diverting and fun, tough it lacks the inspired wit that made “Shrek” a classic. 1 hr. 38 PG (some scary action)

EVIL DEAD (Rating not available): This remake of the 1981 horror classic about five teens besieged by evil forces in the woods is not your typical do-over cash-in. The creators of the original film – Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Rob G. Tapert – served as producers and oversaw the making of the film. It marks the feature debut of Uruguayan filmmaker Fede Alvarez, who certainly loves the gory stuff. Barf bags may be required. 1 hr. 31 R

THE HOST 2 1/2 stars. Stephenie Meyer’s follow-up to the blockbuster “Twilight” series is a fun, if mildly silly sci-fi romance big on character and light on explosions about an invasion by tiny aliens who burrow into the human body, using it as a host. Opposing them is a ragtag group of survivors led by an eccentric scientist (William Hurt) and his niece (the remarkable Saoirse Ronan), the first person whose personality survives when she’s taken as a host. A two-in-one heroine, she’s embroiled in a love rectangle with two fellow survivors (Max Irons and Jake Abel). 2 hrs. 05 PG-13 (adult situations, some violence, creepy-looking aliens)

IDENTITY THIEF 2 1/2 stars. Jason Bateman is the mark whose identity – and credit line – is appropriated by a plus-size, potty-mouthed con artist, played with a (literal) punch by Melissa McCarthy, in this cheesy comedy. When he uncharacteristically goes after her, an odd-couple slapstick road movie ensues. 1 hr. 52 R (profanity, violence, sex, adult themes)

JURASSIC PARK 3D (Rating not available): “See it the way it was meant to be seen!” blare the TV ads for this 3-D upgrade of Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur classic. We don’t know. It looked pretty good the first time around. 2 hr. 6 PG-13

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN 2 1/2 stars. The White House is under siege, but luckily a lone Secret Service agent – a brooding, burly Gerard Butler – is on the loose, sneaking around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. with a headset and some handguns. “Die Hard on the Potomac,” enjoyably tacky, cartoonishly violent. 1 hr. 59 R (violence, profanity, adult themes)

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL 2 stars. James Franco, awake and even kind of animated, is the title character – a carnival magician who gets in over his head when he finds himself in a strange and trippy land populated by Munchkins, Tinkers, Quadlings and a trio of criminally over-dressed and over-madeup witches, played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams. 2 hrs. 10 PG (flying, fanged baboons, intense scares)

QUARTET 3 stars. Dustin Hoffman makes his directing debut – smartly – with this charming and poignant adaptation of the Ronald Harwood stage play about four old friends in a home for retired musicians. Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly star. 1 hr. 38 PG-13 (adult themes)

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK 4 stars. A head-spinning wonder of a movie about love, pain, reinvention, rehabilitation and the totemic power of an NFL franchise, with Bradley Cooper as a guy dealing with bipolar disorder and heartbreak, Jennifer Lawrence as a young widow with her own troubles and woe, and with an amazing supporting cast. From director David O. Russell, based on Matthew Quick’s novel. 2 hrs. 02 R (profanity, sex, drugs, violence, adult themes)

SPRING BREAKERS 2 stars. Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens get down and dirty – joined by James Franco as a silver-toothed, dreadlocked Florida gansta – in Harmony Korine’s fascinating (and stupid) indie conflation of “Girls Gone Wild” and Al Pacino’s “Scarface.” Booze, boobs and bongs, oh my. 1 hr. 34 R (sex, nudity, drugs, profanity, adult themes)

Compiled by MCT

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