Rated PG-13 for violence, sexuality and drug use
Adulteress Wife Shamelessly Violates Vows In Latest Tyler Perry Morality Play
I’ll be honest, when I heard that Lionsgate wasn’t screening Temptation for critics, I really expected it to be a dreadful mess. But after entering the theater with very low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised by the latest morality play from Tyler Perry.
No advance peek meant I had to wait until opening day to see the melodramatic soap opera, which in my case was in a sold-out house with a crowd that was about 90 percent black and female. As far as what the sisters thought of the picture, all I needed to hear was the chorus of Amen’s and the robust round of applause during the closing credits.
Still, it’s debatable whether the Christian-themed cautionary tale’s simplistic sermonizing will attract a broader audience beyond that loyal demographic, but I’d guess that it very well might resonate with Evangelicals in general. Plus, don’t discount the box office appeal of reality show sensation Kim Kardashian, who holds her own here in a quite comical supporting role as an opinionated fashionista.
Loosely based on Perry’s 2008 stage production The Marriage Counselor, Temptation is a flashback flick revolving around 26-year-old Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), a naïve country bumpkin employed in Washington, D.C. by Janice (Vanessa Williams), a crafty love guru with a bad French accent but a thriving matchmaking service.
Judith’s been married for six long years to loyal but boring Brice (Lance Gross), her childhood sweetheart and the only man she’s ever slept with. He runs a modest pharmacy in the city that never seems to have any customers. Nevertheless, the place’s atmosphere is kept pretty lively between comic relief coming courtesy of his gossipy, sticky-fingered cashier (Renee Taylor) and the ominous air created by a new employee (Brandy) hiding a big (and I mean BIG!) secret.
College educated Judith dreams of opening her own psychotherapy practice someday, but doesn’t have sufficient funds to do so, presently. That predicament makes her all the more vulnerable to Harley (Robbie Jones), an unscrupulous, dot.com billionaire with money to burn and sexual conquests to make.
The predatory homewrecker zeroes in on Judith while deciding whether to acquire her boss’ business. And before you can say “Mark Zuckerberg” she’s got dollar signs in her eyes and decides to leave her husband for a life of drugs and debauchery with suave Mr. Moneybags.
Brice offers to pay more attention to his wife and to spice up their love life, but is it too late? Can this marriage be saved? A present-day parable preaching to the choir with sobering warnings about the love of money and taking your mate for granted.
The Gospel according to Tyler Perry!
Very Good (3 stars)
Running time: 112 minutes
Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal
Music Box Films
Cannibal Inspires Artist In Unlikely-Buddy Horror Comedy
Once the darling of the art world, Lars Olafssen (Thure Lindhardt) is down on his luck after developing the painter’s equivalent of writer’s block. He’s been reduced to taking a teaching position at a college in rural Koda Lake, Canada, a mythical town located outside Ottawa.
There, he shares an apartment with Eddie (Dylan Smith), a mentally challenged mute. Lars quickly learns that his untalented student obviously only gained admission to the school because he’s the relative of a generous alum.
However, Eddie has bigger issues than being utterly unqualified, for he not only sleepwalks at night, but attacks and devours humans while in that somnambulant state. But rather than have the cannibal arrested, Lars lets his roommate embark on a reign of terror, since the bloodletting has simultaneously provided the spark of inspiration he’s been missing as a painter.
Soon, with his popularity restored, Lars even finds himself pursued by an attractive colleague (Georgina Reilly). Will he ever help the police (Paul Braunstein) crack the case, or does his man-eating muse merely mean too much to his revitalized career?
That is the question at the heart of Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal, a dark comedy written and directed by Boris Rodriguez. While a tad too understated and perverted to make this critic laugh, the film’s tongue-in-cheek brand of humor is nevertheless likely to resonate with cerebral types blessed with a taste for the droll and the bizarre.
An unlikely-buddy horror flick which figured a viable way of walking a fine line between the sadistic and the sublime.
Good (2 stars)
Running time: 90 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening April 5, 2013
Evil Dead (R for profanity, sexuality, graphic violence and gratuitous gore). Grisly remake of the Sam Raimi horror classic revolving around five friends who unwittingly arouse a dormant demon they stumble upon while vacationing at a cabin in the woods. Ensemble cast featuring Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas and Elizabeth Blackmore.
Jurassic Park (PG-13 for intense sci-fi terror). 3D rerelease of Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Michael Crichton’s bestseller about man-eating dinosaur clones running amok at a prehistoric theme park located on a tropical isle. Starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Samuel L. Jackson.
6 Souls (Unrated). Supernatural crime thriller about a recently-widowed, forensic psychologist (Julianne Moore) who becomes concerned about her family’s safety after discovering that all but one of a patient’s (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) multiple personalities resemble victims of unsolved murders. With Brooklynn Proulx, Frances Conroy and Jeffrey DeMunn.
The Brass Teapot (R for sexuality, profanity, violence and drug use). Juno Temple and Michael Angarano co-star in this adaptation of the comic book series of the same name about a cash-strapped couple that steals an antique which proceeds to reward them with money whenever they hurt themselves or others. Co-starring Alexis Bledel, Alia Shawkat and Matt Walsh.
The Company You Keep (R for profanity). Political thriller about a former ‘60s radical (Robert Redford), still wanted for murder, who becomes desperate to clear his name before his identity is revealed by an investigative journalist (Shia LeBeouf) on the verge of blowing his cover. A-list ensemble includes Academy Award winners Susan Sarandon, Chris Cooper, Julie Christie and director/star Redford, and Oscar nominees Terrence Howard, Anna Kendrick, Stanley Tucci, Nick Nolte and Richard Jenkins.
Down The Shore (R for profanity and drug use). Romance drama set on the Jersey Shore, where the lives of three friends since childhood start to unravel after a dark secret from the past is revealed. Starring James Gandolfini, Famke Janssen and Maria Dizzia.
Free Angela And All Political Prisoners (Unrated). Reverential biopic about Angela Davis chronicling why the controversial socialist professor-turned-black radical became a fugitive after landing on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.
Lucky Bastard (NC-17 for explicit sexuality). Found footage horror flick about a fan (Jay Paulson) who comes to regret answering an adult website’s invitation to have sex with his favorite porn star (Betsy Rue). With Don McManus, Chris Wylde and Catherine Annette.
No Place On Earth (PG-13 for mature themes and violent images). World War II documentary recounting the ordeal of five Jewish families who survived the Holocaust by hiding in caves in the Ukraine.
Simon Killer (Unrated). Romance drama about a just-dumped college grad (Brady Corbet) who moves from the U.S. to Paris where sleeping with a prostitute (Mati Diop) leads to blackmail and betrayal. With Alex Desjoux, Marc Gaviard and Alexandra Neil. (In French and English with subtitles)
Trance (R for profanity, sexuality, violence, graphic nudity and grisly images). UK crime thriller, directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle (for Slumdog Millionaire), about an auctioneer with amnesia (James McAvoy) who hires a hypnotist (Rosario Dawson) for help remembering where he hid the priceless painting he stole to pay off a debt owed to a ruthless mobster (Vincent Cassel). Featuring Danny Sapani, Matt Cross and Wahab Sheikh.
Upstream Color (Unrated). Surreal sci-fi saga about a man (Shane Carruth) and a woman (Amy Seimetz) who are drawn together before becoming entangled in the lifecycle of an ageless organism. With Andrew Sensenig, Thiago Martins and Frank Mosley.