Rated R for disturbing violence and scenes of terror
Paranormal Investigation Revisited In Fact-Based Horror Flick
In 1952, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) founded the New England Society For Psychic Research. Back then, the couple also began devoting a wing of their home to a museum of occult artifacts they would collect over the course of their long career.
Lorrainewas a celebrated clairvoyant and medium while her World War II veteran husband was the only non-ordained demonologist recognized by the Catholic Church. As a team, they would investigate thousands of reports of haunted houses over the years, most notably, The Amityville Horror.
The Conjuring, directed by James Wan (Saw), revisits one of theWarrens’ lesser-known cases. Set in 1971, the film unfolds in Harrisville, Rhode Island, where they were summoned to the secluded, lakefront home of Roger (Ron Livingston) and Carolyn Perron (Lily Taylor).
The Perrons had recently moved into the old farmhouse with their five young daughters (Mackenzie Foy, Joey King, Hayley McFarland, Shanley Caswell and Kyla Deaver), initially ignoring several telltale signs that the place had bad energy, such as their pet pooch’s refusal to enter the premises. In addition, the smell of rotting meat would periodically permeate the air, and they would awaken every morning to discover that their clocks had stopped running at precisely 3:07 AM.
Nevertheless, as optimistic new owners, the Perrons did their best to adjust to the disconcerting disturbances, only to have the supernatural spirit gradually up the ante. Before long, it was shaking paintings off the wall, toying with an antique music box and knocking loudly three times in the middle of the night, an ostensible insult to the Holy Trinity.
Mr. Perron was particularly frustrated by these developments, given that as a truck driver, he often had to be away from his family for as long as a week at a stretch. The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back arrived when the evil escalated from annoyances to the demonic possession of a loved one.
And when theVaticandragged its feet about sending an exorcist to the scene, the Perrons enlisted the assistance of theWarrensout of sheer desperation. What ensues is a classic battle between God and the devil heavily laden with lots of Christian symbolism.
Provided you aren’t offended by an obvious, faith-based agenda suggested by exchanges like “Are you baptized?” “No.” “You might want to rethink that,” this film otherwise proves to be a deceptively frightening, old-fashioned screamer which does a masterful job of ever so slowly ratcheting up the terror. The most spine-tingling exorcist flick since, well, The Exorcist!
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 112 minutes
20th Century Fox
Rated PG for mild action and mature themes
Speedy Snail Enters Indy 500 In Family-Oriented Animated Adventure
Theo (Ryan Reynolds) is routinely ridiculed by his friends for entertaining what they see as the impossible dream of one day competing in theIndianapolis500. Even his brother, Chet (Paul Giamatti), suggests that, “The sooner you accept the reality of your existence, the happier you’ll be.”
After all, Theo is just your garden variety, suburban snail and thus so slow he can barely get out of the way of a lawnmower or a kid on a tricycle. But that hasn’t stopped him from permanently painting the number “5” and racing stripes right on his shell.
Theo whiles away his days dining on tomatoes that have ripened on the vine and fallen to the ground. At night, however, he retreats to his lair to watch tv and see drivers like his hero, Frenchman Guy Gagne (Bill Hader), fly around racetracks at over 200 miles per hour.
Everything changes the day Theo is inadvertently sucked into the engine of a passing automobile and accidentally injected with nitrous oxide. By the time he is deposited back on the ground somewhere in the inner city, the slowpoke slug has been transformed into the speed demon Turbo thanks to the luminescent laughing gas now coursing through his veins.
Soon, the motoring mollusk becomes the latest internet sensation and is welcomed to the ‘hood by a posse of streetwise slugs led by mellow Smoove Move (Snoop Dogg), trash-talking Whiplash (Samuel L. Jackson) and flirtatious Burn (Maya Rudolph). He also finds human benefactors in the kindly co-owners of Dos Bros Tacos, a mobile Mexican restaurant.
Not surprisingly, all of the above, including the food cart, make their way from L.A. to Indiana, with altruistic Angelo (Luis Guzman) and Tito’s (Michael Pena) life savings covering the Indy 500 entrance fee. At the track, it’s no surprise that the race ultimately morphs into an exciting showdown between Turbo and his idol, Guy.
Marking the masterful directorial debut of David Soren, Turbo is a visually captivating and inspirational modern parable guaranteed to keep the tykes perched on the edge of their seats for the duration. For, besides its uplifting, overcoming the odds message, the movie fills the screen with a memorable menagerie of colorful characters who keep the laughs coming en route to the satisfying resolution.
A hilarious, high-octane variation of Aesop’s fable about The Tortoise And The Hare!
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 96 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening July 17 2013
Red 2 (PG-13 for profanity, drug use and pervasive violence) Espionage thriller finds former CIA Agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) coaxed back out of retirement and reunited with his elite team of spies to track down a portable nuclear bomb that’s landed in the hands of terrorists. With Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
R.I.P.D. (PG-13 for violence, profanity, sensuality and sexual references) Fantasy comedy about a recently deceased cop (Ryan Reynolds) who tries to solve his own murder with the help of a new partner (Jeff Bridges) after joining a police department for the undead. Support cast includes Kevin Bacon, James Hong and Mary-Louise Parker.
The Act Of Killing (Unrated) Macabre musical documentary in which Indonesian death squad leaders reenact real-life mass executions in a manner mimicking the classic Hollywood films they so admire. (In English and Indonesian with subtitles)
Big Words (Unrated) Dream deferred drama, set on the eve of Obama’s history-making election, revolving around a once-promising rap trio’s (Dorian Missick, Gbenga Akinnagbe and Darien Sills-Evans) reminiscing while speculating about what led to their break-up 15 years earlier. With Yaya Alafia, Zachary Booth, Jean Grae and Amir Arison.
Broken (Unrated) Loss of innocence drama, set in North London, about an 11-year-old girl (Eloise Laurence) whose life is irreversibly altered after she witnesses a violent attack. With Cillian Murphy, Tim Roth and Rory Kinnear.
Colossus (Unrated) Mark Hendrickson wrote, directed, produced and stars in this musical mockumentary as a con artist who sets out to tour Russia as the frontman for a faux heavy metal band. Featuring Polina Belenkaya, Elena Dudina and Valery Novikov. (In English and Russian with subtitles)
Computer Chess (Unrated) Artificial Intelligence comedy, set in the ‘80s, about a tournament showdown between humans and game-playing machines equipped with state-of-the-art software. Starring Kriss Schludermann, Tom Fletcher and Wiley Wiggins.
D-Day (Unrated) Haunted house thriller revolving around four roommates at a female boarding school who find themselves beset by fresh visions of a fire that had swept across campus years earlier. Cast includes Ri-na Kim, Joo-Hee Yoo, Eun-kyeong Kim and Jin-yong Heo. (In Korean with subtitles)
Girl Most Likely (PG-13 for sexuality and profanity) Dysfunctional family comedy about a suicidal, struggling playwright (Kristen Wiig) who moves back to Jersey from Manhattan to live with her gambling-addicted, ex go-go dancer mother (Annette Bening). With Matt Dillon, Christopher Fitzgerald and Darren Criss.
Iceberg Slim: Portrait Of A Pimp (R for profanity, sexuality and violence) Pink Caddy documentary examining the life of the legendary Chicago pimp-turned-bestselling author (1918-1992). Featuring commentary by Snoop Dogg, Ice-T and Quincy Jones.
Only God Forgives (R for profanity, sexuality, gruesome images and graphic violence) Ryan Gosling stars in this grisly crime thriller, set inBangkok, about a drug dealer pressured by his mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) to avenge the death of his brother (Tom Burke) while in the custody of a crooked police officer (Vithaya Pansringarm). With Byron Gibson, Danai Thiengdham and Gordon Brown.