22 Jump Street
Rated R for sexuality, violence, drug use, brief nudity and pervasive profanity
Tatum and Hill Generate Chemistry Again In Hilarious College Campus Adventure
When we last saw LAPD Officers Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum), the partners were handed new identities and sent back to high school in order to crack a teen drug ring. However, that proved easier said than done, especially since the unathletic nerd and the academically-challenged hunk were both a little long in the tooth to pass for seniors.
Now, hard-boiled Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) has ordered the pair of polar-opposites undercover again, this time to masquerade as college students at Metro City State. Their assignment is to find the dealer on campus selling a lethal blend of Adderall and Ecstasy with the street name WHYPHY (as in “Wi-Fi”).
Jenko and Schmidt’s first order of business is to blend-in once they’ve matriculated and moved into the dorm. That proves to be a Herculean challenge, despite Jenko’s enthusiasm about becoming “the first person in my family to pretend to go to college.” For example, when a sociology professor innocently calls on him in class to answer a question about the War on Drugs, he defensively snaps, “Why would you ask me? I’m not a cop.”
Schmidt doesn’t fare much better, when he’s derisively referred to as a “30-year-old eighth grader” by the wisecracking BFF (Jillian Bell) of the cute coed (Amber Stevens) he picks up at a poetry slam on open mic night. Further complicating matters is the fact that only after a consummating the relationship does he learn that the identity of her very overprotective father.
Thus unfolds 22 Jump Street, a worthy sequel which manages to eclipse an already outstanding original. This installment improves on 21 Jump by spinning a more engaging storyline and by further fleshing out the personalities of the likable leads.
The production also features Ice Cube in an expanded role while adding a number of notable support characters in Amber Stevens (daughter of Shadoe Stevens, the voice of the skeleton on The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson) as the love interest, Jillian Bell as her relentlessly-rude roommate, and Kenny and Keith Lucas as the protagonists’ terminally-eccentric dorm mates.
Of course, most of the film’s focus remains on the hapless heroes as they make the most of the belated opportunity to experience college when not attempting to apprehend a most elusive perp. Hang around for the closing credits, and you’ll be treated to ideas being floated for Jump Streets 23, 24 and beyond.
Tatum and Hill generate chemistry aplenty in a laff-a-minute, “bro”-mantic adventure every bit as funny as the first.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 112 minutes
Edge Of Tomorrow
Rated PG-13 for profanity, intense violence and brief sensuality
Tom Cruise Rises To The Occasion As Reluctant Hero In Time-Travel Sci-Fi
William Cage (Tom Cruise) is lucky to have risen to the rank of Major in the U.S. Army without ever seeing any combat, since he can’t stand the sight of blood, not even a paper cut. So, you can imagine his surprise the day that he’s informed by his superior (Brendan Gleeson) that he’ll be shipping out soon toEnglandto lead a D-Day style invasion ofFrance. The aim of the mission is to take backWestern Europefrom an army of intelligent alien invaders called Mimics because of an uncanny ability to stage sophisticated counterattacks.
When Cage attempts to decline the dangerous assignment, General Brigham explains that he’s just been given an order, not an offer. And when he still proves reluctant to obey, he is summarily stripped of his stripes and forced to join a motley unit of troublemakers known as J Squad, operating under the command of a no-nonsense sergeant (Bill Paxton) capable of keeping anybody in line.
Shortly thereafter, they ship out aboard a plane as part of an international squadron of troops which proceeds to parachute onto a beach that looks like a slaughterhouse. The allies’ firepower is being easily overmatched by that of the enemy, and it isn’t long before Cage takes a fatal shot to the chest.
However, he is dead only briefly before finding himself transported back in time to the moment he met Sergeant Farrell a few hours before, when he was roused out of a stupor by the Southerner’s thick drawl of, “On your feet, maggot!” Somehow, Cage has been given a reprieve, a second chance to exhibit expertise and heroics on the battlefield. In fact, he is subsequently killed again and again and, like your typical computer game, is thereby afforded umpteen opportunities to start over and improve his strategy against the seemingly-invincible Mimics.
Cage is ably assisted in this endeavor primarily by Special Forces soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), aka the Full Metal Bitch, the only other person aware of his recently-acquired ability to reincarnate. Therefore, it falls to these two strangers to save the planet from the alien scourge bent on world domination.
Thus unfolds Edge Of Tomorrow, a mind-bending sci-fi based on All You Need Is Kill, a graphic novel originally published by Hiroshi Sakurazaka in Japan in 2004. Directed by Doug Liman (Mr. & Mrs. Smith), this action-oriented thriller revolves around a plot device famously explored in both Groundhog Day (1993) and Source Code (2011).
Nevertheless, Liman has put a refreshing spin on the time machine genre, and keeps you enthralled by holding his cards close to the vest as he keeps you guessing about the series of thoroughly unpredictable developments that transpire. Just when everybody was ready to count Tom Cruise’s career out for the count, not only is he back, but back again and back again and back again, ad infinitum!
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 113 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening June 13, 2014
How To Train Your Dragon 2 (PG for action and mildly rude humor) Animated adventure, set five years after the original, pits Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his faithful pet, Toothless, against a diabolical, cave-dwelling villain (Djimon Hounsou) bent on world domination. Voice cast includes Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, America Ferrara, Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson.
The Amazing Catfish (Unrated) Strange bedfellows dramedy about a lonely supermarket clerk (Ximena Ayala) with appendicitis who finds herself befriended by her hospital roommate (Lisa Owen) and family. Support cast includes Sonia Franco, Wendy Guillen and Andrea Baeza. (In Spanish with subtitles)
Burning Bush (Unrated) Czech docudrama, set in 1969, chronicling the student protests of the Soviet invasion ofPrague launched by a martyr who set himself on fire. Starring Tatiana Pauhofova, Jaroslave Pokorna and Petr Stach. (In Czech with subtitles)
A Coffee In Berlin (Unrated) Tragicomedy about a just-jilted college student (Tom Schilling) who drops out of school after being cut off financially by his father (Ulrich Noethen) only to end up aimlessly wandering around the streets of Berlin. With Katharina Schuttler, Andreas Schroders and Marc Hosemann. (In German and English with subtitles)
Hellion (Unrated) Dysfunctional family drama about a juvenile delinquent (Josh Wiggins), being raised by an emotionally-distant, widowed dad (Aaron Paul), whose anti-social behavior leads Child Protective Services to award custody of his imperiled little brother (Deke Garner) to their very protective aunt (Juliette Lewis). Supporting cast includes Augustine Frizzell, Jonny Mars and Annalee Jeffries.
I Am I (Unrated) Father-daughter drama about the frustrations encountered by a young woman (Jocelyn Towne) who belatedly befriends the brain-damaged dad she’s never known (Kevin Tighe) when he shows up unexpectedly at her mother’s funeral. With Simon Helberg, Jason Ritter and James Morrison.
The Rover (R for profanity and gory violence) Post-apocalyptic drama, set in the Australian Outback a decade after the collapse of civilization, about a hard-boiled army vet’s (Guy Pearce) search for the gang of criminals that stole his only possession. With Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy and David Field.
See You Next Tuesday (Unrated) Dysfunctional family dramedy, set inBrooklyn, about an unemployed, pregnant woman’s (Eleanore Pienta) toxic relationships with her mother (Dana Eskelson), her lesbian sister (Molly Plunk), and her sister’s live-in lover (Keisha Zollar). Support cast features Taylor Dior, Stephan Goldbach and Michele Meises.
The Signal (PG-13 for violence, profanity and mature themes) Sci-fi thriller revolving around a couple of MIT freshmen (Brenton Thwaites and Beau Knapp) driving across the Southwest with a girlfriend (Olivia Cooke) who take an ill-advised detour in the desert at the suggestion of a computer hacker with a hidden agenda. Featuring Laurence Fishburne, Robert Longstreet and Sarah Clarke.
Violette (Unrated) Lesbian biopic about French novelist Violette Leduc (Emmanuelle Devos), a writer remembered for her sexually-explicit passages and as the life mate of Simone de Beauvoir (Sandrine Kiberlain). With Olivier Gourmet, Catherine Hiegel and Jacques Bonaffe. (In French with subtitles)