Childless Couple’s Prayers Answered In Enchanting Fairytale
Jim (Joel Edgerton) and Cindy Green (Jennifer Garner) are very happily-married except for not having any kids. After being informed by Cindy’s gynecologist (Rhoda Griffis) that she can’t conceive, they scribble down all the qualities they’d hoped to pass on to the child they’ll never have, starting with her good heart and his honesty to a fault.
Then, they bury the wish list in a box in the backyard right before a torrential rainfall arrives. To their astonishment a real live boy sprouts up in their garden overnight who, other than having leaves growing out of his legs, seems to be perfectly normal.
What’s more, 10-year-old Timothy (CJ Adams) not only exhibits the positive traits desired by Cindy and Jim, but he refers to them as “Mom” and “Dad” without any prompting. While the Greens are certainly inclined to welcome their miraculous blessing with open arms, they are still hard-pressed to explain the sudden addition to the family to skeptical relatives and friends.
For sensitive Timothy, the adjustment is rather rocky, too, between being teased by bullies at school for wearing long socks, and being rejected at home for not being manly enough by his macho grandfather, Jim, Sr. (David Morse). He even frustrates his mom when she’s fired by her boss (Dianne Wiest) on account of his compulsive frankness.
At least the little lost soul does find a kindred spirit in Joni (Odeya Rush), a shy classmate hiding a painful secret of her own. The harder a time Timothy has trying to measure up to the world’s expectations, the more he retreats to a magical oasis of solitude he shares with this newfound friend.
Directed by Peter Hedges (Pieces Of April), The Odd Life Of Timothy Green is an enchanting fairytale designed for young and old alike. Credit a combination of seamless special effects and a talented cast for making it easy for the audience to suspend disbelief in the face of a supernatural storyline with an implausible premise.
Once that hurdle is scaled, a most-satisfying payoff which tugs on the heartstrings awaits anyone willing to invest in this instant Disney classic. Buy an extra ticket for the box of Kleenex you’ll need to have sitting on the seat beside you.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 125 minutes
The Bourne Legacy
Rated PG-13 for violence and intense action sequences.
Spy Franchise Reboot Features Pill-Popping Potboiler
The prior three installments in the Bourne franchise, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, were all adapted from best-sellers by Robert Ludlum and starred Matt Damon as espionage agent extraordinaire Jason Bourne. The Bourne Legacy represents a major departure in that it’s based on a book by Eric Van Lustbader and only makes slight references to the title character.
In place of Bourne, this reboot revolves around Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), a pill-popping protagonist being turned into a killing machine by way of an experimental CIA program. At the point of departure, we find the unassuming spy on assignment in the Alaskan wilderness where he is very dependent on government issued medication coming in blue and green colors designed to improve his mental and physical abilities, respectively.
However, when he watches a guided missile fired by an American drone blow up the cabin where he’s been training, the sage spy instantly realizes that the Agency inexplicably now wants him dead, and he’s almost out of the drugs he’s become utterly dependent upon. This sets in motion the sort of frenetic, high body-count race against time we’ve come to expect of every Bourne episode.
The adrenaline-fueled adventure first brings our peripatetic hero in from the cold for a fix as well as for some answers. But he’s only frustrated back at headquarters where he determines that a yellow pill recently added to his regimen has already killed his other colleagues in the top secret Blackbriar Program.
After convincing the gorgeous medical researcher (Rachel Weisz) monitoring his vital signs that she’s on the hit list, too, the pair escape to the Philippines by way of Canada for a spectacular motorcycle chase scene replete with a hired hit man (Louis Ozawa Changchien), frightened pedestrians and a sacrificial fruit stand.
Don’t be surprised to find the episode end in a way which sets the table for Bourne 5 as much as it closes the curtain on this action-packed roller coaster ride. A primer on how to make a successful sequel sans a hit franchise’s title character, star or source material from the series’ creator.
Very Good (3 stars)
Running time: 135 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening August 17, 2012
The Expendables (R for pervasive graphic violence). Bombastic beefcake sequel features a reunion of the crack team of mercenaries for a death-defying adventure to avenge the murder of one of their own at the hands of a bloodthirsty rival (Jean-Claude Van Damme). Matinee idol ensemble includes Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Chuck Norris, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Liam Hemsworth and Yu Nan.
ParaNorman (PG for scary action, mature themes, rude humor and mild epithets). Animated adventure about a misunderstood ghoul whisperer (Kodi Smit-McPhee) whose ability to communicate with the dead comes in handy when witches, ghost and zombies descend on his quiet hometown. Featuring voice work by Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, John Goodman, Tempestt Bledsoe and Jeff Garlin.
Sparkle (PG-13 for violence, profanity, drug use, smoking, mature themes and domestic abuse). The late Whitney Houston makes her final screen performance in this remake of the musical drama, set in the ‘60s, about three sisters (Jordin Sparks, Tika Sumpter and Carmen Ejogo) whose singing group becomes Motown’s latest sensation only to have sudden fame tear their close-knit family apart. With Mike Epps, Derek Luke, Cee-Lo Green and Omari Hardwick.
The Awakening (R for violence, nudity and sexuality). Haunted house horror flick set in the wake of World War I at a British boarding school where a professional skeptic (Rebecca Hall) summoned to debunk recent ghost sightings as a hoax instead gets the surprise of her life when she encounters real supernatural phenomena for the first time. With Dominic West, Imelda Staunton and John Shrapnel.
Beloved (Unrated). Romance drama about a pretty Parisian hooker (Ludivine Sagnier) who falls head over six-inch stilettos for a dashing doctor (Radivoje Bukvic) only to learn that he has a wife back in Czechoslovakia. With Milos Forman, Catherine Deneuve and Paul Schneider. (In French, English and Czech with subtitles)
Brother, Can You Spare A Dollar? (Unrated). Unsentimental retrospective celebrates the guts and glory of the Depression Generation while speculating about the prospects of America’s post-industrial economy.
Chicken With Plums (PG-13 for drugs, smoking, sensuality and violent images). Maudlin, character-driven drama, set in Teheran in the ‘50s, about an inconsolable violinist (Mathieu Amalric) who loses the will to live after his wife (Golshifteh Farahani) destroys his beloved instrument during a heated argument. Cast includes Edouard Baer, Maria de Medeiros and Eric Caravaca. (In French and English with subtitles)
Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same (Unrated). Sci-fi comedy about the cross-species romance between a shy, greeting card store clerk (Lisa Haas) and a woman she has no idea might be from another planet (Susan Ziegler). With Jackie Monahan, Cynthia Kaplan and Dennis Davis.
Compliance (R for profanity, sexuality and nudity). Fact-based drama about a prank caller (Pat Healy) pretending to be a police officer who tricks the manager (Ann Dowd) of a fast food restaurant into conducting a strip search of a cashier (Dreama Walker) unfairly accused of stealing. With Bill Camp, Philip Ettinger and James McCaffrey.
Cosmopolis (R for violence, profanity, graphic sexuality and frontal nudity). David Cronenberg directed this adaptation of the Don Delillo novel of the same name chronicling a very eventful day in the life of a miserably-married, self-destructive billionaire (Robert Pattinson). With Paul Giamatti, Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton and K’naan.
Robot & Frank (PG-13 for profanity). Unlikely-buddy comedy about an aging cat burglar (Frank Langella) who comes out of retirement to pull one last heist with the help of the cyborg (Peter Sarsgaard) purchased by his children (James Marsden and Liv Tyler) to look after him. Support cast includes Susan Sarandon, Jeremy Strong and Bonnie Bentley.
Why Stop Now? (Unrated). Road comedy about an aspiring piano prodigy (Jesse Eisenberg) who finds his car commandeered by his mother’s (Melissa Leo) miffed drug dealer (Tracy Morgan) on the day of his big audition. With Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Sarah Ramos and Tanya Wright.