Rush

Universal Pictures

Rated R for profanity, nudity, sexuality, smoking, disturbing images and brief drug use

Formula 1 Drama Recounts Death-Defying Racing Rivalry

Back in the ‘70s, a couple of racecar drivers as different from each other as Dudley Do-Right and Snidely Whiplash became sworn adversaries on the Formula 1 circuit.England’s James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) was a brash daredevil willing to put his life at risk every time he drove around the track. By contrast,Austria’s Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) was a technical genius who invariably employed a relatively scientific strategy.

The pair were also polar opposites afterhours, with handsome Hunt being a flamboyant playboy who liked the limelight, while relatively low-key Lauda preferred to spend his free time in peace and quiet with his socialite wife, Marla Knaus (Alexandra Maria Lara). The bitter rivalry between the two came to a head during the 1976 season, when both were in contention for the coveted title of world champion.

That cutthroat quest is the subject of Rush, a character-driven drama directed by two-time Academy Award winner Ron Howard (for A Beautiful Mind). Based on a screenplay by two-time Oscar nominee Peter Morgan (The Queen and Frost/Nixon), the picture’s engaging plotline repeatedly juxtaposes the personas of the leads, painting the hunky Brit as a lovable bon vivant on a crusade to wrest the crown from a defending champ portrayed as just too methodical a nerd to root for.

The movie masterfully depicts the cat-and-mouse mental as well as racecar jockeying which transpired, with the tension mounting at adrenaline-fueled contests staged in international ports-of-call ranging from Brazil to Spain to Monaco to Germany and inexorably leading to a white-knuckle showdown in Japan.

Along the way, we’re treated to the sight of chain-smoking Hunt’s substance abusing and womanizing, as he all but makes a mockery of uptight Lauda’s Spartan regimen. The emotional build-up subtly suggests that getting the checkered flag atFujiwill serve as a confirmation of the eventual victor’s approach.

A compelling, high-octane thriller, literally and figuratively!

 

Excellent (4 stars)

In English, German, Italian and French with subtitles

Running Time: 123 minutes

 

 

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2

Sony Pictures

Rated PG for mild rude humor

Eco-Conscious Sequel Pits Flint And Friends Against Evil Agri-Corporation

When we first met Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader), he lost control of a contraption which turned water into food and triggered a foodalanche which wreaked havoc all acrossSwallowFallsbefore being turned off. At the point of departure of this worthy sequel, we find the young inventor being duped into relocating from his hometown to the impersonal confines of San FranJose based on a promise of employment as a “thinkquanaut” from his idol, Chester V (Will Forte), the chairman of Live Corporation.

Flintis so gullible that he is initially blissfully unaware of his new boss’ secret agenda. ButChesterhas emptiedSwallowFallsentirely of its residents under the guise of cleaning up the once idyllic island.

Truth be told, the conniving CEO has managed to getFlint’s food machine going again, and has hatched a diabolical plan to repopulate the place with about 40 varieties of sentient creatures. Each of these “foodimals” has a name which is a punny play on words, such as shrimpanzees, watermelophants, cheespiders, hippotatomuses, pb & jellyfish, flamangos, buffaloaves and wildebeets, to name a few.

Eventually,Flintwises up to the fact that he’s been manipulated and that something evil is afoot. Soon, accompanied by his pals and his meteorologist girlfriend, Samantha (Anna Faris), he returns toSwallowFallswhere they find themselves attacked by tacodiles and stampeded by a flock of bananostriches.

Will Flintand company figure a way to subdue the menacing, manmade menagerie before their beloved city is totally ruined? That is the question at the heart of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, another inspired animated adventure with an eco-conscious theme.

Co-directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, the film features the distinctive voice work by a veteran cast which includes returnees Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Neil Patrick Harris, Andy Samberg, James Caan, Will Forte and Benjamin Bratt, as well as a critical new addition in Terry Crews as the motor-mouthed Earl Deveraux.

A dazzling and delightful sequel every bit as charming as the original!

 

Excellent (4 stars)

Running time: 95 minutes

 

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules:

For movies opening October 4, 2013

 

Gravity (PG-13 for intense peril, disturbing images and brief strong profanity) Sci-fi survival thriller about a veteran astronaut (George Clooney) and a medical engineer (Sandra Bullock) on her first mission who find themselves in a race against time when they’re left suspended in space with limited oxygen after satellite debris destroys their rocket ship during a spacewalk. With Ed Harris, Amy Warren, Basher Savage and Paul Sharma.

 

Runner, Runner (R for profanity and sexuality) Crime drama about a Princeton grad student (Justin Timberlake) who travels to Costa Rica to confront the owner of an online poker website (Ben Affleck) after being cheated out of his tuition money, only to become the corrupt mobster’s right hand man. Support cast includes Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie and Michael Asper.

 

A.C.O.D. (R for profanity and brief sexuality) Dysfunctional family comedy about a man (Adam Scott) left traumatized by his parents’ (Catherine O’Hara and Richard Jenkins) bitter divorce who ends up victimized again when his younger brother’s (Clark Duke) wedding brings them back together again. With Amy Poehler, Jane Lynch, Jessica Alba and Ken Howard.

 

Bad Milo (R for profanity, sexuality and graphic violence) Horror comedy about a stressed-out office worker (Ken Marino) who learns that his stomach pain isn’t from an ulcer but being caused by a demon living in his intestines. Featuring Stephen Root, Patrick Warburton,Mary Kay Place and Gillian Jacobs.

 

Concussion (R for profanity and graphic sexuality) Robin Weigert stars in this midlife crisis drama about a lesbian disillusioned with her humdrum life who decides to try a new line of work as a prostitute catering to females after being hit in the head by a baseball. Cast includes Maggie Siff, Ben Shenkman and Emily Kinney.

 

Five Dances (Unrated) Coming-of-age drama, set inManhattan, revolving around an aspiring ballet dancer (Ryan Steele) torn between pursuing his passion and feelings of responsibility about his fractured family back in theMidwest. With Lulu Roche, Kimiye Corwin and Reed Luplau.

 

Grace Unplugged (PG for mature themes and teen drinking) Prodigal Daughter drama about a rebellious 18-year-old (A.J. Michalka) who runs away to L.A. in search of fame and fortune as a pop singer only to learn that faith and family are far more important. With James Denton, Kevin Pollak andShawnee Smith.

 

I Used To Be Darker (Unrated) American Dream drama about a runaway (Deragh Campbell) from Northern Ireland who takes refuge with relatives in Maryland only to discover that her aunt (Kim Taylor) and uncle’s (Ned Oldham) marriage is in crisis. Support cast includes Hannah Gross, Nicholas Petr and Geoff Grace.

 

Linsanity (Unrated) Hoop dreams documentary revisiting Harvard point guard Jeremy Lin’s unlikely transformation into an overnight NBA sensation over the course of two weeks in 2012 when he made the most of a chance to fill-in for the New York Knicks’ injured starter.

 

Parkland (PG-13 for profanity, smoking, violent images and graphic emergency room procedures) JFK assassination drama recounting the futile efforts of doctors and nurses to save the president’s (Brett Stimely) life at Parkland Hospital after he suffered fatal wounds at the hands of Lee Harvey Oswald (Jeremy Strong). A-list ensemble includes Zac Efron, Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Giamatti, Marcia Gay Harden, Colin Hanks, Jacki Weaver and Jackie Earle Haley.

 

Red Wing (Unrated) Coming-of-age drama chronicling the perilous journey of an orphan (Glen Powell) into manhood as he attempts to maintain his honor and integrity in the face of hostility. Supporting cast features Bill Paxton, Luke Perry and Frances Fisher.

 

The Summit (R for profanity) Five miles-high documentary revisiting the deadly day on K2 in 2008 when the so-called “Savage Mountain” mysteriously claimed the lives of 11 climbers.

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