TIMES LEADER (Northeastern Pennsylvania)SUNDAY DISPATCH (Greater Pittston)ABINGTON JOURNAL (The Abingtons)DALLAS POST (Back Mountain)WEEKENDER


First Posted: 2:53 pm - September 18th, 2015

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First Posted: 2/26/2013

A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD — A parody of itself, right? That’s the only way to explain this ridiculously over-the-top, repetitively numbing fifth film in the “Die Hard” franchise. R for violence, language. 97 mins. 2 stars

ARGO — Ben Affleck stars in, and directs, the far-fetched but nonetheless factual tale of a CIA plot to extricate six U.S. embassy workers from Tehran as the 1979 Iran hostage crisis unfolds. R for violence, profanity, adult themes. 120 mins. Three and a half stars.

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES — The genders have been reversed, but the supernatural, star-crossed teen angst remains firmly intact in this drama that clearly aims to pick up where the “Twilight” franchise left off. PG-13 for violence, scary images and sexual material. 123 mins. Two stars.

DARK SKIES — As the Barret family’s peaceful suburban life is rocked by an escalating series of disturbing events, they come to learn that a terrifying and deadly force is after them. PG-13 for violence, terror throughout, sexual material, drug content and language – all involving teen. 95 mins. 1 star

DJANGO UNCHAINED — Quentin Tarantino homages Mandingo, spaghetti westerns, blaxploitation, Sam Peckinpah and the Three Stooges, in this all-over-the-place antebellum western. R for violence, profanity, adult themes. 165 mins. Two and a half stars.

ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH — A nerdy alien has to go to Earth to save his super-studly space-exploring older brother, who has been captured by the U.S. government. PG for action, mild rude humor. 95 mins. Two stars.

IDENTITY THIEF — Melissa McCarthy is the brash wild card with an off-kilter sense of humor and a dangerous streak. Jason Bateman is the initially bemused but increasingly frustrated straight man. These opposites are stuck on a cross-country road trip together. R for sexuality and language. 107 mins. Star and a half.

LINCOLN — This is a lot more reserved than the expected Spielberg parody but still easier to admire than love. PG-13 for intense war violence, carnage and brief strong language. 150 mins. Three stars.

SAFE HAVEN — Simple pleasures are in the forefront in another sweetly treacly tale from the “beach book” author who gave us “The Notebook,” “Dear John” and “The Last Song.” PG-13 for thematic material involving threatening behavior, violence and sexuality. 115 mins. Two stars.

SIDE EFFECTS — Rooney Mara is chilling as a troubled Manhattan woman who starts taking a new drug at the urging of her psychiatrist (Jude Law). R for sexuality, nudity, violence and language. 106 mins. Three stars.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK — A head-spinner of a movie about love, pain, reinvention and rehabilitation. R for profanity, sex, drugs, violence, adult themes. 120 minutes. Four stars.

SNITCH — As a businessman scrambling to find a way to get his son’s federal prison sentence reduced, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has to play fear, tough love, pity and panic – and he’s a bit in over his head. But that’s the point of this straight-no-chaser thriller “inspired by a true story.” The pacing is off, and too many scenes lack dramatic punch and play like filler. But Johnson is pretty good at being a guy in over his head, sharing scenes with flinty pros like Susan Sarandon, Benjamin Bratt and Barry Pepper. PG-13 for drug content and sequences of violence. Two and a half stars.

WARM BODIES — In the wake of a zombie epidemic, an unusual undead guy forms a special relationship with a young lady whose life he saves. PG-13 for zombie violence, some strong language. 97 mins. Four stars.



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