Last updated: October 18. 2013 2:18PM - 256 Views

Tom Hanks stars in 'Captain Phillips,' a true-to-life tale of terror on the high seas whose cast also includes assorted amateur Somali actors.
Tom Hanks stars in 'Captain Phillips,' a true-to-life tale of terror on the high seas whose cast also includes assorted amateur Somali actors.
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CAPTAIN PHILLIPS — Few directors do guys-in-distress better than Paul Greengrass. The British director seems fascinated by men driven to the brink. So there was probably no better choice to tell the Hollywood story of Richard Phillips, the captain of the Maersk Alabama, who was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009 before he was rescued by Navy SEAL snipers. Greengrass doesn’t disappoint, injecting the story with a sense of nervous energy and creeping claustrophobia. The movie manages to be tense and suspenseful, even though the world knows how it ends. 134 mins. PG-13 for intense menace, violence, with bloody images, and substance use. ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦


CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 — The out-of-nowhere novelty and delight of Sony Animation’s “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” based on Judi and Ron Barrett’s children’s book, is missing in “Meatballs 2.” The design and color palette is as glorious as ever. But the laughs are few and innovations fewer. 93 mins. PG for mild rude humor. ♦ ♦


DON JON — Don Jon’s a dog. He cares only about his car, his pad, his boys, his family, his gym, his church (Sundays only), girls and porn — lots and lots of porn. That is, until he meets Ms. Right — actually two Ms. Rights — and his bro-licious world is turned upside down when he learns that women are people too. 90 mins. R for strong graphic sexual material and dialogue throughout, nudity, strong language, drug use. ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦


ENOUGH SAID — Nicole Holofcener’s most traditional film to date has a surprisingly conventional plot. The film — about the relationship between two middle-age divorcees (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini) — is for all intents and purposes a romantic comedy. But Holofcener infuses the often shallow genre with genuine emotion and her refreshing brand of adult humor. 93 mins. PG-13 for crude/sexual content, comic violence, language, partial nudity. ♦ ♦ ♦ 1/2


THE FAMILY — Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones revisit some blasts from their pasts in this violent action comedy about a mob family in France thanks to the witness protection program. 111 mins. R for violence, language and brief sexuality. ♦ ♦


GRAVITY — Marooned in space, Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a nervous medical engineer making her first space-shuttle flight, and her far more experienced co-pilot Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), face their own mortality in a film with emotional and spiritual depth that’s also tense and suspenseful. 90 mins. PG-13 for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language. ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦


INSIDIOUS — The haunted Lambert family seeks to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world. 105 mins. PG-13 for intense terror and violence and thematic elements. ♦ ♦


MACHETE KILLS — Say what you will about junky genre pictures with leaps in logic, ultra-violence and one impossible thing after another — such movies harness cinema’s more overwhelming qualities better than most well-meaning indie flicks about things like “real people” and “relationships.” But don’t go to Robert Rodriguez’s film expecting deep thoughts on anything. Shot in 29 days with an I-suppose-it-counts-as-a-script by Kyle Ward from a story by Rodriguez, “Machete Kills” stars the always-entertaining Danny Trejo as “enemy of the cartels.” He has a giant knife and is on a mission on behalf of the government. 107 mins. R for strong bloody violence throughout, language and some sexual content. ♦ ♦ ♦


PRISONERS — This is a mystery told with such skill that just when you think you’ve figured it out, it finds new blind alleys for you to visit. Well-cast and wonderfully acted, it’s a child kidnapping thriller with sorrow, intrigue, psychology and just enough urgency. Then it almost outsmarts itself with a draggy, “let’s explain it all” third act that undercuts the big theme it wants us to ponder. 150 mins. R for disturbing violent content including torture and language throughout. ♦ ♦ ♦


ROMEO AND JULIET — It’s heartening to see how gorgeous the Italian cities of Verona and Mantua still are in the new “Romeo & Juliet.” The stunning locations — Renaissance ballrooms and porticoes, squares, bridges, gardens and parlors — almost make up for the rather disastrous casting at the heart of this production. How 17-year-old Hailee Steinfeld managed to look younger and more romantically innocent than she did in “True Grit,” which filmed four years ago, is anybody’s guess. Almost as big a mystery is why they cast this overmatched actress. Romeo (Douglas Booth) doesn’t get out much apparently. 118 mins. PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements. ♦ ♦


RUNNER RUNNER — When a poor college student who cracks an online poker game goes bust, he arranges a face to face with the man he thinks cheated him, a sly offshore entrepreneur. 91 mins. R for language and some sexual content. ♦ ♦ 1/2


RUSH — This Formula One racing drama has almost irresistible forward momentum. The on-track action is blistering, the filmmaking is sure-footed (even as cars fishtail into catastrophic crashes) and the characters bigger than life. Even more important, it avoids the stock plotting that turns most sports movies into bland emotional pick-me-ups. It’s one of the best films of Ron Howard’s career. 123 mins. R for sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use. ♦ ♦ ♦ 1/2

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