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5-minute movie reviews: 'For No Good Reason,' 'SuperMensch,' 'The Double,' 'The Rover,' 'We Are the Best!'

Published June 21, 2014 12:04 pm

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'We Are the Best!'

Opens today at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; not rated, but probably R for language and teen drinking; in Swedish, with subtitles; 102 minutes.

The Swedish comedy "We Are the Best!" is a rough-edged delight, a heartfelt rebel yell of youthful self-discovery. Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Karla (Mira Grosin) are misfits in their Stockholm middle school, with self-inflicted haircuts and a love of punk music that their classmates say is dead in 1982. Undaunted, Karla urges Bobo to start a punk band, even though they have no instruments and can't play them anyway. They get rehearsal time and a borrowed bass and drum kit at the local rec center, then persuade a straitlaced classmate, Hedvig (Liv Lemoyne), to be their guitarist and teach them the basics. Writer-director Lucas Moodysson ("Show Me Love," "Lilya-4-Ever"), adapting a graphic novel by his wife, Coco, follows these girls as they turn schoolyard taunts and teachers' oppression into angry lyrics, while they also deal with issues of peer pressure and young love. Moodysson's vibe is as exuberant, raw and fresh as the girls' punk sensibilities.


'The Double'

Opens today at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for language; 93 minutes.

Though it's based on a Fyodor Dostoyevsky novella, director Richard Ayoade's "The Double" comes off as an unpleasantly grim mix of Franz Kafka and Terry Gilliam. Jesse Eisenberg takes double duty as two employees at an oppressively bleak company: Simon James, a cubicle drone nervous to make waves, and James Simon, a new arrival who instantly charms the boss (Wallace Shawn) and starts making moves on Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), the pretty co-worker for whom Simon James has been pining. Ayoade, who directed the coming-of-age tale "Submarine" and is better-known as a TV comic (starring on "The IT Crowd"), and co-writer Avi Korine saturate the story with dark surface details that highlight Simon's spiraling madness. But with a minimal plot and one-dimensional characters, there's not much substance behind the surplus of style.


'The Rover'

Opens today at area theaters; rated R for language and some bloody violence; 102 minutes.

Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson give rock-solid performances in "The Rover," a post-apocalyptic drama whose spare bleakness needs all the acting firepower it can get. Set in Australia, "10 years after the collapse" (which is all the explanation we get), the action starts when a group of bandits steal a car. Pearce's character owns that car, and he really wants it back. He learns that the thieves' ringleader, Henry (Scoot McNairy), left behind his slightly backward brother, Rey (Pattinson), who was wounded and left for dead. The man goes to murderous extremes to kidnap Rey, who will lead him to Henry. Director/screenwriter David Michôd, following up his crime-family debut "Animal Kingdom," uses the stark Australian landscapes to best effect. While the details of this dystopian future are annoyingly vague, Pearce's mostly wordless intensity and Pattinson's anti-glamour turn make it worth watching.


'SuperMensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon'

Opens today at Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for language, some sexual references, nudity and drug use; 85 minutes.

Everyone in Hollywood loves Shep Gordon — which is why it would be nice if the documentary "SuperMensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon" did more than tell you that. Gordon tells much of his own legend, of how as a new arrival in Hollywood in the late '60s he befriended Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, who recommended he become a talent manager for a new musician, Alice Cooper. Gordon helped shape Cooper's career, as well as that of R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass and celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. Gordon shook off Hollywood for a home on Maui, which became a gathering place for stars looking to relax (some of whom, like Michael Douglas and Sylvester Stallone, are interviewed here). Comedian/actor Mike Myers ("Austin Powers"), making his directorial debut, collects many of Gordon's pleasantly self-aggrandizing stories, illustrating them with a kaleidoscopic array of archival photos and footage. Myers glosses over Gordon's shortcomings — such as not including (or failing to get) interviews with women who came and left his life, including Sharon Stone and chef Renee Loux — in a humorous and overly generous profile.