Friday movie roundup: "Five-Year" plan
It's the last weekend before the summer blockbuster season starts, and it's a week where R-rated movies dominate.
The best of the bunch is "The Five-Year Engagement," a hilariously raunchy and surprisingly sweet romantic comedy by the "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" team of co-writers Nicholas Stoller (who directed) and Jason Segel (who stars). Segel and Emily Blunt play Tom and Violet, a couple who put off their engagement because of career changes when she gets a post-doctorate post in Michigan, and he gives up his job as a San Francisco chef to join her. The laughs are plentiful, the characters are quite warm and real, and the supporting cast includes some very funny people (including "Community's" Alison Brie, "The Office's" Mindy Kaling, and comics Kevin Hart and Brian Posehn).
On a local level, you owe it to yourself to check out Utah writer-director Richard Dutcher's "Falling," his 2008 drama that gets a re-release at the Broadway Centre Cinemas. Dutcher plays an L.A. videographer facing a moral dilemma when he captures footage of a murder in progress. The movie looks seriously at faith, religion and ethics, in a tense, riveting and bloody story.
The one family movie of the week is also worth seeing: "The Pirates! Band of Misfits," a whimsically funny clay-animated tale from Britain's Aardman Animation (the "Wallace & Gromit" people). It's a jolly story of the hapless Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant), whose plundering lands him on a ship where Charles Darwin (voiced by David Tennant) is doing his research. The best jokes, as usual with Aardman, are on the fringes and worth digging into.
OK, back to the R-rated stuff, and the worst movie of the week, "The Raven." John Cusack hams it up as Edgar Allan Poe, in a story that imagines Poe working with Baltimore police in 1849 to capture a serial killer whose crimes emulate Poe's writings. Director James McTeigue ("V for Vendetta") wallows in bloody effects and a ludicrous story.
Shakespeare gets his due in "Coriolanus," a modern-dress take on the play starring and directed by Ralph Fiennes. Fiennes is dynamic as the Roman general who's beloved in battle but betrayed by the public and politicians in peacetime. Vanessa Redgrave is stunning as the general's scheming mother.
Lastly, there's "Safe," a Jason Statham action shoot-'em-up that was not screened for local critics.