Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
The Cricket
Sean P. Means
Sean is the movie critic and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket.

» E-mail

» Subscribe (RSS)




Daniel Smith | Universal Pictures "Kick-Ass 2" • Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) rides into action in this sequel to the do-it-yourself superhero franchise. (Opens August 16.)
The Cricket's Daily 3: History or fantasy?

A cadre of superheroes and a long-serving butler enter the box office derby this weekend.

"Kick-Ass 2" brings back the would-be superheroes Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit-Girl (Chlöe Grace Moretz) for more New York crimefighting. But when they're not tackling the travails of high school life, they must contend with archrival Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) trying to be a nasty supervillain. Director/screenwriter Jeff Wadlow can't decide whether he's satirizing violent comic-book stories or creating the most violent one he can conceive, and the results are jarring and unpleasant.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"Lee Daniels' The Butler" is a bombastic history lesson, seen through the eyes of a White House butler (played by Forest Whitaker) serving presidents from Eisenhower to Reagan. Daniels ("Precious," "The Paperboy"). While the butler serves silently as presidents wrestle with civil-rights issues, his son (David Oyelowo) is a rebellious student who – thanks to the screenplay machinations of screenwriter Danny Strong – is in the middle of every major moment of the civil-rights movement, from lunch counters to the Freedom Riders to being in Martin Luther King's Memphis motel. The cavalcade of actors playing the presidents (Robin Williams as Ike, James Marsden as JFK, Liev Schreiber as LBJ, John Cusack as Nixon and Alan Rickman as Reagan) are glorified cameos, set dressing for Daniels' overheated meloddrama.

The Cricket's colleague Vince Horiuchi saw "Jobs" at the Sundance Film Festival, and he was unimpressed with this by-the-numbers biopic of Apple Computers co-founder Steve Jobs (played by Ashton Kutcher).

"Paranoia" is a dull corporate thriller, starring hunky Liam Hemsworth ("The Hunger Games" and brother of Chris Hemsworth, a k a Thor) as a computer whiz who gets caught up in espionage between rival CEOs. Those titans are played by Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford, and only when those two fire barbs at each other does the movie rise above its generic trappings.

There are two good movies opening this week, and both are from Denmark.

"A Hijacking" is a riveting thriller, which gets up close and personal with two characters during a crisis: Mikkel (Pilou Asbaek), a ship's cook who is among the hostages when Somali pirates overtake his cargo ship; and Peter (Søren Malling), the CEO of the shipping firm, who must negotiate a ransom with the pirates. Director-writer Thomas Lindholm keeps the focus tight on these two desperate men, ratcheting the tension as the situation unfolds.

Lastly, there's "The Hunt," which showcases the great actor Mads Mikkelsen (currently playing the title role in NBC's "Hannibal"). Mikkelsen plays a kindergarten teacher wrongly accused of molesting a student, who is tarred as a monster in his small town. It's a brilliant performance, brimming with frustration and boiling over into anger.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
 
Jobs
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.