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The Cricket
Sean P. Means
Sean is the movie critic and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket.

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| IFC Films Emile Hirsch (left) and Paul Rudd star in the comedy "Prince Avalanche," directed by David Gordon Green ("Pineapple Express").
The Cricket’s Daily 3: ‘Riddick’ will rock September

It’s a light week for Hollywood, with only one major studio release — but it’s a loud one.

"Riddick" is the third futuristic action movie featuring Vin Diesel as the escaped convict who can see in the dark -- after the scary "Pitch Black" and the fantasy-heavy "The Chronicles of Riddick." This time, it’s more down and dirty, as Riddick finds himself on a hostile alien planet, battling giant scorpion-like beasts and two teams of rival bounty hunters. Writer-director David Twohy builds some effective action sequences, but the movie is saddled with too much early exposition explaining how we got from the last movie to this one.

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A few theaters are showing the inspirational drama "The Ultimate Life," an earnest and occasionally moving sequel/prequel to the 2006 weepie "The Ultimate Gift." In this installment, Jason (Logan Bartholemew) overworks himself running his grandfather Red’s charitable foundation — and learns about prioritizing life and family when he reads Red’s journal, detaling how Red built up his fortune while losing sight of what matters most.

Also in some big theaters is the Mexican comedy-drama "Instructions Not Included," about a playboy who becomes guardian to the baby girl he never knew he had — and what happens when, six years later, the birth mother comes back. It was not screened for critics.

Two movies that debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival open at the Tower this weekend, and they are as different as they could be.

"Prince Avalanche" is a low-key two-character comedy about guys on a Texas road crew in 1988. Alvin (Paul Rudd) and Lance (Emile Hirsch) spend the bored hours talking about women, loneliness and being alive. It’s charming, and Rudd especially shines.

"Hell Baby" is a spoof of exorcism movies, and a brutally unfunny one. This is surprising because the cast includes such funny people as Rob Corddry, Keegan-Michael Key, Michael Ian Black and Riki Lindhome — and because it’s directed and written by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, the guys behind "Reno 911!" It’s painful from start to finish.

If you’re curious about what else the season will bring, read The Cricket’s Fall Movie Preview.

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