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)

Dorothy's ruby slippers get a new polish in an IMAX 3-D restoration of "The Wizard of Oz." Courtesy MGM/Warner Bros.
Friday movie roundup: Crime and punishment

Dark stories, both real and invented, dominate the weekend’s new movies.

The big studio entry is "Prisoners," which starts when two little girls disappear one Thanksgiving. A police manhunt turns up a suspect (Paul Dano), but when the lead detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) can’t make a case and must let the guy go, the father of one of the girls (Hugh Jackman) takes the law into her own hands. French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve ("Incendies"), making his English-language debut, creates a brooding tone and draws strong performances from a cast that includes Melissa Leo, Terrence Howard and Viola Davis. The genre shifts, from moral drama to psycho-killer thriller, get a little rough — particularly in the wild finale.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The best movie of the week, and possibly the year, is "The Act of Killing," a documentary unlike any you’ve ever seen. Director Joshua Oppenheimer meets leaders of Indonesian death-squads, responsible for the slaughter of a million or more people in the anti-Communist purges in the 1960s. He asks them to re-enact their killings for the camera, which they do in the style of Hollywood musicals and gangster pictures. The process is surreal and the results, particularly when one of the killers starts empathizing with his long-dead victims, is shattering.

"Short Term 12" is a finely wrought low-budget drama, set in a group home for at-risk teens — focusing on the kids’ problems and those of the adult staffers who supervise them. Writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton (whose "I Am Not a Hipster" debuted at Sundance ‘12) worked in such a place, so he nails the day-to-day details. He also is blessed with a charming, emotional performance by Brie Larson ("The Spectacular Now") as the head staffer.

"Thanks for Sharing" is a predictable comedy-drama that follows three sex addicts — played by Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins and Josh Gad — through their recovery meetings and their relationships. Director/co-writer Stuart Blumberg can’t settle on a consistent tone, and the story arc mimics many other (and better) addiction movies.

"Salinger" is the controversial documentary that tells of the reclusive author J.D. Salinger, and his tangled personal life. Due to scheduling issues, The Cricket was unable to see the film.

"Battle of the Year" follows a B-boy dance troupe through training, under a tough basketball coach (Josh Holloway), as they endeavor to bring back an international dance trophy to the United States. It was not screened for critics.

Lastly, a 3-D rendering of "The Wizard of Oz" is opening at IMAX theaters for a one-week run. Don’t let those flying monkeys grab you!

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.
  • 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
  • Access your e-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.