This week at the movies, we’ve got a risky road trip (Hit & Run, starring Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard), a dangerous delivery (Premium Rush, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon), and a haunted house (The Apparition, starring Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan). What do the critics have to say?
Take two people, put them in a classic car, have them be hounded by various eccentrics, and what do you get? Hit & Run, which critics say is an odd and only occasionally satisfying mix of romance, comedy, and Tarantino -esque plot twists. Real-life partners Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard star as a young couple who decide to hit the road in search of new opportunities. However, along the way they’re pursued by an old friend (Bradley Cooper) and a wacky federal marshal (Tom Arnold). The pundits say Hit & Run is often funny and sweet, but it’s undone by jarring tonal shifts and a general lack of comedic discipline.
If you’re in the mood for a good old-fashioned chase movie, critics say you could do a lot worse than Premium Rush, a cat-and-mouse thriller with enough visceral adventure to keep nagging logical questions at bay. Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a New York City bike messenger who picks up a package for delivery. What seems like a routine job is immediately complicated when a crooked cop (Michael Shannon) starts following Wilee, desperate to get his hands on the parcel at all costs. The pundits say Premium Rush doesn’t always adhere to the rules of common sense, but it’s so fast-paced and exciting that you probably won’t care, and Shannon makes for a frightening antagonist. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down some noteworthy bicycle movies.)
It appears the folks behind The Apparition are afraid it will scare up some bad reviews, as it was barely screened for critics prior to release. Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan star as a young couple who find their house haunted by a malevolent spirit, one that was unleashed by a university paranormal experiment. It’s time to guess the Tomatometer! (And check out 24 Frames for a pictorial history of supernatural horror films.)
Teddy Bear, a drama about a Danish bodybuilder who goes to Thailand looking for love, is at 89 percent.
Samsara, a globetrotting, dialogue-free documentary from the folks who brought you Baraka, is at 86 percent.
Sleepwalk With Me, a comedy written, directed by, and starring Mike Birbiglia about a standup comedian who has relationship and sleeping issues, is at 83 percent.
Somewhere Between, a documentary about Chinese adoptees in America, is at 83 percent.
The Brazilian import Neighbouring Sounds, a drama about a crime wave undermining the security of an affluent seaside community, is at 67 percent.
The Revenant, a horror comedy about a newly-minted zombie who searches for blood among society’s dregs, is at 55 percent.
Little White Lies, starring Marion Cotillard and Jean Dujardin in a dramedy about a group of old friends who discuss their lives at a vacation house, is at 41 percent.
Hermano, a drama about adoptive brothers pulled apart by both neighborhood violence and a soccer rivalry, is at 38 percent.