This week at the movies, we’ve got hapless heroes (Kick-Ass, starring Aaron Johnson and Nicolas Cage) and madcap mourners (Death at a Funeral, starring Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan). What do the critics have to say?
Given the recent glut of superheroes on the big screen, it was inevitable that we’d get a film that both relishes and satirizes the genre (sorry, Superhero Movie, you don’t count). Critics say Matthew Vaughn’s hotly-anticipated Kick-Ass largely lives up to its name, even if some find its ambitious approach a bit scattershot. Aaron Johnson stars as the title character, a blundering would-be crime-fighter who finds himself outmatched by the bad guys. Soon, however, he joins forces with the likes of Hit Girl (a scene-stealing Chloe Moretz) and her pop Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) in a war against some violent mobsters. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Kick-Ass has its share of questionable elements — including excessive violence and blue language from the mouths of babes — but it’s also an audacious blend of action, oddball comedy, and subversion.
Three years ago, Frank Oz had a modest hit with Death at a Funeral, which revolved around a series of wacky misadventures in the wake of a Brit family patriarch’s death. Now Neil LaBute tries his hand at the same story with a mostly African American cast, and critics say the result is generally uninspired, despite the best efforts of a talented cast. Chris Rock stars as the eldest son of the recently deceased, and attempts to keep things together while crazy revelations threaten to turn the funeral upside down. The pundits say this Funeral cranks the energy to 11, but the material ultimately stymies its talented ensemble. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Rock’s best-reviewed movies.)
Also opening this week in limited release:
Finally, mad props to the evocatively-named Easter In The Batcave, who came the closeset to guessing Letters to God‘s 14 percent Tomatometer.