Movies opening this weekend, still in theaters
Updated: August 17, 2012 10:48AM
“2 Days In New York” ★ ★ ★
Rated: Rated R for language, sexual content, some drug use and brief nudity
Stars: Chris Rock, Julie Delpy, Albert Delpy, Alexia Landeau
A New York talk-radio personality (Rock) is appalled to find himself playing host to the intensely eccentric sister, father and ex-boyfriend of his live-in French girlfriend. Delpy co-wrote and directed the comedy.
“The Expendables 2”
Rated: R for strong bloody violence throughout
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme
The mercenary fighting team from the hit 2010 original reunites (with a couple of high-profile additions) for a mission that becomes a personal vendetta when one of the group is murdered. Simon West (“The Mechanic”) directed the action adventure.
“The Odd Life Of Timothy Green” ★ ★
Rated: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief language
Stars: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, Dianne Wiest
A childless couple (Garner, Edgerton) are mystified, but delighted, when a young boy sprouts from their garden after an evening of intense wishing. Even when they discover the kid has leaves on his legs. Peter Hedges (“About a Boy,” “Dan in Real Life”) co-wrote and directed the fantasy.
Rated: Rated PG for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor and language
Stars: Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Anna Kendrick, Kodi Smit-McPhee
A misunderstood boy (Smit-McPhee) who can speak to the dead battles ghosts and zombies while trying to save his town from a curse. Chris Butler (“Coraline”) co-wrote and directed the animated comedy.
Rated: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving domestic abuse and drug material, and for some violence, language and smoking
Stars: Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks, Derek Luke
Three sisters form a ’60s girl group that becomes a Motown sensation before experiencing the downside of show biz. Salim Akil (“Jumping the Broom”) directed the drama.
“The Bourne Legacy” ★ ★ ★
Rated: Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
It’s possible that writer/director Tony Gilroy (head writer for the three previous “Bourne” films) intended this fourth installment to be a thinking-man’s action film — with just enough niftily executed adrenaline-pumping interludes to keep thrill junkies satisfied. But it’s equally possible that hard-core action enthusiasts will feel there’s far too much talking going on and cogitation required compared to the screen time devoted to various sorts of mayhem. Rather than simply hiring another actor to play Jason Bourne after Matt Damon’s tenure and starting the whole saga over again a la “The Amazing Spider-Man,” Gilroy has created a new, genetically improved super-agent (nicely played on all counts by Jeremy Renner) and a new story line that takes the story in a direction unimagined in the Robert Ludlum novels. The downside? Gilroy attempts to keep us interested by keeping us guessing for a long, long, long time — and then the whole exercise turns out to be just a lengthy preamble to additional films that may (or may not) follow. Even so, the new “Bourne” is more satisfying than not, especially after a brilliantly edited, climactic motorcycle chase through Manila.
“Hope Springs” ★ ★ ★ 1/2
Rated: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving sexuality
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, Steve Carell
An intelligent and occasionally painful adult drama with a not-entirely-compatible overlay of comic trappings, “Hope Springs” is a somewhat odd emotional hybrid that doesn’t entirely live up to its promise. Yet the promise is rich enough, and comes close enough to being fulfilled, for it to qualify as one of the most thoughtful and provocative films of the year. Dour, grumbling hubby Arnold (Jones) would probably be content to ride out his all-but-dead 31-year marriage to the grave. But desperately lonely, under-appreciated wife Kay (Streep) has a different plan — to drag Arnold, grousing all the way, into a week of intensive couples therapy. The best thing about this is the way Jones and Streep (both at their best) and Carell (playing it entirely straight as their therapist) work their way through the often-excruciating therapeutic process. If there’s a problem here, it comes from the fairly clear suggestion by Jones that Arnold has some sort of deep-seated problem that needs to be addressed, though the script never suggests what that may be. Instead, we’re asked to accept a facile and somewhat vague moment of truth leading to an emotional resolution that isn’t honestly earned. Jones and Streep make the whole thing work, though, for the most part, and the whole thing feels worthwhile, if only because of the rare reminder it offers, that even when it comes to love, it’s not over ’til it’s over.
“The Campaign” ★ ★ ★
Rated: Rated R for crude sexual content, language and brief nudity
Stars: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis
Okay, so it’s not “The Candidate,” or “Primary Colors,” or “The Best Man,” or even “The Ides of March.” But this smart, fast-paced and occasionally quite funny (though outrageously rude and crude) comedy has something to say about the state of politics in America today, if only because it actually makes Will Ferrell look like a credible, even electable, candidate. Right up to the moment when he punches the baby. Ferrell plays corrupt, sleazy, idiotic-sex-maniac Southern Republican Congressman Cam Brady, who appears to be a shoo-in as the upcoming vice-presidential candidate until his latest scandal introduces a new candidate in the form of pudgy, effeminate, simple-minded, honest-and-decent family man Marty Huggins (Galifianakis). Much raucous comedy ensues after political power brokers donate a million dollars to Marty’s superpac and hire a ruthless campaign manager (Dylan McDermott) for a mean makeover — and lifelong loser Marty develops a taste for blood. Director Jay Roach (“Austin Powers,” “Meet the Parents”) puts “The Campaign” through its fairly predictable paces with his usual skill, until a contrived, moralistic finale in which goodness prevails, life lessons are learned all around and Brady reveals himself to be not such a bad guy after all.