new this week
THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD (PG-13) Documentarian Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) directs this exploration of advertising, its pervasiveness in society and its effect (for better or worse) on motion picture production. Check out CL intern Katy Williamson's review of the film here.
THE HANGOVER: PART 2 (R) The wolfpack is back! Check out Anthony Salveggi's review here.
KUNG FU PANDA 2 (PG) An all-star cast of voice actors (Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman) star in this animated sequel about a karate-chopping bear who must save all of China from an Indian Peafowl (look it up) who possesses a super weapon. CL Contributor Kevin Hopp has had his mind karate-chopped by this one, and will have a full review up at cltampa.com/movies.
THE BEAVER (R) Mel Gibson stars in this strange tale of a man with mental health issues who begins communicating with the world through an intermediary — a shaggy beaver puppet he wears on his hand. Director Jodie Foster (who also co-stars) has made successful, off-beat movies before, but teaming with PR nightmare Gibson for a movie with seemingly zero mainstream appeal seems like quite a flyer, even for her. (Not reviewed)
BRIDESMAIDS (R) Kristen Wiig reveals her uber-talent in Bridesmaids, the new Judd Apatow-produced comedy that's being compared with The Hangover — and rightfully so. With no boyfriend, no apartment and a bakery business that recently went bust, Annie (Wiig) is hitting rock bottom just as her lifelong friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is getting married. As maid of honor, Annie is given the task of helping plan Lillian's wedding, which bumps up awkwardly with her efforts to pull her life back together. In Bridesmaids, Wiig finally gets the chance to own the spotlight, and she pulls it off brilliantly. Aside from Wiig, the movie counts on strong performances from the supporting cast, including Maya Rudolph and Rose Byrne, and as with The Hangover, it's the over-the-top character acting in Bridesmaids that stays with you after the movie. There are comedies that come along every once in a while that leave a lasting mark on the audience and become cultural touchstones. Recent examples include Anchorman, The 40-Year Old Virgin and of course The Hangover. Add Bridesmaids to the list. —Daniel Feingold
CERTIFIED COPY (NR) Juliette Binoche stars in this film by noted Iranian writer and director Abbas Kiarostami. Set in Tuscany,Copy focuses on a British writer (William Shimell) and a French antiques dealer (Binoche), whose relationship undergoes an odd transformation over the course of a day. Binoche is great in everything (her performance won last year's Best Actress award at Cannes), and Certified Copy has been a critical darling since its 2010 European release. Held over at the Tampa Theatre. (Not reviewed)
EVERYTHING MUST GO (R) Will Ferrell stars as a salesman whose glory days have long since evaporated in a haze of women and drink. Returning home after being fired for yet another relapse, he finds the locks changed and all his stuff sitting on the front lawn. Staring at his worldly possessions and wondering what to do next, he reluctantly organizes his stuff into an everything-must-go sale that becomes a lingering metaphor for his desire (buried in his subconscious, to be sure) to start over. Ferrell delivers a solid performance, the supporting cast is spot-on (young Christopher Jordan Wallace should have a long career ahead of him), and first-time filmmaker Dan Rush is competent in the director's chair — yet I was still less than thrilled with Everything Must Go. This is a movie that seems to be shouting, "Look, I'm meant to be taken seriously!" but ultimately lacks the depth to pull it off. —Joe Bardi
FAST FIVE (PG-13) As the opening sequence to Fast Five reaches its astonishingly stupid payoff, The Onion's satiric conceit that the film was scripted by a 5-year-old doesn't seem too far off. A movie as nonsensical, aimlessly energetic and full of testosterone as Fast Five is borne of the kind of adolescent enthusiasm whose creative process is propagated by questions that start with "Wouldn't it be cool if …" Ridiculous from start to finish in nearly every respect, Fast Five is fueled by copious amounts of hammy acting, macho posing and the kind of trash-talking banter that passes for comic relief in big, dumb action pictures like this. But even big, dumb action flicks need at least a trace amount of wit to be entertaining. Instead, Fast Five functions as a kind of black hole from which no intelligence can escape. —Anthony Salveggi
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4: ON STRANGER TIDES (PG-13) Tides begins with another grand entrance by the great Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), who's up to his usual antics. He meets a sexy female pirate (Penelope Cruz) that he has some history with before getting entangled with Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Blackbeard (Ian McShane), and the navies of Britain and Spanish — all of whom are looking for the fountain of youth. Tides doesn't have nearly as many story threads as the previous film in the series, but by simplifying the story (and dropping major characters played by Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley), director Rob Marshall has greatly helped the pacing and character development. The filmmakers remember that they're making a film based on a theme park ride, and deliver a galley's worth of fun thanks to the memorable characters and settings they put on screen. —Kevin Hopp
PRIEST (PG-13) Paul Bettany makes a credible badass as the eponymous, vamp-killing protagonist in Priest, a not-as-horrible-as-it-looks summer popcorn flick and the latest post-apocalyptic vampire yarn to see the big screen. After victory in the long-fought war with the race of vampires, human civilization is ruled by Big Brother, in the form of the Church. Shunned in society, Bettany's character is drawn back to the world of ass-kicking when his family is attacked and his niece kidnapped by a pack of vampires. What it lacks in clever dialogue, Priest compensates for with wow-factor. Lacking the camp of Van Helsing and the slick, Gothic sex appeal of Underworld, Priest fills those holes by actually casting a few decent actors for simplistic roles. By no means revelatory or award-winning, Priest is a guilty pleasure that won't send you running for the confessional. —Kevin Tall
SOMETHING BORROWED (PG-13) Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) is always putting others first, especially her best friend, the conniving and self-centered Darcy (Kate Hudson). Then Rachel shares a kiss with Darcy's fiancé Dex (Colin Egglesfield) after her 30th birthday party. This is in no way anything other than a horrible mistake made in the haze of intoxication, right? Well, no. Dex readily admits that he just wasn't that drunk and continues to pursue Rachel, which would be fine as the premise for a film if we weren't meant to feel all squishy and romantic about what they're doing. As it stands, Dex isn't supposed to be a douche, he's supposed to be the romantic lead. The lone voice of reason throughout this thing is Rachel's best friend, Ethan (John Krasinski — essentially still playing The Office's Jim Halpert). He has a healthy disdain for most of the people involved in this sordid love triangle, and you will too. —Shannon Bennett
THOR (PG-13) After previously introducing Iron Man and Hulk, Marvel now gives us Thor, bringing the God of Thunder from the comics into the cinematic Marvel universe. Thor (well played by Chris Hemsworth), a prince in a realm of powerful Viking-type guys, is banished to Earth by his angry father (Anthony Hopkins). Powerless and earthbound, he meets a hot scientist (Natalie Portman) and agents from S.H.I.E.L.D., a government agency that seems to be collecting superheroes. It's only when Thor's homeworld is threatened that he becomes worthy of his god status and harnesses the power he commands (plus one giant hammer) to save our world and his. Thor is an entertaining popcorn flick with something for the men, something for the ladies, and lots and lots of people getting hit with a hammer. Is it perfect? Not even close. But as the official start to a superhero-laden summer movie season, I guess Thor will do. —KH