Movies: ‘The Identical’ opens, new, recent films reviewed

The Identical
The Identical

OPENING

THE IDENTICAL
Not reviewed

Rated PG for thematic material and smoking

Stars: Blake Rayne, Ashley Judd, Ray Liotta

The lives of separated identical twins (Rayne) intersect after pursuing musical paths from the 1950s to 1970s. Dustin Marcellino directed the rock ‘n’ roll family drama.

THE LAST OF ROBIN HOOD
★★ 1/2

Rated R for some sexuality and language

Stars: Kevin Kline, Dakota Fanning, Susan Sarandan

Whatever hard lessons Errol Flynn learned in the last 17 years of his life, staying away from very young girls after his 1942 statutory rape trial clearly wasn’t one of them. The final major scandal of the aging former swashbuckler (Kline, perfect) involved dying in the company of his 17-year-old fiancée (Fanning) after their two-year affair — condoned by her fame-obsessed stage mother (Sarandon). Writer/directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (Sundance festival winners for “Quinceañara”) take a surprisingly sympathetic approach to everyone involved in the romance, resulting in blandness — a little more lechery and lust wouldn’t have hurt.

STILL PLAYING

WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL
★★ 1/2

Rated PG for thematic material, a scene of violence, and brief smoking

Stars: Jim Caviezel, Michael Chiklis, Alexander Ludwig, Laura Dern

Considering that the De La Salle High School Spartans are the winningest team in high-school football history, if not the winningest team in any sport, ever, it’s interesting that “When the Game Stands Tall” is essentially a movie about losing. Not flat-out, over-and-done losing, but losing as an opportunity to learn moral lessons, as in winning is less important than teamwork, brotherhood and faith. The Christian-themed film spotlights the 12-year, 151-game winning streak of the De La Salle High School Spartans football team — and what happened when these Goliaths ran into their David.

AS ABOVE, SO BELOW
Not reviewed

Rated R for bloody violence/terror, and language throughout

Stars: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge

A team of explorers finds something very scary dwelling in the catacombs beneath the streets of Paris. John Erick Dowdle (“Devil”) directed the horror.

LIFE OF CRIME
★★★

Rated R for language, some sexual content and violence

Stars: Jennifer Aniston, Yasiin Bey, John Hawkes, Tim Robbins, Will Forte, Isla Fisher

Striking the proper balance between light humor and genuine threat has always been a problem for adapters of Elmore Leonard crime novels, but “Life of Crime” basically gets it right. Possibly because the late author also served as executive producer. Bey (a.k.a. Mos Def) and Hawke play kidnappers who expect crooked real-estate developer Robbins to hand over a million dollars for his trophy wife Aniston — only to learn he’s filed for divorce and isn’t especially eager to see her again.

THE NOVEMBER MAN
Not reviewed

Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, language, sexuality/nudity and brief drug use

Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko

An ex-CIA operative (Brosnan) returns to the fray for a fracas with a former pupil involved in shady goings-on in Russia. Roger Donaldson (“The Bank Job”) directed the espionage thriller.

YVES SAINT LAURENT
Not reviewed

Rated R for sexual content and drug use

Stars: Pierre Niney, Guillaume Gallienne, Charlotte Le Bon, Nikolai Kinski

The life and career of the famed French fashion designer (Niney) is explored in this biographical drama. Jalil Lespert (“Headwinds”) directed the bio-drama.

LOVE IS STRANGE
★★★1/2

Rated R for language

Stars: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei

Despite the travails and tragedy in “Love is Strange,” you’ll have to look a long time to find a film that’s a better endorsement of long-term relationships. Lithgow and Molina (both at their best) star as a newlywed, long-partnered gay couple who essentially become homeless when a Catholic school fires one of them in reaction to their marriage. It’s a minor-key movie, achingly sad at times, but understated, true to life and ultimately quite moving.

ARE YOU HERE
★★1/2

Rated R for language, drug use and some sexual content/nudity

Stars: Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler, Laura Ramsay

There are times when “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner’s feature debut seems like two films at once: a standard-issue whacky bro-mantic comedy with two-dimensional characters and an attempt to mine their personal struggles for maximum dramatic impact. It doesn’t really work. Wilson and Galifianakis are more or less typecast as Steve and Ben, a charming, womanizing, shallow TV weatherman and a borderline-crazy hermit. When Ben inherits a farm in Amish country, Steve tries to help him collect. True-romance and deepened self-knowledge ensue.

LAND HO!
Not reviewed

Rated R for some language, sexual references and drug use

Stars: Earl Lynn Nelson, Paul Eenhoorn,

A pair of 60-something former brothers in law (Nelson and Eenhoorn) embark on a road trip through Iceland in search of their youth. Aaron Katz (“Cold Weather”) and Martha Stephens (“Passenger Pigeons”) co-wrote and directed the comedy.

THE ONE I LOVE
★★★

Rated R for language, some sexuality and drug use

Stars: Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Ted Danson

This low-key indie romantic dramedy with a touch of “The Twilight Zone” has a little trouble deciding whether it wants to be funny, creepy, romantic, dramatic or all of the above. There are some interesting ideas here, though, about idealized expectations in long-term relationships. Duplass and Moss star as an on-the-brink-of-divorce couple on a counselor-prescribed weekend getaway at a secluded resort with some very surprising features.

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR
★★

Rated: Not yet rated

Stars: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin

More hard-boiled tales of lust and destruction in beautiful downtown Sin City, based on the graphic novels of Frank “The Dark Knight” Miller. Miller and Robert Rodriguez co-directed this sequel to their 2005 hit.

THE TRIP TO ITALY
Not reviewed

Rated: No MPAA rating

Stars: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon

After their 2010 tour of restaurants of northern England, comedians Coogan and Brydon exhibit their friendly rivalry while eating their way through Italy — always trying to top each other’s impersonations and improvisations along the way. Writer/director Michael Winterbottom (“24 Hour Party People”) returns for the sequel.

THE EXPENDABLES 3
★★

Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language

Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language

Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson

Freelance commandos the Expendables and their leader (Stallone) come into conflict with the ruthless arms dealer (Gibson) who co-founded the team. Patrick Hughes (“Red Hill”) directed the action adventure.

THE GIVER
★★

Rated PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi action/violence

Stars: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Katie Holmes

A whole lot of knowledge becomes a very dangerous thing for the young hero of this well-intentioned but dull adaptation of Lois Lowry’s classic young-adult novel. And audiences also run a pretty serious risk — of falling asleep before it’s all over. Bridges stars as the Receiver of Memory, in charge of passing memories of mankind’s past existence to a new, teenage Receiver (Thwaites) in the safe, secure, benignly fascistic post-apocalyptic future.

LET’S BE COPS
Not reviewed

Rated R for language including sexual references, some graphic nudity, violence and drug use

Stars: Jake Johnston, Damon Wayans Jr., Nina Dobrev

After dressing as cops for a costume party, two friends (Johnston and Wayans Jr.) get mixed up with real-life gangsters and corrupt detectives. Luke Greenfield (“The Girl Next Door”) directed the action comedy.

CALVARY
★★★ 1/2

Rated R for sexual references, language, brief strong violence and some drug use

Stars: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Aidan Gillen, Kelly Reilly

A priest in a small Irish village (Gleeson) receives a death threat in confession, targeting him for the sins of sexual predators in the clergy. Writer/director John Michael McDonagh also directed Gleeson in “The Guard.”

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY
★★★ 1/2

Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality

Stars: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon

Scrumptious food is one of the key ingredients, with plenty of coolly classical French cuisine and zesty Indian concoctions on the menu. But the main attraction is the evolving relationship between Mirren, as the haughty owner of a Michelin-starred restaurant in a village in southern France and Puri as the patriarch of a clan who sets up a competing eatery across the road. With a little young love thrown in as a bonus. Directed by Lasse Hallström, who covered somewhat similar ground in “Chocolat.”

INTO THE STORM
★★★

Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense destruction and peril, and language including some sexual references

Stars: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh

A small town is devastated by a record number of tornadoes, with the worst yet to come. Steven Quale (“Final Destination 5”) directed the thriller.

STEP UP ALL IN
Not reviewed

Rated PG-13 for some language and suggestive material

Stars: Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Adam Sevani

After breaking up with his crew, an ambitious street dancer (Guzman) recruits new performers and competes against his former team in Las Vegas for a lucrative contract. Choreographer Trish Sie makes her feature directorial debut with the dance extravaganza.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
★★ 1/2

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence

Stars: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Johnny Knoxville, Whoopi Goldberg

Four unlikely heroes emerge from the sewers of New York City to combat the evil Ninja Shredder. Jonathan Liebesman (“Wrath of the Titans”) directed the return adventure of the Ninja Turtles.

WHAT IF
★★ 1/2

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, including references throughout, partial nudity and language

Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver, Mackenzie Davis, Rafe Spall

As hyper-bantering pals doing their best to hide their attraction to each other with jokes, Radcliffe and Kazan are kept so busy being clever there’s not much time for them to connect on an emotional level. And that’s a shame, because when their feelings do take over, occasionally, “What If” generates some serious romance. If you’ve seen “When Harry Met Sally. . .” you’ll know what to expect. But with twice as many wisecracks.

GET ON UP
★★★ 1/2

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug use, some strong language and violent situations

Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Craig Robinson, Octavia Spencer

It’s a conventional biopic for the most part, in terms of charting the rise and fall and rise of the Godfather of Soul, but Chadwick Boseman’s uncanny performance makes that mostly irrelevant. And the music comes across like an electrifying, super-funky force of nature.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
★★★ 1/2

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language

Stars: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana

There’s plenty of spectacular action in this comic book adventure about an unlikely team of outlaws defending the galaxy from a genocidal maniac, but it’s the deftly handled humor that makes it work. “Parks and Recreation” cast member Pratt stars as Peter Quill (who would much rather be called Starlord), a likeably roguish thief with a predilection for pratfalls. He’s Han Solo with a silly streak. And there’s a permanently disgruntled talking raccoon (Cooper) in his crew who’s even more fun.

MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT
★★★ 1/2

Rated PG-13 for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout

Stars: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Jacki Weaver, Eileen Atkins

Woody Allen’s probably didn’t break a sweat coming up with this light, romantic change of pace following last year’s heavy-duty “Blue Jasmine,” but it’s basically a delight, nonetheless. A cynical 1920s stage magician (Firth) attempts to expose a psychic medium (Stone) but gradually begins to believe she could be the real thing — while beginning to fall for her. “Magic” is an intentionally superficial entertainment, but there’s a bit of substance under the surface as well as a nice selection of prime Allen one-liners.

AND SO IT GOES
★★

Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements

Stars: Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton, Rob Reiner

It will only take about five minutes for you to figure out precisely where this thoroughly artificial retirement-age romance is going as it plods along its deeply rutted path. Forced to take care of the granddaughter he didn’t know he had while his son does time in prison, misanthropic realtor Douglas reaches out to his disapproving, widowed, breathy-voiced lounge singing neighbor (Keaton) for an assist. Any doubts about what happens next? Rob Reiner, a long, long way from “When Harry Met Sally,” directs with sitcom snappiness and canned pathos.

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