SHORT­CUTS

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODMOVIES -

Mud: Matthew McConaughey’s lowkey come­back con­tin­ues with Mud, in which he plays the ti­tle char­ac­ter. As the slip­pery cen­tral fig­ure of Jeff Ni­chols’s richly ob­served com­ing-ofage fa­ble, McConaughey in­jects a note of dan­ger into a bayou noir story of youth­ful ad­ven­ture that is lyri­cal and sober­ing at the same time. ★★★★ En­der’s Game: There’s a moral heft to En­der’s Game that lends bal­last to the sci­ence-fic­tion ad­ven­ture about fu­tur­is­tic mil­i­tary-academy cadets. The film doesn’t need added sus­pense, big­ger ac­tion or a bet­ter dra­matic twist; it’s got all of those. But, it ben­e­fits greatly by ac­tu­ally be­ing about some­thing – the mo­ral­ity of war and its meth­ods – in a way that most movies of this type are not. ★★★★ Young and Beau­ti­ful: The mys­ter­ies of ado­les­cence, and in par­tic­u­lar, the sense of con­trol and power that can ac­com­pany an at­trac­tive girl’s dis­cov­ery of her sex­u­al­ity, are ex­plored with hyp­notic fo­cus. ★★★★ Home­front: A for­mer DEA agent (Ja­son Statham) seek­ing a quiet life tan­gles with a small-town drug lord (James Franco) in this pulpy, over-thetop thriller. It’s a guilty plea­sure, in a low-rent, South­ern Gothic way. ★★★

NEW RE­LEASES

Black Na­tiv­ity: Sen­sory plea­sures abound in this story of fam­ily, faith and re­demp­tion. As the film opens, the teenage pro­tag­o­nist, Langs­ton, is run­ning amok on the streets of Bal­ti­more. The film is grounded by For­est Whi­taker and An­gela Bas­sett’s per­for­mances as Langs­ton’s strict, God-fear­ing grand­par­ents. ★★★ Free Birds: Owen Wil­son, Woody Har­rel­son and Amy Poehler lend their voices to a trio of an­i­mated tur­keys de­ter­mined to re­move the tra­di­tional bird from the in­au­gu­ral Thanks­giv­ing menu. Al­though it sel­dom ap­proaches the in­spi­ra­tion of its plucky premise, Free Birds avoids be­ing branded a hol­i­day tur­key. ★★★

ON CIR­CUIT

Man­dela: Long Walk to Free­dom: This biopic has the po­ten­tial to stir emo­tions, but it sac­ri­fices his­tor­i­cal ac­cu­racy for the sake of drama, as it sweeps through decades of strug­gle in a lit­tle over two hours of its run­ning time. ★★★★ Be­fore Mid­night: The third film in the se­ries which be­gan with Be­fore Sun­rise and Be­fore Sun­set, sees Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as Jesse and Ce­line , the once young lovers now firmly en­sconced within the re­gret and com­pro­mise of mid­dle age. ★★★★ Schuks! Your Coun­try Needs You: Com­bin­ing a loose script with Leon Schus­ter’s sig­na­ture Can­did Cam­era gags, this film adds a fa­ther-and-son el­e­ment to the usual romp, in the form of Rob van Vu­uren play­ing Schus­ter’s off­spring. The film’s gags are slightly more palat­able than usual. ★★ Enough Said: This marks one of the fi­nal ap­pear­ances by the late James Gan­dolfini, play­ing a frumpy aca­demic who em­barks on an awk­ward ro­mance with a masseuse (Ju­lia Louis-Drey­fus), who, like Al­bert, is di­vorced with a teen daugh­ter. The film sparkles within and with­out. ★★★★ The Hunger Games: Catch­ing Fire: The sec­ond in­stal­ment of the Hunger Games fran­chise ac­cen­tu­ates yet fur­ther the Or­wellian el­e­ments in the Suzanne Collins nov­els from which it is adapted, and ben­e­fits from another full-blooded per­for­mance from Jen­nifer Lawrence. Yet, Catch­ing Fire is caught some­where be­tween night­mar­ish po­lit­i­cal al­le­gory and adolescent es­capism. ★★★ De­tach­ment: Di­rec­tor Tony Kaye’s de­pic­tion of a sub­sti­tute teacher’s hellish ex­pe­ri­ence makes his film Amer­i­can His­tory X seem light-hearted by com­par­i­son. Adrien Brody de­liv­ers a fine per­for­mance. ★★★ Cap­tain Phillips: A taut, finely crafted, su­perbly acted mar­itime thriller about the 2009 hi­jack­ing by So­mali pi­rates of the MV Maersk Alabama. ★★★★★ In­sid­i­ous: Chap­ter 2: Three years af­ter In­sid­i­ous in­tro­duced movie-go­ers to the Lam­bert fam­ily, the se­quel con­tin­ues the tale, but it has enough thrills, laughs and a story of its own to stand alone. ★★★ Thor: The Dark World 3D: Di­rec­tor Alan Tay­lor’s valiant at­tempt to bal­ance the ac­tion with hu­mour is helped by Tom Hid­dle­ston’s sleekly malev­o­lent per­for­mance as Loki, a more en­gag­ing fig­ure than Chris Hemsworth’s mono­syl­labic Thor. ★★★

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