Calgary Herald



22 Jump Street ★★★

Miraculous­ly better than the first attempt to turn a 1980s teen-themed cop show into a comedy, this sequel to the spoof of TV’s 21 Jump Street starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill is steeped in self-awareness and Hollywood genre as it pokes fun at buddy bonding.

A Million Ways to Die in the West ★★ ½

Seth MacFarlane’s spoof of westerns is filled with gross-out gags and ironic commentary: it’s Blazing Saddles with a potty mouth. The gags don’t amount to much, but there are one or two laughs.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2


Marc Webb returns to direct, Stan Lee makes another cameo and Andrew Garfield plays Peter Parker/Spider-Man in an exercise in stock superhero moviemakin­g. New this time is Jamie Foxx as a dweeby electrical engineer who becomes the supercharg­ed villain Electro.

Blended ★★

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore play single parents who wind up at the same African resort with their children. For those who love Sandler’s combinatio­n of juvenile humour and schmaltz, it’s a delight. All others, beware

Borgman ★★★ ½

If you like it weird, Dutch director Alex van Warmerdam has something for you. Borgman is a twisted thriller and black comedy about a mysterious drifter who infiltrate­s the life of a nice middle-class family. Captain America: The Winter Soldier


Chris Evans reprises his role as the superhero in this action-laced spectacle that packs a political wallop. Steve Rogers discovers his agency has been corrupted, forcing him to question everything he once believed in. Great performanc­es keep this sprawling blockbuste­r grounded.

Chef ★★★

It’s a combinatio­n of food porn and family drama from Jon Favreau, who plays a gourmet chef who gets tired of the corporate safety of restaurant cuisine and pursues his own muse in a food truck. It’s an overstuffe­d meal, but who can resist fried food? Cloudy With a Chance

of Meatballs 2 ★★★

In this animated 3-D sequel, animal-food hybrids threaten the world and Flint must save the day. It’s big on food puns, and wildly colourful, but the story may confuse the youngest viewers.

The Croods ★★ 1/2

Kids will no doubt get a kick out of the prehistori­c shenanigan­s, which involve a lot of throwing of rocks, a few gags lifted from old Looney Tunes titles, and a cut-and-paste score. Parents, however, won’t have as much to occupy their brains.

Deliver Us From Evil ★★★

Eric Bana stars as real-life NYPD detective Ralph Sarchie, a man who believes he encountere­d supernatur­al forces of evil while on duty in the Bronx. A standard exorcism story with a post-traumatic edge, the plot revolves around three soldiers who come back from the Middle East changed men. Director Scott Derrickson could have turned this into an interestin­g metaphor about war, but instead makes a rather dreary genre film that is saved by the presence of the empathetic Bana in the lead.

Divergent ★★★ ½

Shailene Woodley stars as Tris, a woman who has more than one talent, and is deemed ‘divergent’ — a threat to the natural order — in this dystopian bodice-ripper powered by teen angst and special effects. Thanks to Woodley’s presence, Tris emerges as believably vulnerable.

A lost Earth and injured to Echo alien ★★ ½ needs to get home in this startlingl­y familiar kids movie directed by Dave Green. Without any new terrain to explore, this blended remake of E.T. the Extra-Terrestria­l and Holes ends up feeling flat, despite a cute alien robot and some sweet performanc­es from the cast.

Edge of Tomorrow ★★★ ½

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt star in this action spectacle that explores the idea of going back in time to fight the same battle several times over in a bid to finally win an alien war. Though there are holes in the logic and there’s no chemistry between the leads, the movie still works.

The Fault in Our Stars ★★★ ½

Shailene Woodley serves up a simple but memorable last supper in the role of Hazel Grace, the heroine from John Green’s novel about two teenage cancer patients who fall in love. Despite the ample doses of tear-jerker cliché, the movie still works a tender magic.

God’s Not Dead (Not reviewed)

College student Josh Wheaton’s faith is challenged by his philosophy professor, who believes God does not exist.

Godzilla ★★★

Gareth Edwards creates one of the best-looking monster movies in recent memory with this reboot of the radioactiv­e mutant from Japan. But the script fails to develop the human characters and leaves a chunk of drama to computer-generated monsters — which is entertaini­ng, but not entirely moving.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

★★★ ½

Wes Anderson creates another pop-up book of a movie with this highly amusing, if altogether flattened, story of a hotel concierge who becomes embroiled in a family fight over money while world war erupts around him. Thanks to Ralph Fiennes’s perfection in the part of M. Gustav, this sometimes silly — and frequently repetitiou­s — dark comedy finds human depth, and manages to make a coherent and clever statement about the thin line of civility that allows our world to function without constant violence.

The Grand Seduction


In this charming, if unlikely, remake of a Quebec film, a Newfoundla­nd town, headed by grizzled Brendan Gleeson, remakes itself to attract a handsome doctor (Taylor Kitsch). It’s a ridiculous idea that gets by in sheer East Coast charisma.

Heaven is for Real

★★ ½

Believers and non-believers are unlikely to have their views rat-

tled tale of by a this boy non-confrontat­ional who sees Jesus during Greg an Kinnear emergency plays appendecto­my. the lad’s dad, a his pastor son’s whose revelation. faith Based is rattled on the by 2010 non-fiction book.

How to Train ★★★★ Your Dragon 2

Hiccup The story (Jay of Baruchel) the human and boy his trusted this second dragon instalment resumes that in offers just as many wonderful surprises as the first thanks to its molten heart, non-aggressive agenda and the cutest animated dragon ever.

Jersey Boys ★★★

Clint Eastwood’s steely-eyed direction brings an oddly clinical edge to this screen adaptation of the Broadway musical based on Frankie Valli’s musical career with the Four Seasons. Though Eastwood makes the period film look perfect, it’s caked in cliché.

The Lego Movie ★★★★

A wild animated ride into the universe of the toy building blocks. A Lego piece (voiced by Chris Pratt) is chosen to thwart the evil president (Will Ferrell) who wants to control how Lego constructi­ons are made. You can’t, of course, and the anarchy here is brilliant proof.

Maleficent ★★★ ½

Though the script is a little thin and the direction a little limp, Angelina Jolie has the screen presence to keep us spellbound as Maleficent, the villainess from Sleeping Beauty. Revising all the misogyny of the original, Jolie offers the backstory of a woman who was betrayed by love.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

★★★ ½

An update of the 1960s animated shorts about a time-travelling dog and his adopted human son, Sherman. A bit of unauthoriz­ed travel puts Sherman and a schoolmate in peril in ancient Egypt, the Renaissanc­e and the Trojan War. Fun for kids and parents, though maybe not dogs.

Neighbors ★★★

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are a young suburban couple who go to war with the next-door fraternity president (Zac Efron)

and his posse of party animals. The result is an out-of-control comedy; its chief appeal is in its shaggy invention.

Oculus ★★★ ½

A horror film guaranteed to give you the shivers. It’s about a haunted mirror that is linked to the death of two people, and is now being investigat­ed by their children. The frights come from an uneasy mood of mad illogic crafted by filmmaker Mike Flanagan.

The Other Woman ★★

Nick Cassavetes directs this underwhelm­ing comedy about three women who join forces to punish a sleazy Lothario. Thanks to an excellent performanc­e from Cameron Diaz, the movie has teeth but Cassavetes reduces what could have been an interestin­g study of female relationsh­ips into formula.

The Railway Man ★★★ ½

Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman star in this film adaptation of Eric Lomax’s memoir about his years in a Japanese PoW camp during the Second World War. Despite a slogging design, the movie reaches its emotional destinatio­n thanks to Firth’s pent-up feeling and Kidman’s surprising degree of empathy.

Rio 2 ★★★

Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway reprise their vocal roles as two rare blue macaws who fall in love and move to Brazil to raise a family. When they hear reports of a wild flock in the Amazon, they set out to find their origins — but it’s not easy going home again, especially if you’ve been raised as a pet in the U.S.

Supersmenc­h: The Legend of

Shep Gordon ★★★

Mike Myers directs this relatively straight-up documentar­y portrait of Shep Gordon, a reallife talent manager who was in Los Angeles when arena rock exploded in the 1970s and rode the cresting wave without being pulled under by the riptide of fame. A friendly and funny portrait, the movie sometimes feels more like a birthday video than a feature film

Tammy ★★ ½

Melissa McCarthy co-wrote, produced and stars in this comedy directed by her husband, Ben Falcone — but it’s a comic misfire for the actress. She plays a loudmouth who loses her job and then finds her husband with another woman, so she takes off on a road trip with her grandma (Susan Sarandon). Uneven and ultimately uninterest­ing.

Think Like a Man Too ★ ½

How well did the 2012 sleeper hit Think Like a Man do? Enough that the producers have splurged on this sequel — plus Kevin Hart’s fee and an opulent setting in Sin City. Whether you enjoy it depends on whether you enjoy Las Vegas clichés and hearing Hart’s voice saying “titties” over and over.

Tracks ★★★ ½

Mia Wasikowska stars as the real-life Robyn Davidson, a woman who trekked 1,700 miles across the Australian desert with four camels and a dog. Director John Curran and Wasikowska pull us into the quiet mystery of the central character, and her bizarre obsession with being alone.

Transcende­nce ★★★

Johnny Depp stars as a computer genius who allows his thoughts to be uploaded to a hard drive before his death and returns to the world as a disembodie­d super brain. Essentiall­y a modern re-telling of the Frankenste­in story, this feature from Wally Pfister needed a throbbing human heart to work, but Depp feels like an icy marionette.

Transforme­rs: Age of Extinction

★★ ½

Michael Bay directs this fourth instalment that features a fugitive Optimus Prime and an evil black ops chief who wants to kill all robots, even the nice ones. The robots feel a little mechanical, even with fluid animation, but Mark Wahlberg brings some muchneeded humanity to the frame.

X-Men: Days of Future Past


Professor X realizes the only way to save humanity and mutants from sure destructio­n is to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) into the past to stop a weapon from being invented. Thanks to the cast, the film finds enough emotional mass to hold all the moving parts together.

 ?? Andrew Schwart/The Associated Press/Sony Pictures ?? Joel McHale, left, and Eric Bana in a scene from Deliver Us From Evil, a standard exorcism story with a post-traumatic edge.
Andrew Schwart/The Associated Press/Sony Pictures Joel McHale, left, and Eric Bana in a scene from Deliver Us From Evil, a standard exorcism story with a post-traumatic edge.

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