Screening Room: Diary Of A Wimpy Kid And Total Recall

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KANSAS CITY -- Is "Total Recall" worth remembering? Our FOX 4 Film Critics cover that remake and the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" sequel in this week's Screening Room.

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS (PG)
RUSS:
If you don’t have a 10-year-old boy in your household, you may not be familiar with the popular “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books. But the series is so popular that it has spawned two successful movies in the last two years. The inevitable third installment, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” provides more of the same.
SHAWN:
Actually this third installment is an improvement. Finally the movie matches the tone of the books. It's fun, light-hearted and entertaining. I loved the playful spirit and the story actually pulled me in. Also nice to see that the cast seem to be gelling together.
RUSS:
The cast members have returned for another round of the misadventures of a middle school kid named Greg, this time focusing on his summer vacation. From a critical standpoint, the filmmaking is pretty weak. Probably the best thing to be said about “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” is that it’s harmless, a relief from the raunchy comedies we’ve endured of late.
RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags
TOTAL RECALL (PG-13)
SHAWN:
Please do not make the same mistake I made before watching the remake of "Total Recall." I went back and caught up with the original which starred Arnold Swazzeneger. Why did I do that? Sure the original was campy and cheesy but it had one huge X-factor. Arnold. The remake has Colin Farrell in the lead. He's more than capable as an action dude. It's just he's no Arnold. There are more than a few winks and nods to the original but the tone of the remake is way too serious and even more confusing than the original. Sure the effects are better but over all it just isn't as engaging.
SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bags
THE CHICAGO 8 (Not rated)
SHAWN:
And the Kansas City Urban Film Festival returns for a fourth year this September 7th, 8th and 9th at Screenland Crossroads and at KC Black Expo at Bartle Hall. So time for use to break down some of the featured selections. We'll start first with "The Chicago 8" directed by Pinchas Perry.
RUSS:
One of the most compelling court cases in American history is the subject of this dramatic reenactment. While it's workmanlike and based on the actual court transcripts, "The Chicago 8" has the awkward feel of a TV movie.

SHAWN:
I actual thought that the fact that the actual court transcripts of the trial were used gave the film a more authentic feel. The script is dialogue heavy which makes it feel more like a play than a movie at times but the talented ensemble cast are excellent and the use of actual footage helps to elevate this small budget film. You could argue that overall it's a little too court roomy but there are plenty of interesting moments.

RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

KLOWN (R)

RUSS: The popular Texas cinema chain Alamo Drafthouse has taken over the space of the former AMC Mainstreet theatre in the Power and Light District. Their distribution arm, Drafthouse Films, is offering “Klown,” an excessively raunchy Danish comedy.

The story involves a man named Frank whose girlfriend becomes pregnant. She contemplates an abortion because she fears that Frank is too immature to be a father. He then kidnaps her 12-year-old nephew in a misguided attempt to prove his abilities as a parent.

While “Klown” has some shameless laughs, it’s crude in a way that makes “The Hangover” seem tame by comparison. It borders on pornographic and features some jarringly inappropriate scenes that feature the child actor.

RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags

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