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Screening Room: Osage County and other blockbusters

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1. AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (R)
The Weinstein Company
SHAWN
"August: Osage County" plays just like a Tyler Perry movie except with a stellar cast featuring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. But this forced and super over the top adaptation is so melo dramatic I halfway was expecting Madea to make a cameo appearance. If over acting were a good thing this movie would be great. And unfortunately Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts are the biggest culprits.

RUSS
Russ says a stellar cast adds bite to Tracy Lett's corrosive Broadway play, but it obviously worked better on the stage than on the screen. I didn't see the play but the movie is a sloppy mess.

RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

2. HER (R)
Warner Brothers
SHAWN
"Her" is an interesting but weird take on the love story. A guy falls in love with the voice on his phone in this expertly crafted film by director Spike Jonze. It doesn't all work but really brings up some interesting thoughts on our fascination and reliance on technology.

RUSS
Russ says this brilliantly original and smart sci-fi concept almost works, but Joaquin Phoenix's annoyingly mushy lead character is a drawback. Yep, true. But Scarlett Johansson as the voice of his phone is phenomenal.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

3. LONE SURVIVOR (R)
Universal
SHAWN
Brutally relentless and achingly authentic "Lone Survivor" is an overly intense and gripping combat movie about a squad of Navy SEALS in Afghanistan that gets ambushed. No spoiler because the title gives it all away. You sort of know what's going to happen. And it isn't pleasant. Based on a true story, "Lone Survivor," is a terrific war movie it's just very difficult to watch.

RUSS
Russ says this action flick about a Navy Seal operation gone bad is sharply directed and, at times, riveting. Not sure if it has a point of view, though.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

4) THE LEGEND OF HERCULES (PG-13)
Lionsgate
SHAWN
How bad is "The Legend of Hercules?" Probably pretty because I don't know a single person alive who has seen this movie.

RUSS: Did not screen.

1. AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (R)
The Weinstein Company
SHAWN
"August: Osage County" plays just like a Tyler Perry movie except with a stellar cast. If over acting were a good thing this movie would be great. And unfortunately Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts are the biggest culprits.

RUSS
Russ says a stellar cast adds bite to Tracy Lett's corrosive Broadway play, but it obviously worked better on the stage than on the screen. I didn't see the play but the movie is a sloppy mess.

RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

2. HER (R)
Warner Brothers
SHAWN
"Her" is interesting but weird take on the love story. t doesn't all work but really brings up some interesting thoughts on our fascination and reliance on technology.

RUSS
Russ says this brilliantly original and smart sci-fi concept almost works, but Joaquin Phoenix's annoyingly mushy lead character is a drawback.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

3. LONE SURVIVOR (R)
Universal
SHAWN
Brutally relentless and achingly authentic "Lone Survivor" is an overly intense and gripping combat movie. Based on a true story, "Lone Survivor," is a terrific war movie it's just very difficult to watch.

RUSS
Russ says this action flick about a Navy Seal operation gone bad is sharply directed and, at times, riveting. Not sure if it has a point of view, though.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

4) THE LEGEND OF HERCULES (PG-13)
Lionsgate
SHAWN
How bad is "The Legend of Hercules?" Probably pretty because I don't know a single person alive who has seen this movie.

RUSS: Did not screen.
SHAWN: Did not screen.

Movies at Home:

1) CARRIE (R)
Screen Gems (Sony)

SHAWN
This remake or retelling, whatever you want to call it, is scary and creepy. But despite the pedigree, the talent involved — and Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore — are good and director Kimberly Pierce who adequately guides things the movie never measures up to the original.

RUSS
Russ says it’s almost slavishly close to the original movie in story and execution, but time and countless imitations have taken some of the edge off of this dark thriller. Julianne Moore is spot on, though.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

2. ENOUGH SAID (PG-13)
20th Century Fox
SHAWN
“Enough Said” is a satisfying love story. The two leads -- Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini are charming in this refreshing story.

RUSS
It's a welcome adult romance with a strong cast, but it's an example of admirable parts that don’t quite add up to a completely satisfying whole.
RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

3. FRUITVALE STATION (R)
The Weinstein Company

SHAWN
"Fruitvale Station" is an emotional and sobering portrait of how
the urban sprawls if America eats it young. Brilliant and painful. Director Ryan Coogler look at Oscar Grant's last 24-hours of life before being gunned down by a transit cop is masterful. throw in Michael B. Jordan as Grant and Academy award winner Octavia Spencer as his mom and you have something special.

RUSS
Russ says gritty, somber and emotionally involving, “Fruitvale Station” shines a timely spotlight on the American culture of violence. The cast is first rate. The extras include Fruitvale Station: The Story of Oscar Grant and a Q and A with the cast.
RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 5 Popcorn Bags

4) LEE DANIELS' THE BUTLER (PG-13)
The Weinstein Company
SHAWN
"Lee Daniels The Butler" is compelling, interesting and interesting but it isn't a great movie. I liked it a lot but the film just din't feel epic enough to give it's subject matter the justice it fully deserves.

RUSS
Russ says the script and direction are a bit slapdash, but “The Butler” still packs an emotional punch. The extras include a fascinating featurette on the original Freedom Riders.

RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

5) RIDDICK (R)
Universal

SHAWN
Poor Vin Diesel. He's been trying to elevate interest in this Riddick character for years. but what this movie really needed in the worst way was some fast cars. and also some furious attitude. this exercise in nothingness isn't worth anyone's time.

RUSS
Russ says it's all pretty silly, but fans of the previous films are truly avid and they should enjoy the well-produced B-movie mayhem that is served up.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bags

6) THE SPECTACULAR NOW (R)
A24
SHAWN
Thoughtful and well acted. "The Spectacular Now" is a surprisingly mature love story.

RUSS
The awkward romance between two troubled teens could have been fodder for a forgettable after school special, but is given thoughtful and realistic treatment here.

RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

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