Screening Room: “Insidious Chapter 2,” “The Family” and more

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KANSAS CITY, MO --

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 (PG-13)

RUSS

“Insidious: Chapter 2” is the sequel to filmmaker James Wan’s successful 2011 horror flick about ghosts and astral projection.

SHAWN

And it is scary good. Director James Wan and his writing partner Leigh Whannell have become horror masters. They own this genre. Check the resume which includes "Saw," "Insidious" and "The Conjuring."

RUSS

Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne return as a young couple that attempts to protect their children from specters who have invaded the realm of the living.

SHAWN

There is a classic old school vibe about these movies which makes them so frightening. They are also well executed.

RUSS

Director Wan throws every classic horror cliché at us, but he knows how to build tension and, for the most part, the formula works.

SHAWN

That's because James Wan is the Steven Spielberg of horror. It's been a strong year for scary movies and "Insidious 2" is one of the best.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

THE FAMILY (R)

RUSS

Robert DiNiro and Michelle Pfeiffer star in “The Family,” a violent and tone-deaf comedy about an American Mafia family in the witness protection program hiding out in rural France. Because of the peculiar ways they deal with problems, FBI man Tommy Lee Jones has trouble keeping this clan from blowing its cover.

SHAWN

"The Family" is a lazy, stupid and incoherent failure. Don't get sucked in by the A-List cast. They are all sleepwalking straight to the bank.

RUSS

A few filmmakers have the right touch needed to make such dark and ugly material seem funny. Unfortunately, director Luc Besson is not one of them. This family should have stayed undercover.

SHAWN

"The Family" just isn't  funny. It's dysfunctional at best. And la huge disappointment considering everyone involved.

RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bags

AUSTENLAND (PG-13)

RUSS

Keri Russell stars in “Austenland,” an utterly artificial comedy based on Shannon Hale’s novel. Russell plays a lonely Jane Austen fan who goes to England to a resort called Austenland, where the Austen era is recreated and participants can live out a romantic “Pride and Prejudice” fantasy.

Jennifer Coolidge has some funny moments as a crass American tourist, but “Austenland” still isn’t worth the visit.

RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags

IN A WORLD (R)

RUSS

Actress Lake Bell wrote, produced, directed and stars in, “In a World…” a likable comedy about Hollywood voiceover actors. It’s very self aware, but clever and good hearted enough to work in spite of its rough spots. Bell is certainly a talent to be reckoned with.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

HANNAH ARENDT (Not Rated)

RUSS

Famed German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt gets the biopic treatment in Margarethe von Trotta's compelling drama. Barbara Sukowa stars as the title character who ignited controversy after a series of articles she wrote in "The New Yorker" about the trial of ex-Nazi Adolf Eichmann, coining the phrase, the "Banality of Evil."

Thanks to terrific acting and a thoughtful approach, "Hannah Arendt" builds tension in spite of the fact that there is little in the way of action.

RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags

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