“The Ward” is director John Carpenter’s latest thriller about a young woman (played by Amber Heard) who is being held against her will in a psychiatric hospital. While there, horrific things begin to occur. I’ll be honest: this is a generally bad movie; however, Carpenter knows what he’s doing. For fans of creepy but tongue-in-cheek horror, “The Ward” will satisfy. Expect things to jump out from nowhere and scare the bejesus out of you. Mamie Gummer also provides a somewhat captivating performance as one of the inmates. 2010, Rated R, 88 minutes, horror, thriller. Rating 2 out of 4 stars.
“Xmen: First Class” is a commendable comic action film from director Matthew Vaughn. A talented cast, a story that pulls you in and dazzling special effects set this film a bit above most other summer movies. We go back in time to see when Professor Xavier and Magneto meet–and learn when Xavier begins his school for students with super-human abilities. 2011, Rated PG-13, 132 minutes, action, adventure, drama. Rating 2.5 out of 3 stars.
“Larry Crowne” is about a recently fired middle-aged man who returns to college. The film is based on a moderately funny script and features charismatic acting from Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks (who also directed). The feel-good comedy-romance never really rises above the lightweight category, but it entertains. 2011, Rated PG-13, 98 minutes, comedy, drama, romance. Rating 2.5 out of 4 stars.
“Green Lantern” is yet another comic action hero fighting to save the planet. The film was generally panned by most critics, but I enjoyed it well enough. Yes, it’s cheesey. But if you go into the film expecting a bit of corny fun, then you’ll likely enjoy it more. Ryan Reynolds plays an airline pilot enlisted by a dying alien hero to become the Green Lantern. Peter Sarsgaard is his perfectly disgusting nemesis. 2011, Rated PG-13, 114 minutes, action, crime, fantasy. Rating 2 out of 4 stars.
“Horrible Bosses” is yet another let’s-see-how-crude-we-can-be comedies; this one is about three guys who hate their bosses and plan to kill them. Okay, so it’s a dark comedy. Of course, despite the heavy premise, hijinks ensue. The dialogue is slight and many of the jokes flimsy, but the film is saved by some genuinely funny performances, notably Charlie Day (who almost steals the show), Kevin Spacey and Jason Bateman. 2011, Rated R, 98 minutes, comedy, crime. Rating 2 out of 4 stars.
“Zookeeper” is a largely unfunny film about a zookeeper who wants to win over a girl who doesn’t like him because he is a zookeeper. Also, there are talking animals. The animals set out to help their favorite keeper to fall in love. The film’s title character is portrayed by Kevin James who enacts pretty-much the same character from all of his other movies. The animal voices are annoying, but the film isn’t all bad–I laughed a few times. Younger movie goers might get a kick out of the talking animals. 2011, Rated PG, 102 minutes, comedy, family, romance. Rating 1.5 out of 4 stars.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” is a well-executed, thrilling special effects extravaganza filled with quirky characters and of course, magic. I’ve enjoyed Harry’s run over the years, but to be honest, this most recent film felt a little soulless to me and the acting a bit stiff. That said, Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort is a sight to behold. Even behind his disfiguring makeup, the actor’s performance is one to be remembered for the ages. Fans of the books and earlier films will love the movie–and non-fans will likely enjoy it too. Awesome music near the end of the movie provides a befitting end to the epic. Though, it wouldn’t surprise me if we see more from the world of Harry Potter in the future. 2011, rated PG-13, 130 minutes, adventure, drama, fantasy. Rating 3 out of 4 stars.
“I Saw the Devil” is a knock-down, drag-out, crime-horror-chase movie from South Korean director Jee-woon Kim. Min-sik Choi portrays a psychopathic serial killer. Byung-hun Lee is the fiance of one of the killer’s victims. The latter wants revenge and sets out to get it. The film is exceptionally violent, bloody and intense, which are not normally things I enjoy, but the film is well-directed with great performances. So while this film is not for the squeamish, if you can stand it, it’s a horrific, nail-biting ride. 2010, Not Rated, 141 minutes, crime, drama, horror. Rating 3 out of 4 stars.