Patriot act: Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughy and company in “Magic Mike.”
Updated: June 29, 2012 12:22PM
FOLLOW ME: THE YONI NETANYAHU STORY
★ ★ ★
Rated: No MPAA rating
Stars: Yonatan Netanyahu, Benjamin Netanyahu, Tirza Goodman
This affecting documentary tells the life story of Colonel Yonatan Netanyahu, leader of the 1976 commando raid that freed 103 Israeli hostages at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport — and the only Israeli killed during the mission. The detailed story of the raid is fascinating, but even more so is the revelation of Netanyahu’s complex and poetic character, revealed in intimate letters to friends and family, including his brother, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The only outstanding flaw in “Follow Me” is its unnecessary use of sentimental music to underscore the pathos of this reluctant warrior’s story, which speaks for itself. Produced and co-directed by Skokie native Ari Daniel Pinchot.
Rated: R for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language and some drug use
Stars: Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Olivia Munn
An experienced male stripper (Tatum) takes a new recruit under his wing and teaches him the sleazy tricks of the trade. Steven Soderbergh (“Ocean’s Eleven”) directed the comedy, based on Tatum’s pre-Hollywood professional life.
MADEA’S WITNESS PROTECTION
Rated: PG-13 for some crude sexual remarks and brief drug references
Stars: Tyler Perry, Eugene Levy, Denise Richards
A Wall Street investment banker (Levy) who has agreed to testify against the mob is relocated by the FBI to the home of Madea (Perry) and her family. Perry (“Good Deeds”) wrote and directed the comedy.
PEOPLE LIKE US
Rated: PG-13 for language, some drug use and brief sexuality
Stars: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer
After his father dies, a young man (Pine) has to deliver an inheritance to a sister (Banks) he has never known. Screenwriter Alex Kurtzman (“Cowboys and Aliens”) makes his directorial debut with the drama.
Rated: R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth McFarlane
After growing up with his teddy bear following a boyhood Christmas wish, a man (Wahlberg) realizes he will have to choose between his rude, crude lifelong pal (voiced by McFarlane) and his girlfriend (Kunis). McFarlane (TV’s “Family Guy”) wrote and directed the comedy for his feature debut.
TO ROME WITH LOVE
Rated R for some sexual references
Stars: Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Penelope Cruz
Four tales of love in the Eternal City. Allen (“Midnight in Paris”) wrote and directed the comedy, reviewed in this section.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER
Rated: R for violence throughout and brief sexuality
Stars: Benjamin Walker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anthony Mackie
It certainly looked promising, but this ever-so-slightly revisionist history from producer Tim Burton and action maestro Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted”) turns out to be a disaster. A sense of fun is the first thing you need if you’re planning to make a movie about Abraham Lincoln’s lifelong crusade to rid the world of vampires, but it’s nowhere to be found in this gory, constantly over-the-top, and almost unbelievably inept slaughter fest. Instead, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” makes a deadly serious effort, and painfully fails, to incorporate vampire slaying into Lincoln’s real-life concerns — the Civil War, slavery and the like. Only one scene, a dazzling set piece in which Lincoln (with his whirling, kung-fu rail-splitting axe) battles a vampire in the midst of a stampeding horse herd, suggests how mind-blowing this film might have been.
★ ★ ★
Rated: PG for some scary action and rude humor
Stars: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters
Beautifully rendered, generally entertaining and even occasionally moving, this revisionist fairy tale, with its resourceful, independent and entirely unromantic young heroine, only disappoints as a product of Pixar Animation. Compared to Pixar’s typically adventurous and sophisticated previous efforts, “Brave” is a surprisingly conventional tale, in which tomboy princess Merida (Macdonald), whose abilities with a bow and arrow make Katniss of “The Hunger Games” look pathetic, defies her mother’s attempts to marry her off, storms off into the forest on horseback, acquires a magic spell from a nearby witch, and spends the rest of the film stuck in old-school Disney territory.
SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD
Rated : R for language including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence
Stars: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley
As a planet-destroying asteroid hurtles toward the Earth, a man (Carell) takes a road trip in search of his high-school sweetheart. Screenwriter Lorene Scafaria (“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”) makes her writing/directing debut with the apocalyptic romance.
ROCK OF AGES ★ ★ 1/2
Rated: PG-13 for sexual content, suggestive dancing, some heavy drinking and language
Stars: Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand
The best argument to come along in a long time that rock is indeed dead, Adam “Hairspray” Shankman’s bland adaptation of the Broadway musical is way too long and remarkably tedious, considering that it’s all about the wild and crazy heyday of ’80s hair-metal. Juianne Hough and Diego Boneta givetheir all as the small-town girl and big-city boy who fall in love while dreaming of rock stardom on the Sunset Strip — but nothing makes much of an impression except Cruise as decadent superstar Stacee Jaxx. And the most memorable thing about his performance is his devil’s-head codpiece. Fortunately, Baldwin and Brand are on hand to supply much-needed comic relief.
SAFETY NOT GUARANTE ED★ ★ ★
Rated: R for language including some sexual references
Stars: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake M. Johnson
The only thing potentially disappointing about this quirky, warm-hearted and generally satisfying indie romance is the ending. Though while its radical shift in tone seems likely to annoy some people (me included), it’s likely to strike others as just right. Plaza of TV’s “Parks and Recreation” (in a star-making performance) is perfect as Darius, a prematurely world-weary magazine intern dragooned into a team-assignment to track down and profile a local loony (Duplass) who has placed aclassified ad for time-travel companions. “Safety not Guaranteed” is as much about love, loss and regret as it is about time travel, but it also does a nice job, until the last few scenes, of keeping us guessing about whether or not our sweet, damaged, eccentric hero is as crazy as he seems. Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
THAT’S MY BOY
Rated: R for crude sexual content throughout, nudity, pervasive language and some drug use
Stars: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Vanilla Ice
After raising his son (Samberg) as a single father, a man (Sandler) disappears on the boy’s 18th birthday, only to reappear and raise havoc later in life. Sean Anders (“Hot Tub Time Machine”) directed the comedy.
MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE’S MOST WANTED★ ★
Rated: PG for some mild action and rude humor
Stars: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith
In the “Madagascar”-verse, it’s energy an d oomph that matter, and enough general silliness to keep youngsters giggling, even during the de rigeur moral lessons — and there’s enough of all three in this third installment to power “M3” to another half-billion-dollar box office take. Even though inspiration is more sadly lacking than ever and the whole enterprise has an air of frantic desperation. This outing has the four Central Park Zoo refugees fleeing across Europe from a demented animal control officer (voiced by Frances McDormand), while hiding in a down-and-out circus.
S NOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality
Stars: Kristin Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron
In this revisionist fairy tale, the Huntsman (Hemsworth) assigned to kill Snow White (Stewart) instead becomes her protector and helps lead a revolt against the evil queen (Theron). Director Rupert Sanders makes his feature debut with the fantasy adventure.