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In Theaters: 'Campaign' Your Friends To See 'The Bourne Legacy' Or Spend '2 Days In New York' This 'Red Hook Summer' Weekend

The Playlist By Emma Bernstein | The Playlist August 10, 2012 at 5:01PM

Happy Friday everyone! This weekend’s theatrical rollout has adopted a definite tenor, one that should have you rolling in the aisles…or groaning into your popcorn, as the case may be. But, hey – you can’t win ‘em all. The studios have put out the comedies in spades, with a little bit of every flavor for all you discerning moviegoers. Whether it be satire or romantic comedy, we wish you many laughs! (And, hopefully, snorting your drink out through your nose.)
1
Campaign Bourne Legacy 2 Days In New York Red Hook Summer

Happy Friday everyone! This weekend’s theatrical rollout has adopted a definite tenor, one that should have you rolling in the aisles…or groaning into your popcorn, as the case may be. But, hey – you can’t win ‘em all. The studios have put out the comedies in spades, with a little bit of every flavor for all you discerning moviegoers. Whether it be satire or romantic comedy, we wish you many laughs! (And, hopefully, snorting your drink out through your nose.)

Okay, fine. This first one’s not that funny. The CIA’s super-secret, super-effective assassin training programs are revisited in the latest installment in the Bourne series, opening this weekend. “The Bourne Legacy,” helmed by Tony Gilroy, revs up where “The Bourne Ultimatum” left off, but marks the cycle’s reboot, as Matt Damon’s Bourne is traded in for Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), another lethal agent whose career is just beginning. To deal with the public fallout of Bourne’s last known act – revealing the existence of these programs to the world – Langley heavyweights (Stacy Keach and Ed Norton) decide to eradicate all evidence of the remaining training projects, which, of course, includes the trainees themselves. Suddenly a target, Cross is abruptly fleeing from his own people, and joins forces with a scientist (Rachel Weisz), also unknowingly wrapped up in the conspiracy, to evade the feds. Our review admits the film “suffers from information overload in its first act, bordering on confusion,” but is impressed with the performances from Renner and Weisz, and concludes, “if you're looking for a traditional sequel though, you'll probably be disappointed, but if it's a whole new ride you're after, you've come to the right place.” Metacritic: 61 Rotten Tomatoes: 60%

Will Ferrell Zach Galifianakis The Campaign

A first-time politician, plucked from the masses, goes head to head with a ham-fisted incumbent in “The Campaign,” from director Jay Roach. When largely incompetent but unopposed North Carolina Congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) becomes enveloped in scandal, wealthy Washington lobbyists (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) opt to groom an alternate candidate, hoping the novice will support their corrupt plans in return once he’s elected. Their most excellent choice: the effeminate, socially awkward, dog-loving, fanny-pack wearing Marty (Zach Galifianakis). And thus begins the manipulative, pandering, mud-slinging rat race to Election Day – yay! Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott, Brian Cox, Katherine LaNasa, and Kathryn Hahn co-star. Our review dubs the movie “a proudly-vulgar idiot festival that wears its sophomoric R-rating on its sleeve, infusing a ripe satirical comedic idea with nonsensical foul content in lieu of character, story and comedic resonance.” MC: 52 RT: 66%

David Frankel’s “Hope Springs,” which hit theaters on Wednesday, provides a comedic glimpse into a flagging relationship that’s given a sudden boost by a wife’s desire for change and a therapist’s gentle insights. Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold’s (Tommy Lee Jones) marriage is well into its twilight years (read: lacking intimacy), rendering Kay isolated and unloved. Though Arnold seems content to continue down the sexless path, she’s ready for action, and books them a weeklong “vacation” at a couples’ therapy retreat in Maine. Their assigned marriage counselor (Steve Carell) moves full steam ahead, employing the talking cure and radical treatments (a movie camera is involved) alike to help the pair make a breakthrough. The tried and true rom com tropes are all here, creating a film that feels too broad at times, but the largely earnest tone with which an aging couple’s marital ills are portrayed help to bring it back down to earth. MC: 67 RT: 79%

2 Days In New York Julie Delpy

The comedy “2 Days in New York,” directed by Julie Delpy, picks up a few years down the road from the conclusion of its prequel, “2 Days in Paris.” Marion (Delpy) has cast off her last boyfriend and the city of lights in favor of Gotham and a new beau, Mingus (Chris Rock). They live a happy, comfortable life that is suddenly upended by the arrival of Marion’s father (Albert Delpy) and sister, Rose (Alexia Landeau). The expected family-plus-one-mismatched-significant-other dramedy ensues, a series of laughably uncomfortable moments made all the worse by the arrival of Rose’s boorish boyfriend (Alexandre Nahon). Of course, the fact that he’s also one of Marion’s former flames doesn’t really help the situation either. Our review calls the film “fresh, vibrant and most of all, disarmingly funny. Like the very best characters, Marion is someone you'll be glad to revisit and ‘2 Days In New York’ with her, is not bad at all.” MC: 57 RT: 73%

Flick (Jules Brown) is shipped off from his home in Atlanta to spend a “Red Hook Summer” with his grandfather, Enoch (Clarke Peters), in Spike Lee’s new film. Hoping to steer technophile Flick toward a less insular life, Enoch involves the boy in his own duties as a bishop and local activist, an approach that doesn’t quite take. As the cleric attempts to offer his grandson the guidance and affection that is lacking at home, a menacing threat from his past further complicates the pair’s relationship and Enoch’s place in the Brooklyn community. Our review says, “the movie isn’t perfect,” but commends Peters’ performance and finishes with, “Lee’s clarity of vision hasn’t been this sharp or unique since before ‘Crooklyn,’ and it’s thrilling with ‘Red Hook Summer’ to witness a return to the technique – and most of all, emotional wallop – that even today continues to give his films an enduring life as both entertainment, and enlightenment.” MC: 51 RT: 70%

Goats

A young man ventures away from home and, in the process, discovers untold truths about himself, his family, and the outside world in Christopher Neil’s directorial premiere, “Goats,” adapted by Mark Poirier from his own novel. At the urging of his father (Ty Burrell) and stepmother (Keri Russell), Ellis (Graham Phillips) says goodbye to his new-age mom (Vera Farmiga) and her gardener/pot supplier/boyfriend (David Duchovny) and enrolls in prep school. Once there, he quickly realizes he’s not the only kid with a dysfunctional family, and is forced to reconsider his place in his modern family and the modern world alike. Though he begins to embrace adulthood, his parents’ apparent shortcomings can’t help but give Ellis pause as he wonders, what’s so great about growing up anyway? Our review admires the acting and directing, but calls the film’s coming-of-age motif “unexceptionally familiar,” observing that it “mostly distracts you from the fact that nothing’s really going on on screen other than what the rest of us deal with – real life – which sadly isn’t enough.” MC: 37 RT: 12%

Victor Mignatti’s documentary “This Time” relates the comeback of The Sweet Inspirations, a troupe of backup singers that, though never particularly successful in their own right, garnered a certain degree of status performing alongside the crème de la crème of the '50s music scene: Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, among many others. Over the years, the group has embraced such members as Dionne Warwick, Dee Dee Warwick and Cissy Houston, and was signed to Atlantic Records (purely to make the singers available to everyone else on the label, but still). Tales of modern-day cabaret singer Bobby Belfry and largely forgotten disco-era artist Pat Hodges also pepper the film, but in unfortunately disjointed, unrelated ways to its centerpiece. Our review says, “unfocused, and feeling mostly incomplete in even the most basic standards of documentary film, ‘This Time’ unfortunately reflects an amateur approach,” ultimately deeming the doc “a disappointment, a missed opportunity to let viewers know just where these R&B acts came from, and why we should be interested in where they go tomorrow.” MC: 37 RT: no score yet

This article is related to: The Campaign, The Bourne Legacy, Goats, 2 Days In New York, Red Hook Summer


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