Summaries are condensed from Blade or wire reviews and reflect the theater schedule starting Friday. Films are rated on a scale of 5 stars (best) to Bomb (worst). The reviewer’s name, movie running time, and abbreviations of the theaters where the movie is playing are at the end of each summary.
42. The new Jackie Robinson biopic is about honesty, not hero worship. Chadwick Boseman as No. 42 is less transcendent icon and more human, a Christ-like figure of the segregation era who struggles to turn the other cheek. Writer-director Brian Helgeland gives the Brooklyn Dodgers great much to despise, including the racist taunts of Philadelphia Phillies manager named Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk). The baseball drama has a strong supporting cast, but the film belongs to Boseman, and to Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers executive Branch Rickey and his grandiose speeches on the legacy of Robinson. PG-13; 3 stars; 88 min. (Baird) (FT)
The Call. When veteran 911 operator Jordan takes a life-altering call from a teenage girl who has just been abducted, she realizes that she must confront a killer from her past in order to save the girl’s life. R; 2 1/2 stars; 95 min. (Wire review) (MIT)
Escape from Planet Earth. Astronaut Scorch Supernova finds himself caught in a trap when he responds to an SOS from a notoriously dangerous alien planet. In 3-D at select times. PG; 2 1/2 stars; 89 min. (Wire review) (MIT)
The Great Gatsby. (FP, FT, LC) 143 min. PG-13; 2 1/2 stars; is F. Scott Fitzgerald shaped for the ADHD generation, it's restless, largely unfocused, and always in motion. It's also quite dazzling. The latest adaptation of the Roaring Twenties drama about the East Coast elite and those pretending to be stars Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Joel Edgerton. In 3-D at select theaters. (Baird) The Great GatsbyBaz Luhrmann’s
Iron Man 3. After two soaring, roaring solo adventures, it was inevitable that Iron Man would come crashing down. New director and co-writer Shane Black brings superficial complexity to the metal hero as Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) copes with his near death in The Avengers. Downey still has fun with the zingers, but Oscar winner Ben Kingsley as the villainous Mandarin is a wasted opportunity. Iron Man 3 has its moments, but it's no Avengers, the now gold standard of superhero fun. In 3-D at select theaters. PG-13; 2 1/2 stars; 130 min. (Baird) (FP, FT, LC, BG, SDI)
Oz the Great and Powerful. In this prequel to The Wizard of Oz, the great and powerful wizard is a con man named Oscar Diggs (James Franco) masquerading as a great magician in the early 1900s. A tornado carries him off to the land of Oz, where he meets the future Wicked Witch of the West (Mila Kunis), at this point the beautiful and naïve Theodora, and her scheming sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz), as well as the good witch Glinda (Michelle Williams), as well as a host of new characters. Director Sam Raimi is too preoccupied with the film’s stunning visuals and 3-D effects, and its lengthy middle section drags considerably. But a rousing finale is more than enough to win back smiles, as the familiar pieces are put in place for Dorothy’s smashing entrance into this world. Oz the Great and Powerful isn’t destined to become a classic, but it’s a fun time at the movies, one that reminds us that even old stories can be new again. PG; 3 1/2 stars; 130 min. (Baird) (MIT)
Star Trek Into Darkness. J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek was about restoring a moribund franchise. His sequel is about taking it for a spin. Into Darkness is a wild, action-packed ride, as Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto), and co. battle against one of their great adversaries (Benedict Cumberbatch), who is waging a one-man war against Star Fleet. PG-13; 4 1/2 stars; 132 min. (Baird) (FP, FT, LC, BG, SDI )