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Movie Reviews: Wrath Of The Titans, Mirror Mirror, Jeff Who Lives At Home
BY ROB HEDELT
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
“WRATH OF THE TITANS” (PG–13)
1 of 4 stars
SAM WORTHINGTON, LIAM NEESON, ROSAMUND PIKE, RALPH FIENNES
As ponderous as it is joyless, this unwelcome sequel in the “Titans” series employs outrageous special effects in the hope of dazzling viewers.
Instead, those effects are tedious and uninspired, whether it’s an irritating sliding maze of stone or a huge Kronos monster that’s a silly blob of fire swinging its arms in slow motion.
More problematic than the lame effects is the performance of Sam Worthington as Perseus.
Movie fans probably never thought they’d yearn for the excitement and personality Arnold Schwarzenegger could bring to a role, but Worthington’s performance has finally made that happen.
He can jump, run and fight when called upon to do so, but his leaden expressions and lack of any on-screen emotion will make film-goers yearn for something better. Like drying paint or the slowly rotating minute hand of a clock.
There are a few folks in this that almost make it sporadically entertaining.
Rosamund Pike does all she can as Andromeda, even making us believe she might actually fall for the oh-so-boring Perseus.
Likewise, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes put up a fight as Zeus and Hades in this deadly dull adventure.
But in the end, it’s a movie destined for the bargain bin. A big budget and extensive special effects were squandered on a story so uninspired that it’s painful to watch.
I’d like to see this series follow Zeus’s lead and die a natural, sequel-free death.
Rated PG–13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action. 107 min. [MC, PV, RA]
“MIRROR MIRROR” (PG)
2 of 4 stars
LILY COLLINS, JULIA ROBERTS, ARMIE HAMMER, NATHAN LANE
Without Julia Roberts and the creative and colorful look of this latest Snow White tale, it wouldn’t be worth a look.
But this picture from director Tarsem Singh has both, which makes the childlike romp through the fairy tale a bit of worthwhile whimsy for folks who like that sort of thing.
It’s played for children and the young at heart, as Snow White is helped by a group of seven dwarfs who are as goofy as characters on a Nickelodeon series.
Lily Collins is as sweet and winning as Snow has ever been, whether she’s battling the evil queen or helping the dwarfs learn to live better lives.
The film’s success hinges on the performance of Roberts as the evil queen. She has fun with it, making the conniving ruler a delicious and deviously devilish queen at every turn.
Another big plus in the cast: Nathan Lane as her bumbling servant Brighton.
Whether he’s mumbling about her doing the wrong thing or whining after being turned into a cockroach, he’s a guaranteed laugh every time he’s on screen.
Not so great: Armie Hammer as the prince who Snow falls for.
Is this a great movie? No, it really isn’t.
But if you want something that kids can get into—a sly look at a simple fairy tale awash in brilliant sets and brightly colored clothes—this one’s for you.
It also helps if you really like Julia Roberts, who seems to be having more fun here than anyone.
Rated PG for some fantasy action and mild rude humor 106 min. [MC, RA, RF]
“JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME” (R)
2 of 4 stars
JASON SEGEL, ED HELMS, SUSAN SARANDON, JUDY GREER
There are moments in this tale of a directionless slacker that are just too heavy on the cosmic stoner philosophizing.
Like when Jeff (Jason Segel) starts talking about everything in the universe being related as he runs down the daily signs that prove the link between all of humanity.
But when the dialogue gets past the psycho-babble, and the lost slacker soul starts to be the one who really understands people, it takes off.
It doesn’t go that far for the big finish, but it’s nice to see the way Jeff and the action around him link family members at they truly begin to appreciate one another.
It helps that the family is played by a cast that includes Susan Sarandon, Ed Helms and Judy Greer. Even Rae Dawn Chong is along for the ride.
Segel is one of those actors who generates easy sympathy on screen, and it benefits Jeff here.
Sure, he’s living in his mom’s basement, getting high and eating microwaved goodies, but a phone call takes him on an adventure that includes a sister-in-law contemplating a tryst, a mom questioning her life and even a life-threatening car wreck.
By film’s end, we see Jeff just may make something of himself.
Rated R for language including sexual references and some drug use. 83 min. [PV]