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“The Big Wedding” – Surprisingly not terrible. Despite a surfeit of gratuitous vulgarity and smarmy, inappropriate sex jokes, the overqualified cast (including Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace and Robin Williams) is such affable company they somehow manage to make a fairly dreadful script seem quasi-bearable. (C+).
“The Company You Keep” – A fantastic cast (Robert Redford, Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Richard Jenkins, et al) toplines this low-key adult drama about former ’70s college radicals. Too bad director Redford isn’t able to bring a sense of urgency or even a pace quicker than his own shuffling gait to the borderline somnambulant proceedings. As a result, the movie just sort of lies there for two very long hours. (C).
New on DVD:
“Broken City” – Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta Jones and the dependably great Jeffrey Wright (who steals every scene he’s in) provide emotional ballast for this slick, stylish urban noir melodrama by Albert (“From Hell,” “Menace II Society”) Hughes. The script isn’t great, but punchy pacing, moody lensing and strong performances insure that you won’t even notice. (B).
“The Guilt Trip” – Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen (both terrific) play mother and son in this only intermittently amusing road trip comedy that should have been a lot smarter (and funnier) than it is. (C+).
“Not Fade Away” – “Sopranos” creator David Chase wrote and directed this semi-autobiographical account of growing up in 1960’s New Jersey and the power of rock-and-roll. Superbly acted (“Sopranos” star James Gandolfini is tremendous as the teenage protagonist’s father), and with the type of uncanny period/productions details that make you feel like you’ve stepped into a time machine. One of 2012’s best films, it flopped in theaters, but should find a larger, more responsive audience on home video. (A).
“Silver Linings Playbook” – A 21st century “Moonstruck” (but even better), David O. Russell’s melancholy romantic comedy was last year’s preeminent feel-great movie. Even when the humor is muted by real pain, the central romance between Bradley Cooper (never better) and Jennifer Lawrence (unforgettable in an Oscar-winning performance) soars into the heavens. (A).