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“Jobs” – Ashton Kutcher seems awfully miscast in the lead role of this prosaic, by-the-numbers biopic of late Apple guru Steve Jobs. Not terrible, just profoundly unmemorable. It might have worked better as a cable flick. (C).
“Kick-Ass 2” – Okay follow-up to the cultish 2009 film reunites most of the original cast (Aaron Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and adds perennial wild card Jim Carrey (very good) into the mix. Conspicuously absent is the subversiveness and shock value that made the original such a jaw-dropping surprise. The result is pretty much just another comic book movie–albeit a (deservedly)R-rated one. (C+).
“Paranoia” – Pedestrian thriller in which, ironically, nobody is quite paranoid enough. Some good actors (including Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford) turn in decent supporting performances, but callow, pretty boy lead Liam Hemsworth seems out of his depth. Director Robert Luketic (“21,” “Win a Date With Tad Hamilton”) has done better–and worse (“The Ugly Truth”). (C-).
New on DVD:
“Amour” – Michael (“The White Ribbon,” “Funny Games”) Haneke’s 2012 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film is a rigorously crafted, emotionally bruising account of the lengths to which an elderly man will go to care for his ailing wife. As the long-married couple, Gallic screen icons Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva deliver performances of extraordinary tenderness and dignity. (A).
“Epic” – Pleasant CGI animated film that improves on 1992 cult ‘toon “Ferngully: The Last Rainforest” by creating a vividly realized sylvan setting with characters you actually care about. A theatrical underperformer, it should have no trouble finding a larger audience on home video. (B).
“Scary Movie 5” – Surprisingly not terrible. There are some (mild) chuckles, the performers are all game and I was impressed to discover a semblance of actual plot sandwiching the references to scary–and, in the case of “Inception,” not so scary– movies. (“Mama,” the primary film referenced/spoofed, opened less than three months ago.) The director, Malcolm D. Lee, previously helmed some not-bad movies (“Undercover Brother,” “The Best Man”). This is another. (C).