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“Riddick” – A show of hands. How many of you were clamoring for a sequel to 2004’s somnambulant, stillborn Vin Diesel flop “The Chronicles of Riddick” (itself a sequel to the not-bad 2000 sci-fier, “Pitch Black”)? Thought so. Despite being a movie nobody except die hard fanboys was remotely interested in, this Diesel vanity project is competently made
and not entirely without interest. Whether that qualifies as a recommendation depends on your tolerance for chintzy, video game-style CGI and Diesel’s muscle-bound thesping (C-).
“The Way, Way Back” – Funny and touching coming-of-age story about a teenage misfit (the terrific Liam James) who blossoms under the tutelage of an adult coworker (Sam Rockwell, fantastic) at a water park. Written and directed by Jim Rash and Nat Faxon (who won an Oscar for their “Descendants” screenplay), it’s a refreshing alternative to
overproduced–and generally underwhelming–CGI extravaganzas (B+).
New on DVD:
“Peeples” – Craig (“The Office”) Robinson pays a surprise visit to his future in-laws in this Tyler Perry-produced riff on “Meet the Parents.” Robinson is always fun to watch and Kerry Washington is dependably strong as his blue blood fiancee, but the laughs begin tapering off around the halfway mark. Still, it’s better than anything Perry himself has helmed (or written) in recent years (C).
“Star Trek Into Darkness” – While not the exhilarating blast J.J. Abrams’ 2009 “Star Trek” reboot was, Abrams’ considerably more somber follow-up is still better than the average Hollywood tentpole/franchise flick. The perfectly cast new crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise (Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, et al) remains great company, and Benedict Cumberbatch steals every scene he’s in as the future Khan. Abrams has once again made a “Star Trek” movie even non-Trekkies can dig (B+).