Picks of the week
(R, 124 minutes, Sony): This ball of contradiction from South African director Neill Blomkamp takes the concept of “Transcendence,” crosses it with the storyline of “RoboCop” and delivers it to the target demographic of “Short Circuit.” It is, in other words, simultaneously dumb, hyperviolent and cutesy. The titular hero is a rabbit-eared police droid that develops artificial intelligence and a streetwise swagger after being adopted by a gang of Johannesburg thugs. As voiced by Sharlto Copley, Chappie is far more human than his human nemesis Vincent (Hugh Jackman), a muscle-bound soldier-turned-robot-designer who stomps through every scene like one of his automated combat troops. The antiheroic characters played by non-actors Yolandi Visser and Ninja, of the South African rap duo Die Antwoord, are the best thing about the movie. Contains violence, obscenity, drug content and brief nudity.
‘Run All Night’
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(R, 114 minutes, Warner): Liam Neeson’s antihero Jimmy Conlon is hard to like, even with the reservoir of goodwill that the actor’s fans bring with them to his films, more and more of which feature some version of this damaged soul. It’s no wonder that Jimmy’s grown son Michael (Joel Kinnaman) hasn’t spoken to his father in five years. Just about the only one left with any feeling for Jimmy is Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), the mob boss for whom Jimmy once worked, and whose affection for his former triggerman seems closer to pity. But even that pity dries up when Jimmy kills Shawn’s son, an unpleasant cokehead who was about to shoot Michael. Shawn vows vengeance on his former employee, mustering his goons – and a coolly methodical hit man played by the rapper Common – to kill Michael as son-for-a-son payback. Contains violence, drug use, obscenity and sexual dialogue.
(R, 122 minutes, in Spanish with subtitles, Sony): This Oscar-nominated Argentine quirky comedy by writer-director Damián Szifrón is an anthology of six unrelated vignettes, mostly on the theme of vengeance. Contains violence, obscenity and sensuality.
(R, 91 minutes, Fox): While by no means a masterpiece, this comedy by Canadian director Ken Scott is a careful calibration of crass gags and genuine sentiment that succeeds more often than it fails. The film centers on Dan Trunkman (Vince Vaughn), a struggling businessman. Dan’s company employs a morose 67-year-old (Tom Wilkinson) and a borderline developmentally disabled kid (Dave Franco) and, when the opportunity to close a big deal presents itself, these three misfits set out on a business trip to Berlin. There, they encounter Dan’s former boss (Sienna Miller), who is competing for the same contract. Contains a lot of nudity and sexual humor, drug use and obscenity.
“The Lazarus Effect”
“The Wrecking Crew”
“Andre Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films”
“My Dinner With Andre”
“Vanya on 42nd Street”
“Two and a Half Men: Final Season”
“The Newsroom: Third Season”
“Laverne & Shirley: The Complete Series”
“The Odd Couple: Complete Series”