The Edmonton Sun n Friday, May 4, 2012

21 jump street
In 21 Jump Street, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum turn up first as high school enemies. Hill is a nerd; Tatum is the popular jock. Time passes, and both men enrol in the police academy. They’re hopeless as cops. Nonetheless, they get an assignment to catch a drug lord operating out of a high school, and so our bumbling heroes turn back the clock several years to go undercover. The film is rude, speedy and outrageous, and we mean that in the best way. **** guy (Fran Kranz) for comic relief. There’s something else going on here, but you’ll have to see the movie to find out what. The less you know about this film, the more fun you’re going to have. The Cabin in the Hoods is clever, naughty, irreverent, exhilarating and truly bizarre. **** The nature documentary Chimpanzee goes inside the life of a young chimp named Oscar and his family; the group has been followed for decades by evolutionary biologist Christophe Boesch, so the filmmakers had plenty of history to draw upon. Chimpanzee was filmed in Africa over a period of about four years. Chimpanzee offers an opportunity to help children learn more about the primates and how their environment is changing. ***

The weekend guide

the hunger games
Based on the popular book, The Hunger Games stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen who lives in an American dystopia, where the rich, decadent Capitol rules brutally over 12 “districts.” The Hunger Games are a ritual, wherein each district chooses a boy and girl to take part in a mass fight to the death. Katniss steps in to replace her fragile kid sister, and is joined by the local baker Peeta Mell a r k ( Jo s h Hu t c h e r s o n ) . They’re joined by a couple of dubious mentors, including etiquette advisor Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), wardrobe advisor Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), and the drunk and cynical Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson). The Hunger Games is undeniably a rich fantasy adventure. **** Willem Dafoe stars in The Hunter as Martin David, a mercenary employed by a biotech company to follow up on sightings of a Tasmanian Tiger. He’s to hunt down the animal, keeping blood and bone samples and destroying everything else. He stays in a rural cabin with a hippie family, where the power is off, there’s no hot water and mom is heavily sedated. There’s a constant tension in The Hunter between the danger involved in Dafoe’s relentless quest for the tiger and the beauty of the landscape he moves through. *** In The Lucky One Zac Efron plays a U.S. Mar ine who returns home from a stint in Iraq. Wracked by survivor guilt, Efron goes on a crosscountry journey to find himself and the woman of his broken dreams. The charismatic Taylor Schilling, playing the owner-operator of a Louisiana dog kennel, is Efron’s salvation. And he is hers. Melodrama and sappy music envelope all. Yet, at its core, The Lucky One is compelling and Efron is surprisingly up to the task of conveying this humanity. ***


american reunion
American Reunion is the fourth installment of the sex-crazed comedy. The old crowd gets together back for a high school reunion, and it turns out some things never change. Jim (Jason Biggs) is still preoccupied with masturbating; Oz (Chris Klein) is a successful TV sportscaster; Stiffler (Seann William Scott) is still a lusty loose cannon obsessed with high school girls; and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) are about the same. American Reunion is a dopey movie with two or three laugh-out-loud moments. **

Damsels in Distress
Opens today.

the hunter

Dr. seuss’ the loraX
The Lorax, based on Dr. Seuss’ book, focuses on a lovestruck boy named Ted (voiced by Zac Efron), who’s determined to find a real tree for the beautiful Audrey (Taylor Swift), with the help of his raging granny (Betty White). The quest takes him to the hermit home of the Once-ler (Ed Helms), who tells the tale of a misguided young man and how his dream of providing materials for the masses produced ecological disaster. This despite the fervent efforts of the defender of the trees, the Lorax (Danny DeVito). The Lorax is a fun, fast-paced little movie. ***


Emily Blunt and Jason Segel star in the romantic comedy, The Five-Year Engagement.
the Pirate Of The Year Award. Trouble is, the Pirate of The Year is chosen for his plunder and his bloodthirsty ways, and the Pirate Captain is somewhat inept at villainy and at robbery on the high seas. But he’s willing to try. Pirates! Band of Misfits will also be of interest to anyone keen on laughing outloud at a charming comedy. *** Jason Statham with a unique twist or two. In the flick, he’s a second-rate MMA cage fighter who finds himself homeless. Eventually he comes to the aid of a Chinese-American girl who is in distress and soon becomes involved with the New York Russian mafia, some Asian gangs, a gaggle of crooked cops, rancid politicians and a corrupt governmental system. *** that hadn’t even won a regular season game in the two seasons before Bill Courtney came on board. Undefeated does more to draw a straight line between the desire to win and the character of a man than a thousand locker room pep talks. ****

the avengers
Opens today. The documentary Bully shows the immediate negative effect of bullying but also points to the lasting damage that will be done to some of the children. Bully is an intelligent and completely engaging film and it’s also an important social document that shows, in the experience of a few kids, a contemporary epidemic. ****


the lucky one

Wrath oF the titans
The sequel to Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans returns us to Perseus (Sam Worthington), who is called into battle again when Zeus’s (Liam Neeson) brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) plan to unleash Chronos, the exiled god of the Titans. Perseus fights a Minotaur, not one but three Cyclops, and so on. Wrath of the Titans is a big, dumb, spectacular, dazzling, roller-coaster of pseudo-awesomeness. **
Ratings out of five

the Five-year engagement
Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are Tom and Violet, and The Five-Year Engagement is all about their courtship and their relationship. Various characters turn up to run away with the story, and in a good way: Chris Pratt, as Tom’s idiot coworker; Rhys Ifans as Violet’s professor boss; Dakota Johnson as a younger woman who catches Tom’s eye. The Five-Year Engagement is uneven but mostly funny. ***

the raven
The Raven is set in the last days of Edgar Allan Poe’s (John Cusack) life when, ostensibly, a serial killer is using Poe’s tales as a template for his hideous handiwork. The problem is that Cusack is required to portray Poe as a dissolute, pitiable drunken shadow, and in the next second have him spring to action to outwit a killer who’s kidnapped Poe’s fiancée (Alice Eve). The Raven is propulsive, character-thin and plot-heavy. **

think like a man
Opens today.

the cabin in the WooDs
The set-up in The Cabin in the Woods is familiar: a handful of attractive young men and women go off to an isolated cabin for a restful weekend. There’s the tarty girl (Anna Hutchison), the studly guy (Chris Hemsworth) a couple (played by Kristen Connolly and Jesse Williams) on a blind date and there’s stoner

The documentary Undefeated follows the The Manassas Tigers -- an underfunded, inner-city Memphis football team and its almost-obsessively- motivated volunteer football coach who undertakes an overhaul of possibly the worst high school football team in the entire U.S., a team that had never won a playoff game in its entire 100-year-plus history, and

the pirates! banD oF misFits
The animated Pirates! Band of Misfits involves a mild-mannered Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) and his quest to win

The New York thriller Safe is

Reviews by Liz Braun, Bruce Kirkland, Jim Slotek, Kevin Williamson and Steve Tilley