Reel-View Ratings: The Bigger The Beard, The Better The Movie
In the latest of a long, increasingly tired series of gritty reboots of classic characters, stories and films, it is Vlad the Impaler’s turn to explain how an infamous Romanian prince was immortalized as the most famous of all vampires. It doesn’t really work, with even the bloody cruelties of Vlad seeming, well, a bit bloodless, since he’s obligated to drone on about honor, family and love, and ruin any momentum the film manages to build. It’s cliché, it’s bland and it’s not worth watching. Star Luke Evans (best known as arrow-slinging Bard in The Hobbit) seems to be trying to carve his way into an action-hero niche, but with duds like these, Evans comes off as more of a budget-priced Orlando Bloom.
Opened Oct. 10, wide release
This is a story you’ve heard a thousand times before, and in at least a few hundred of those retellings, it was probably told better than it is here. Murray’s usually sharp about making his misanthropes endearing, but he isn’t really required to do much in this film — the script is intent on slamming the titular Vincent’s buried goodness in viewers’ faces as obviously as possible. Melissa McCarthy turns in a subdued (but excellent) performance as the mother next door, but pregnant stripper Naomi Watts seems out of place.
Opens Oct. 24 at Kahala Theatre
MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN
A father discovering that he and his son share a love for online pornography is meant, in Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children, as a sweeping commentary on the pitfalls of technology and social media in our contemporary society. But this shallow film (based on the novel by Chad Kultgen) comes off as a pretentiously preachy morality special. There’s something substantial here to be said about modern digital life, but flitting between different stories of Internet misuse and abuse, Men, Women & Children never stays with one family long enough to dole out more than obligatory parables.
Opens Oct. 17 at Kahala Theatre