PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Words and Pictures” (PG-13) — In an leafy and enchanting New England prep school, teacher Jack Marcus (Clive Owen) acts as a bit of a renegade academic, daring his students to truly experience literature. See, he’s a washed-up author who’s become quite a drinker and an even bigger windbag. Enter the new art teacher, Dina (Juliette Binoche), a tight-lipped fine-art painter who left the big city. Jack and Dina have lots of pseudo-intellectual banter before falling in love.
The movie’s ongoing debate over the superior artistic medium — words or pictures — seems more than a little forced. We’re watching a movie, so clearly both are just as important, right? For a movie about a witty romance between smart people, it sure takes the slow and obvious route.
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“Brick Mansions” (PG-13) — A brutal crime lord has acquired a weapon of mass destruction, and it’s up to two hardcore dudes to shut it down with as many awesome stunts as possible. Paul Walker, in his last complete film, stars as a narcotics detective in a near-future version of Detroit. He’s paired with Lino (David Belle), an acrobatic ex-con who’s dedicated to getting gangs and drugs out of his neighborhood.
The action is downright impressive: Belle is a legend in the world of Parkour, the sport of moving rapidly over obstacles using only momentum. Without wires or computer assistance, this guy leaps across rooftops and bounces around faster than Daffy Duck. Though it’s no fault of Walker’s, this movie doesn’t stack up to its source, a 2004 French flick called “District B-13.”
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“The Hornet’s Nest” (R) — Real footage from the front lines shows the chaos of war in this documentary made by directors David Salzburg and Christian Turead, using video from journalist Mike Boettcher. In a mountainous region of Afghanistan, along the Pakistani border, the 101st Airborne descends into the Kunar valley to fight Taliban forces running the area. It was predicted to be a day-long mission, but it turned into nine days of fighting. This documentary doesn’t go into causes or impacts of the war, but focuses on the astounding experiences of the troops in the thick of it.
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“Palo Alto” (R) — Dreamy and disaffected teenagers in a nice California suburb emote all of the angst, longing and confusion in this film about wasted youth. April (Emma Roberts) is a high-school girl who is occasionally teased as the class virgin, and frequently teased for being the favorite of her super-cute soccer coach, Mr. B (James Franco). Teddy (Jack Kilmer) is interested in April, but he keeps getting caught in the bad decisions of his best friend, Fred — a human vortex of disturbing teen recklessness. First-time director Gia Coppola (yes, related) adapted the movie from a series of short stories by Franco.
“Homeland: Season 3”
“Supernatural: Season 9”
“Vampire Diaries: Season 5”
“Blue Bloods: Season 4”
“Dynasty: The Final Season — Vol. 1 & 2 Pack”
© 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.