EDITOR’S NOTE: DVDs reviewed in this column will be available in stores the week of Aug. 18.
PICKS OF THE WEEK
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (PG-13) — Since he defeated the villain in the last movie and got the girl, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) loves being Spider Man.
He should be careful, though; a flashback shows that Peter’s genius parents left behind a trove of dangerous super-science research, just waiting to be discovered by the right psychopath. Spidey’s got his sticky hands full in this sequel — dodging lightning bolts from Electro (Jamie Foxx), grappling with the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and trying to keep a healthy relationship with his charming gal (Emma Stone).
The special effects have never been better, Spidey’s action scenes are thrilling as ever, and the stars of the show all turn in quality work.
But there are just too many threads in this web. With weird pacing and a heap of subplots, it’s hard to follow the action beyond the “boom-bang-pow.”
“Only Lovers Left Alive” (R) — Sick of vampires? Don’t give up just yet. Now that every two-bit production has taken a stab at the romanticized monsters, a talented director and a magnetic cast spread their wings, leaving their mark on the genre.
Tom Hiddleston is an underground musician who mourns mankind’s downward direction. Hiding out in a dilapidated corner of Detroit, he’s been in a centuries-long romance with Tilda Swinton, currently on a trip to Tangiers in search of high-quality hemoglobin. This couple is just too cool for mortality.
Director Jim Jarmusch puts just the right level of moodiness into every scene. While the characters and locales are depressed, the movie itself is as enjoyable as a tall drink of the good stuff.
“Fading Gigolo” (R) — An unassuming handyman, Fioravante (John Turturro), hears about a unique job opening — his dermatologist (Woody Allen) knows of two gorgeous women interested in having a threesome with the right guy. Hesitantly, Fioravante agrees, and a quirky adventure into for-profit intimacy begins, with Allen acting as his nebbish pimp.
It’s a plain vanity project — Turturro wrote and directed this movie where he plays an odd-looking man with prodigious skills — but it’s undeniably charming.
“The Quiet Ones” (R) — An Oxford professor (Jared Harris) doesn’t believe in ghosts. He takes a team of attractive college students to study the creepiest, most obviously possessed orphan girl they can find (Olivia Cooke). She’s always talking to an imaginary friend while things tend to break, fly around or catch fire around her.
The university pulls the plug on the research, so the professor makes the super-smart decision to continue the study in an old house in the middle of nowhere.
Unfortunately, the film relies a little too heavily on sudden noises to get cheap jumps. It’s just not as scary or quiet as you’d expect.