Among the new movies that were released Friday, April 5 in theaters throughout the Valley are an update of a classic horror flick, a drama starring Ryan Gosling as a motorcycle stunt rider and a historical musical dramedy from Australia.
Five friends become holed up in a remote cabin. When they discover a Book of the Dead, they unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival. (R – 90 minutes)
It is never a good idea to make a promise as audacious as “the most terrifying movie you will ever experience” on your motion picture’s poster. In doing so, TriStar Pictures has robbed “Evil Dead” – writer/director Fede Alvarez’s update of Sam Raimi’s horror classic – of the opportunity to have praise over its spectacular special effects (all of which are practical as opposed to computer-generated, by the way) sit in the spotlight. Instead, criticism over its distinct lack of scares as a result of its razor-thin story and star Jane Levy’s habitually heinous performance take center stage. (Grade: C)
‘The Place Beyond the Pines’
Ryan Gosling plays a motorcycle stunt rider who turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover (Eva Mendes) and their newborn child – a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop (Bradley Cooper) navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective (Ray Liotta). Playing exclusively at Harkins Camelview 5. (R – 140 minutes)
“The Place Beyond the Pines” is clandestinely epic. That is to say that writer/director Derek Cianfrance’s new drama is every bit as monumentally entertaining as not only one summer blockbuster but an entire trilogy – except instead of big-budget special effects to astound audiences it utilizes gigantic and genuine emotions. In fact, its story is so intensely arresting that you will not be able to take your eyes off of the screen for the entire duration of its 140-minute runtime while the powerful journey and its compelling consequences will remain with you long after the end credits have rolled. (Grade: A)
Miranda Tapsell, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy and Shari Sebbens play Australian Aboriginal girls who learn about love, friendship and war when they are discovered by a talent scout (Chris O’Dowd) and their all-girl group entertains the U.S. troops in 1968 Vietnam. Playing exclusively at Harkins Camelview 5. (PG-13 – 99 minutes)
Much like the four female characters whose story it tells, “The Sapphires” is – against seemingly all odds – sensational. The new historical musical dramedy is emotionally manipulative as it travels along a relatively conventional narrative path but it is so exorbitantly lively and gosh-darn likeable that you cannot help but overlook those somewhat sour notes and just enjoy the ride. And even though it is particularly less polished than most motion pictures and comes with accents that are occasionally difficult to decipher, the always charismatic Chris O’Dowd and a stellar soundtrack help to make this low-budget Australian import much easier to swallow. (Grade: B)