‘After Earth,’ ‘Before Midnight’ and other new movie reviews

Escape the blistering heat this weekend at your local movie theater. Will Smith and son Jaden star together in “After Earth," while "Before Midnight” and “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks” received three stars each.

Here are excerpts from the movie reviews:


Claudette Barius/Columbia Pictures - Jaden Smith stars with father Will in “After Earth,” which the family would be better off not discussing around the dinner table.

★ “After Earth” (PG-13) “ ‘After Earth’ only looks like a sci-fi film. At heart, it’s a tale of reconciliation between a callow boy and his jerk of an old man. Cypher knows how to boss Kitai around, but he just doesn’t know how to say, ‘I love you.’ ” -- Michael O’Sullivan

★★★ “Before Midnight” (R) “There are moments when Jesse and Celine are so self-conscious about their relationship that the viewer wants to be anywhere but trapped in a car or hotel room with their constant yammering. [Julie] Delpy and [Ethan] Hawke, clearly at ease in light of their longtime collaboration, nonetheless sometimes convey a skittish, nervous energy that belies the nearly 20-year psychic connection of two soul mates.” -- Ann Hornaday

★★½ “Now You See Me” (PG-13) “The bulk of movies in theaters this time of year promise action-packed visual splendor without requiring much brain power. “Now You See Me” purports to be something more, offering the former inside of a cinematic cryptogram. Now that would have been a neat trick.” -- Stephanie Merry

★½ “Sightseers” (Unrated) “It’s difficult to put a finger on how or why a death might be humorous instead of tragic. The ingredients for a successful wickedly black comedy remain elusive. Absurdity helps, and “Sightseers” has that. But the film lacks a couple of important items: likable characters and worthy victims.” -- Stephanie Merry

★★★ “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks” (R) “It’s hard to come away from 'We Steal Secrets' with any conclusion other than this: As troubled as [Bradley] Manning evidently was — a military misfit who suffered from anxiety and gender-identity issues — his crime seems to have been that he genuinely cared too much.” – Michael O’Sullivan

★★½ “Elemental” (Unrated) “There’s a quixotic quality to the film’s subjects, which is inspiring and somewhat depressing.” – Michael O’Sullivan

Macy L. Freeman is an editorial aide for the Weekend/Going Out Guide section at The Washington Post.
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