‘Elysium,’ ‘Lovelace’ and other new movies reviewed

In this week’s new movies, Matt Damon stars in "Elysium," an action-packed thriller set in Los Angeles in 2154.  "Lovelace" starring Amanda Seyfried explores the life of Linda Lovelace, known for the film "Deep Throat," who's real name was Linda Boreman.


Factory worker and ex-convict Max (Matt Damon), right, gets transformed into a buff, cynical anti-hero in “Elysium.” (Stephanie Blomkamp)

1/2 “Elysium” (R) “As a commentary on contemporary wealth disparities, environmental degradation and immigration issues, “Elysium” is arguably too on-the-nose. Blomkamp’s admirable if obvious egalitarianism too often devolves into simplistic wish-fulfillment.” – Ann Hornaday

The Spectacular Now” (R) “For a movie so rooted in reality, a late-in-the-game plot point tests credulity somewhat; it’s hard to believe Aimee would be starry-eyed enough to still cling to Sutter. But the movie rights itself in time for the final credits.” – Stephanie Merry

1/2 “Planes” (PG) “‘Planes’ is okay. Its message about pursuing big dreams — the only kind of dreams, by the way, that a crop duster with people eyes can have — is uninspired but unobjectionable. It also features some genuinely exhilarating scenes in which the camera twists and barrel-rolls with Dusty (that’s the crop duster) as he zips across the sky.” – Jen Chaney

1/2 “Lovelace”(R) “The most interesting thing about ‘Lovelace’ isn’t its cast, but its structure. It starts by showing Linda as an impressionable, typically rebellious Florida teen, and follows her up through the making of ‘Deep Throat,’ which was shot in about a week. It initially tells this story the way the world chose to believe it: as a tale of an accidental sexual revolution, characterized by taboo-busting high spirits.” – Michael O’Sullivan

1/2 “We’re the Millers” (R) “The humor derives from the misdirect of such wholesome characters doing and saying such vile things, and several times it works: One of the funniest sequences features Kenny — who really is as innocent as he’s pretending to be — being taught how to kiss by his ‘sister’ and his ‘mother.” – Ann Hornaday

Prince Avalanche” (R) “Although Alvin and Lance’s encounters are frequently amusing — Alvin, a mustached know-it-all who fancies himself a deep thinker and outdoorsman, is continually looking disapprovingly through his aviators at the shaggy, shambling Lance, a would-be Lothario in his late 20s — ‘Prince Avalanche’ comes most vividly to life when the two men are revealing their inner selves through pure action. (“Can we just enjoy the silence?” is a recurring tag line.)” – Ann Hornaday

1/2 “Computer Chess” (Unrated) “From the vantage point of The Washington Post newsroom this week, it’s impossible not to see “Computer Chess’ as both a humble, low-fi ode to evanescence and the deceptively cute baby picture of the digital disrupters who will soon bestride the Earth.” – Ann Hornaday

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” (PG) “The special effects look clunky and unrealistic, whether they involve depicting the mammoth maw that is Charybdis or the single eye on the forehead of Tyson (Douglas Smith), a cyclops and half-brother to Percy who makes his first appearance here.” – Jen Chaney

The Good Son: The Life of Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini” (Unrated) “Much of the narrative of “The Good Son” concerns Mancini’s desire to win the title on behalf of his boxer father (and “Boom Boom” namesake), Lenny, who never won a world championship. But there’s a secondary meaning as well. The unsolved 1981 shooting death of Ray’s older brother, who may or may not have been mixed up with some unsavory characters at the time he wound up with a bullet in his head, positions Ray as the more favored son, at least by one measure." – 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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Alex Baldinger · August 9, 2013