‘Riddick,’ ‘Drinking Buddies’ and other new movies, reviewed

September 6, 2013

In this week’s new movies, "Drinking Buddies" receives the highest critic rating with three stars; Jennifer Hudson impresses as the star of "Winnie Mandela" though the film itself falls short; and Vin Diesel stars in "Riddick."


Magnolia Pictures - Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) work together at a Chicago brewery and play hard after hours, which eventually causes strains in their relationships.

 “Drinking Buddies” (R) “'Drinking Buddies' is helped enormously by its relaxed pacing, exuberant alt-rock soundtrack and photogenic lead players, all of whom are still young enough to drink copious glasses of hoppy libations without one broken blood vessel or expanding waistline. Wilde and Johnson are particularly convincing as opposite-sex buds who are so in synch that they raise their glasses at the same time.” – Ann Hornaday

 “Winnie Mandela” (R) “In truth, the casting is probably the only reason 'Winnie Mandela' is in theaters today. Despite the marquee names and their obvious talent, the film feels like a made-for-TV movie. It’s slight and episodic, with a weirdly scrupulous ambivalence about its subject, whom it seems torn between loving and loathing.” – Michael O’Sullivan

1/2 "Riddick" (R) “'Riddick' can be cheesy and silly, not to mention excessively violent, but it’s also fun. The story moves quickly along, and even when the outcome is plain, the journey remains entertaining. Diesel looks like an oaf but makes for a winning anti-hero." – Stephanie Merry

½ “Adore” (R) “Adapted by the playwright Christopher Hampton (“Dangerous Liaisons,” “Atonement”), the film adheres to Lessing’s own spare, unyielding prose — a framework Fontaine regrettably festoons with vapid beauty shots and longingly pretty gazes.” – Ann Hornaday

½ “Follow the Leader” (Unrated) “As a portrait of baby politicos, 'Follow the Leader' contains some fascinating insights. While still in high school, Nick suffers a classic example of mudslinging, when his campaign Web site for student body president is hacked and replaced by mocking material. Maybe all politics is just like high school, the film suggests.” – Michael O’Sullivan

 ½ “Terraferma” (R) “The movie excels at atmospherics, including a strings-heavy soundtrack and the evocative sounds of open water, whether it’s a faint whale call or the underwater sloshing of an old boat drifting over waves. The cinematography is similarly expressive. One early image sticks out: A panorama captures Filippo dancing around the bow of his grandfather’s boat as it scoots along the shimmery water.” – Stephanie Merry

The Ultimate Life” (PG) “...such sloppy attention to period detail is the least of the film’s worries. Such gaffes will likely not be noticed by viewers, most of whom will have fallen asleep by that point.” – Michael O’Sullivan

½ “Afternoon Delight” (R) “'Afternoon Delight' doesn’t break new ground when it comes to midlife-crisis analysis for the minivan set. Soloway steers clear of broad, wacky scenarios that easily could have steered “Delight” down more mainstream avenues. When Rachel invites McKenna into her home as a live-in nanny, the movie asks complicated questions and waits for us to find our own answers.” – Sean O’Connell

½ "Instructions Not Included" (PG-13) "Although mostly a predictable comedy about parental ineptitude, 'Instructions not Included' takes a surprisingly dark turn toward the end. Despite coming out of left field, the serious conclusion actually makes for a far more interesting package. One reason is that it’s such a departure from happy-ending dreck like “Big Daddy” and “Three Men and a Baby.” It’s fluff, but it’s weird fluff." – 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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Macy Freeman | September 6, 2013