In this week’s new movies, “The Family,” starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, receives one star, and “Insidious: Chapter 2” receives a star-and-a-half for its lack of originality; three other films received three stars on a four star scale.
★ “The Family” (R) “The Blakes think they’re vigilantes, but in most other movies they’d be the bad guys. Of course, there are worse guys, including a hit man who plans to collect the $20 million bounty on Gio and company’s heads. That portion of the plot gives the story a little jolt, but mostly the film follows along aimlessly as the “Blake” family fails at fitting in.” – Stephanie Merry
★1/2 “Insidious: Chapter 2” (PG-13) “In addition to “Poltergeist,” “Insidious: Chapter 2” cribs from “The Shining,” “The Exorcist,” “Psycho” and other films. If it has to steal, at least it’s from some of the best. The problem is, it’s also reminiscent, in parts, of “Mommie Dearest” and, as a friend of mine pointed out, “A Reflection of Fear.” (Yeah, I had to look up that 1973 B movie, too. Don’t Google its plot twist if you don’t want a major spoiler.)” – Michael O’Sullivan
★★ “Money for Nothing” (Unrated) “…the film could benefit from a bit more layman’s language. Financial expert Peter Atwater nicely describes the Fed’s original mission as one of alternately applying the gas pedal and brakes to the U.S. economy, through a combination of raising or lowering interest rates and increasing or decreasing the money supply. Such easy-to-understand imagery is in short supply, however, when the film gets into the minutiae of “quantitative easing” and “puts.” (If you have to ask, trust me, you don’t want to know.) – Michael O’Sullivan
★★★ “The Patience Stone” (R) “For a mostly quiet story marked by restraint, the ending comes across as artificial. Yet that doesn’t temper the power of a memorable movie about one woman’s journey from cautious bystander to agent of her own destiny.” – Stephanie Merry
★★★ “Populaire” (R) “On one superficial level, it’s like “My Fair Lady,” with Louis as Henry Higgins and Rose as Eliza Doolittle. On another, she’s the one schooling him. There’s a subtle subtext of female empowerment — Rose wants to be treated as an equal partner, not chattel — that lends the film a gloss of postmodernity.” – Michael O’Sullivan
★★★“Sample This” (Unrated) ““Sample This” doesn’t allot much time for hip-hop’s embrace of “Apache,” and barely discusses the “crate-raiding” culture that gives new life to forgotten LPs. Forrer, a first-time director, also shows little flair for pacing and structuring the tale (which is narrated by Kiss’s Gene Simmons, a Viner pal).” – Mark Jenkins
★★1/2 “Things Never Said” (R) “One of the film’s great assets is Hampton, a captivating actress who portrays Kalindra with a great depth of emotion. She proves her mettle as a leading lady, whether she’s performing on stage, yelling at Ronnie or pillow talking with Curtis.” – Stephanie Merry