A cadre of superheroes and a long-serving butler enter the box office derby this weekend.
"Kick-Ass 2" brings back the would-be superheroes Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit-Girl (Chlöe Grace Moretz) for more New York crimefighting. But when they're not tackling the travails of high school life, they must contend with archrival Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) trying to be a nasty supervillain. Director/screenwriter Jeff Wadlow can't decide whether he's satirizing violent comic-book stories or creating the most violent one he can conceive, and the results are jarring and unpleasant.
"Lee Daniels' The Butler" is a bombastic history lesson, seen through the eyes of a White House butler (played by Forest Whitaker) serving presidents from Eisenhower to Reagan. Daniels ("Precious," "The Paperboy"). While the butler serves silently as presidents wrestle with civil-rights issues, his son (David Oyelowo) is a rebellious student who – thanks to the screenplay machinations of screenwriter Danny Strong – is in the middle of every major moment of the civil-rights movement, from lunch counters to the Freedom Riders to being in Martin Luther King's Memphis motel. The cavalcade of actors playing the presidents (Robin Williams as Ike, James Marsden as JFK, Liev Schreiber as LBJ, John Cusack as Nixon and Alan Rickman as Reagan) are glorified cameos, set dressing for Daniels' overheated meloddrama.