5-minute movie reviews

'She's Out of My League,' 'Remember Me,' 'Our Family Wedding,' 'Fish Tank,' 'North Face,' 'Until the Light Takes Us'
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.



She's Out of My League

Opens today at theaters everywhere; rated R for language and sexual content; 104 minutes.

This raunchy piece of Judd Apatow-lite is a tart confection with a sweet center. Nerdy Kirk (Jay Baruchel) is a TSA worker at the Pittsburgh airport, put down by his family and his slutty ex-girlfriend (Lindsay Sloane), when he meets the incredibly gorgeous Molly (Alice Eve), a well-connected event planner. They start dating, while their respective best friends argue Kirk isn't handsome or ambitious enough to be going out with Molly. British director Jim Field Smith gathers a hilarious ensemble around Baruchel and Eve, and the script (by Sean Anders and Chris Morris, who wrote the equally bawdy "Sex Drive") hits more often than it misses with its sexually charged humor. The movie's revelation is Baruchel, a supporting player (remember him running into the delivery room in "Knocked Up"?) making a smooth transition to comic leading man.



Our Family Wedding

Opens today at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for some sexual content and brief strong language; 102 minutes.

Lucia and Marcus make a charming couple. He (Lance Gross) is a doctor heading to Laos to treat sick kids, she ("Ugly Betty" star America Ferrera) is a volunteer teacher who recently dropped out of law school. And if this movie were just about them, it might be a sweet little romance. But because Marcus is black and Lucia is Mexican-American, this strained comedy focuses on the culture clash between the two families - particularly the fathers, Marcus' playboy radio-host dad Brad (Forest Whitaker) and Lucia's well-to-do papa Miguel (comic Carlos Mencia). The script - a tag-team effort by Wayne Conley, Malcolm Spellman and director Rick Famuyiwa ("Brown Sugar") - runs through the dumbest racial stereotypes and idiotic sight gags (culminating in, no kidding, a goat on Viagra). You'll wish Lucia and Marcus had eloped and taken you with them.



Fish Tank

Opens today at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; not rated, but probably R for sexual content, violence and language; 123 minutes.

The performances are everything in this tough drama from British writer-director Andrea Arnold ("Red Road"). Mia (Katie Jarvis) is a perpetually angry 15-year-old who finds refuge from her working-class life by practicing her hip-hop dance moves in an empty flat in her tenement building. Then her mother (Kierston Wareing) brings home a new boyfriend, Connor ("Inglourious Basterds' " Michael Fassbender), who gives Mia the first encouragement she's ever heard. Mia also strikes up a friendship with an older boy, Billy (Harry Treadaway), as she seeks an escape from poverty, her mum and the other girls in the neighborhood. Arnold's story line takes turns that are sometimes predictable, other times harrowing. But it's Jarvis, in her first movie appearance, who commands the screen as Mia, providing a window into the mind of a girl facing adulthood.



North Face

Opens today at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; not rated, but probably PG-13 for some bloodshed and language; in German with subtitles; 121 minutes.

Based on a true story, this German drama tells of two friends, the brooding Toni (Benno Fürmann) and adventurous Andi (Florian Lukas), mountaineering pals who join a competition in 1936 to be the first to scale the treacherous north face of the Eiger in the Swiss Alps. A newspaper editor (Ulrich Tukur) wants to exploit the climbers for the glory of the Fatherland, and he brings his assistant Luise (Johanna Wokalek, from "The Baader Meinhoff Complex") - who happens to be Toni's old flame. The romantic subplot is underwritten and overwrought. More compelling is how director Philipp Stölzl mounts the impressively harrowing mountain footage, as Toni and Andi battle the elements and Austrian rivals to try to get to the top.



Until the Light Takes Us

Opens today at the Tower Theatre; not rated, but probably R for graphic images and language; in Norwegian with subtitles; 93 minutes.

Death-metal music doesn't get any deathier than Norwegian Black Metal, especially when you consider that one of its stars - Varg Vikernes (who is interviewed in this documentary) - is serving time for murdering a fellow musician and being involved in a series of church burnings. With a rich vein of material like that, directors Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell commit cinematic incompetence by creating a movie so tedious and uninvolving. There is some rare early footage of some of the supposedly legendary bands of the Norwegian scene, but it's not presented with any context - and there's precious little of the actual music heard. This may be the first headbangers' movie that will put hard-rock fans to sleep.



Remember Me

Opens today at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, language and smoking; 128 minutes.

This romantic drama drapes its characters in thick layers of fake tragedy, and then gooses us to weep for their suffering. Ali (Emilie de Ravin) watched her mother get gunned down on a Brooklyn train platform in 1991. Ten years later, she's an NYU student who meets Tyler ("Twilight's" Robert Pattinson), a hot-tempered guy mourning his older brother, who committed suicide six years earlier. Ali and Tyler both have daddy issues: Hers (Chris Cooper) is a cop who's too controlling; his (Pierce Brosnan) is a high-powered lawyer who's too distant. Director Allen Coulter ("Hollywoodland") tries to put a sweet New York gloss on the couple's plodding relationship, but he can't overcome Tyler's basic unlikeability and Pattinson's wooden acting. Then there's the ending of Will Fetters' script, which I can't adequately describe without spoilers - except to say it shamelessly exploits a real-life event, an iconic moment whose heartbreak far eclipses anything this cheap melodrama contrives.