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Ethan Hawke stars in two of the new films this week—one very good, the other very bad

Ethan Hawke is back with Julie Delpy,  chatting, bantering brightly and arguing in Before Midnight.

 It happens now and then. An actor has two films arriving the same week. Ethan Hawke, though, has two dramatically different in quality. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, meanwhile, will have you chuckling and there's some realistic teen talk on a bus.

Here’s the list:

Before Midnight:  4 ½ stars

The Internship:    3

The We and I:  3 ½

Safety Last:  4

The Purge:  1 ½

The Kings of Summer:  ---

 

BEFORE MIDNIGHT:  That’s three films now in this “Before” series and to me the best yet.  We catch up with Celine and Jesse who started an epic chatting session on a train and an all-night walk through Vienna in Before Sunrise (1995), resumed it in Paris nine years later in Before Sunset and are at it again.  They’re a couple now. He’s divorced and has a son and together they have twin daughters.

 

Their story is updated without lengthy exposition, with just brief references in the sparkling dialogue about today and how they get along. Director Richard Linklater and his two stars, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, are jointly credited with the screenplay, obviously the result of much improvisation. The effect is stunning. These conversations are so natural they sound like real people talking. And bantering, And cajoling, Taking offence. Apologizing.  On and on. Sometimes at length, including one key sequence on a long walk down a country lane in Greece. They don’t stop and you’re happy to be there listening to them.

 

Their issues have matured as they have. She’s worried about her career and terrified of turning into “a fat-assed middle-aged mother”.  He’s taken a low-level teaching job in Paris to be with her and wants to move back to the U.S. to be closer to his son. She’s resists and stomps out twice during a huge argument.  She’s assertive and petulant and in several scenes, shallow. Witness her dumb joke inside a 1,000-year-old chapel.  In another sequence, Delpy does a wonderfully comic imitation of a bimbo. “So you’re a writer?” she coos. This is a film that’s talky but also highly entertaining.  (5Th Avenue) 4 ½ out of 5

THE INTERNSHIP: Eight years ago they were The Wedding Crashers.  Now, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson play much the same characters again, crashing Google in Mountain View, Calif. and a competition for jobs they aren’t qualified for at all. This one is funny, enjoyable and a suspect shill for the aggressive search engine company, which allowed filming on its premises. The place looks bright and colorful and its corporate culture must be so also.

Actually the place feels like a movie high school. Vince and Owen are outsiders because they’re older. They don’t have the same cultural reference points. They can’t sit at the cool kid’s cafeteria table. But they extol living life with passion and getting out into the real world and connecting with people. They figure out team dynamics during a quidditch match and bond their group with a night in a strip club. They need to succeed at a series of computer tests and develop a measure of “googliness”. Vince’s talent is motivation with inspirational lessons from Flashdance. “You mean the movie from the 1970s?” one guy asks cynically. Vince shows the power of the fast-talker armed with optimism. It’s a long-familiar theme in the movies and gets a modern overlay here. The contest is like a “mental hunger games”.  An X-Men prank brings on a Patrick Stewart cameo.  Unlike most comedies these days, the jokes aren’t rude, except for a misfiring cameo by Will Ferrell.  Vince wrote and produced the film and Shawn Levy (of Montreal) directed the light-weight fun.  (Scotiabank and many suburban theatres) 3   out of 5

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