Sex Tape for adults, Planes for kids and The Purge for the ghouls among us

And also watch for a funny Vancouver film:  Lawrence & Holloman


Long list, no super heroes or blockbusters, but notice the huge variety among the new films this week.

Here’s the list:

Sex Tape:  2 ½ stars

Planes: Fire and Rescue:  3 ½

Snowpiercer:  3

The Purge: Anarchy:  2 ½

Made in America:  3

Borgman:  4

Lawrence & Holloman:  3

Wish I Was Here:  2 ½

SEX TAPE: This one starts weak, ends bad but is amusing in between. At least it’s not mean and cynical as when Cameron Diaz and director Jake Kasdan last got together three years ago with Bad Teacher. This one is actually sweet and somewhat innocent (except for the multi-sex-act introduction, the dialogue  and the subject matter in general).


Diaz and Jason Segel play a couple who used to enjoy their sex but now, married and with two children, find the home fires have gone out. He’s got a new I-pad. She says let’s make a video of us doing all the positions in The Joy of Sex. They do. He forgets to erase it and it gets to everyone he’s given an I-pad to.  (Don’t ask. Screenwriter’s license, perhaps). They’re off on a frantic search for all copies and we get funny yet surprisingly subtle scenes with their best friends  (Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper) and her potential boss (Rob Lowe). Later, Jack Black shows up as, believe it or not, a voice of reason.

The film is inconsistent, overly cautious most of the way and occasionally jarring, as whenever a super-annoying kid (not one of theirs) is on the screen. But then a sequence that has Lowe and Diaz snorting cocaine allows her to show again how good a comedian she can be. So: a mixed bag and a middling summer movie. (Scotiabank and suburban theatres) 2 ½ out of 5

PLANES FIRE & RESCUE:  The original last year was dull. This sequel is surprisingly engaging on a number of levels for the 9-year-old boy inside us. It’s a grand adventure, a self-affirmation, a lesson in making a contribution and a demonstration in beautifully-detailed animation of how forest fires are fought. That last one is particularly timely.


Dane Cook is again the voice of Dusty the crop-dusting plane who last time fulfilled his dream of becoming a champion racer but has now developed a mechanical weakness. He can’t fly full-throttle anymore. In a parallel scenario of decline, Mayday, the fire truck (Hal Holbrook) moans “I’m old” and the feds shut down his airport because of inadequate emergency measures capabilities. So, Dusty turns to fighting forest fires.

His mentor (Ed Harris) is demanding and surly and pushes him to be a teamplayer and fly harder. They both come up against a bureaucrat who’d rather toady up to the Minister of the Interior than protect the trees. The result is a visually exciting treat for us as the team flies over and into fires, ATVs parachute down into them and a couple of seniors (RVs in this all-mechanical universe) have to be rescued from a burning trestle. There’s a lot going on in this small film, which includes a short spoof of a television series and then, ironically, ends with a similarly too-easy resolution.(International Village and suburban theatres) 3 ½ out of 5   

More in New Movies

Bad Boys shoot again; Adam Sandler gets loud in Uncut Gems and Clemency ruminates on capital punishment

And for the kids: A superior Japanese anime in Weathering With You, Robert Downey Jr. talking to the animals in Dolittle and your chance to sing along with Frozen II.

1917: a must-see, Just Mercy, a should-see, and Underwater, a don’t-bother

But do check out three others making a welcome return from last fall’s film festival

So many contenders for 2019's 10-best list, plus a festival of new and classic Italian films

There are no new reviews this week. That’s because except for one small horror movie (see below) no new films opened. There’s a sizable bunch coming next week but right now, especially as the awards...
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