'Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs'
Rated PG for some mild rude humor and peril. 93 min. Two stars out of four.
There are more action and cuddly creatures for kids to love in this third adventure than in the animated franchise's first two installments.
For parents, it's more of the same, a "Yawn of the Dinosaurs” adventure with some new faces and places but the same central characters rehashing the themes of the first two movies. The worn-out idea the filmmakers have yet another crack at: Families can be found objects, stitched together from all sorts of misfits who bond to form their own loving little clan.
The main thing that distinguishes this movie from its predecessors is the setting as the gang of prehistoric animals journeys underground to a lost world of dinosaurs. Once again, the main players are Manny the woolly mammoth (voiced by Ray Romano), his wife, Ellie (Queen Latifah), Diego the saber-toothed tiger (Denis Leary) and Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo). Sibling possums Crash and Eddie (Seann William Scott and Josh Peck) also tag along again.
A new member of this extended family, one-eyed weasel Buck (Simon Pegg) steals the movie with his lively, looney patter and daring antics. But it's strictly a slapstick tale for the young ones.
Rated R for gangster violence and some language. 130 min. Two and a half stars out of four.
All the pieces would seem to be in place for an epic gangster drama: director Michael Mann, who has an affinity for complicated criminals; stars Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, who are famous for immersing themselves in their roles; and a thrilling true story of brazen bank robbers on the run.
Trouble is, "Public Enemies” feels rather stagnant. It looks terrific with its period details and costumes, rich production values and striking high-definition cinematography from frequent Mann collaborator Dante Spinotti.
Crisp, blue Midwestern skies pop off the screen and nighttime chases and shootouts have an eerie theatricality about them. But until the final third, the film maintains a low-key, steady pace when it should be percolating with unbearable suspense.
Mann follows the string of bank robberies John Dillinger (Depp) and his crew pulled off between his well-orchestrated escape from an Indiana prison in 1933 and his death at the hands of federal agents on the crowded streets of Chicago 14 months later.
Mann, who co-wrote the script, romanticizes him rather than presenting a complete picture including whatever wildness or darkness might have existed inside him and driven him. Bale also gets this kind of affectionate treatment as Melvin Purvis, the rising FBI agent charged with bringing Dillinger down.
Rated R for pervasive strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity and language. 88 min. One and a half stars out of four.
The problem with "Bruno” is Bruno himself. Compared to Borat there simply isn't enough to the character to build an entire feature-length film around him.
Both spring from the brash and creative mind of British comic Sacha Baron Cohen, who unleashed them upon the world through his sketch comedy program "Da Ali G Show.”
Borat, the bumbling journalist at the center of the 2006 smash "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” provided a prism through which to explore people's prejudices, hypocrisies and foibles.
Sure, Baron Cohen frequently shot fish in a barrel, but as Borat traveled across the United States trying to understand what makes us tick, the uncomfortable discoveries he made seemed endless. More importantly, for a comedy, they were usually funny.
Bruno is a one-joke character in a one-joke movie, and it's a joke Baron Cohen beats into the ground. He's a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashion correspondent who repeatedly shocks people with his flamboyant gayness.
The end. In small doses — on the TV show and at the film's high-energy start — he can be a hoot. Here, big laughs come intermittently, and the longer "Bruno” drags on, the more apparent it becomes that there's nothing to him. He's as vapid as the celebrity culture he's stridently spoofing — which makes it hard to care about him.