28movies twj

1408 (PG-13) HH 1/2

John Cusack is the man to watch in this horror thriller based on a Stephen King short story. Like "The Shining," also based on King material, the main character is a frustrated writer who likes to drink, has a terrible trauma in his past and is in isolated surroundings that send him spiraling into madness. Though it doesn’t quite stack up to "The Shining," Cusack’s performance -- most of the film is just him in a "haunted" hotel suite -- puts it a notch above a lot of current horror fare. Samuel L. Jackson as the hotel manager doesn’t get much screen time, but makes the most of what he’s given. Thematic material including disturbing sequences of violence and terror, frightening images and language. Reviewed by Teresa Budasi, Chicago Sun-Times.

Evan Almighty (PG) H

There’s no movie here -- just a concept that holds little promise and can’t even deliver on those low expectations. Out of the blue, God (Morgan Freeman) appears and tells Evan (Steve Carell) to build an ark. This witless effort could have been called "God Is My Co-Signer." Mild rude humor and some peril. Reviewed by Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times.


‘Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer’ (PG) HH 1/2

A new team of writers attempts to bring depth to this sequel and ends up with a movie that, while occasionally funny, is nonetheless mind- numbingly silly. Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis return to save the world, this time from the planet-destroying Silver Surfer voiced by Laurence Fishburne. Sequences of action violence, some mild language and innuendo. Reviewed by Misha Davenport, Chicago Sun-Times.

‘Knocked Up’ (R) HHH

If "Old School" and "She’s Having a Baby" lined up 50 yards apart, sprinted at each other at full speed and collided in violently comedic-sexual fashion, spawning one film, the result would be "Knocked Up." Half goofball guy-movie and half sentimental chick-flick, it works on both levels, even if it does overstay its welcome. Sexual content, drug use and language. Reviewed by Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times.

‘Live Free of Die Hard’ (PG-13) HHH


Nearly two decades after creating one of the most iconic antihero cops in modern action-movie history, a lean and now bullet-headed Bruce Willis is in classic form as NYPD Det. John McClane, who is once again thrust into a cataclysmic emergency in which he is facing insurmountable odds. Two hours of pure adrenaline. Intense sequences of violence and action, language and a brief sexual situation. Reviewed by Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times.

‘Nancy Drew’ (PG) HH

Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts’ niece, shows her star quality as teen sleuth Nancy Drew, who leaves her cozy River Heights home with her dad for Los Angeles. Despite good performances, the film suffers from poor direction and a senseless storyline. Mild violence, thematic elements and brief language. Reviewed by Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun-Times.

‘Ocean’s Thirteen’ (PG-13) HH 1/2

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and the usual sidekicks produce a baker’s dozen sequel that belongs in the day-old store. When Al Pacino cheats their pal Elliott Gould out of his casino, they team up to sabotage opening night with a lickety-split plot that includes such implausibilities as creating a fake earthquake with a 600-ton Eurotunnel boring machine. Good looking, however, and maybe fun if you don’t expect a real caper movie. Brief sensuality. Reviewed by Roger Ebert.


‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End’ (PG-13) HHH

If Erroll Flynn, Tyrone Power and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. could see the ridiculously entertaining action sequences in this third "Pirates" movie, they’d drop their swords in amazement. Director Gore Verbinski and the stunt and special effects crews have created one of the most impressive blends of live- action work and CGI wizardry ever put on film. Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush and Keira Knightley have poured so much talent and energy into their roles, I have to acknowledge that even though I haven’t been the biggest fan of the "Pirates" franchise, these characters have earned their iconic status. Intense sequences of action/adventure violence and some frightening images. Reviewed by Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times.

‘Ratatouille’ (G) N/A 

A rat named Remy dreams of becoming a great French chef despite his family's wishes and the obvious problem of being a rat in a decidedly rodent-phobic profession. When fate places Remy in the sewers of Paris, he finds himself ideally situated beneath a restaurant made famous by his culinary hero, Auguste Gusteau. Starring Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Brian Dennehy, Peter Sohn. Not reviewed.

‘Shrek the Third’ (PG) HH 1/2

A damped-down return to the kingdom of Far Far Away, lacking the comic energy of the first brilliant film and not measuring up to the second. The plot involves Shrek’s reluctance to become the king, which will not much interest younger viewers, and lacks the comic invention of the earlier films. Also, not enough Donkey. Some crude humor, suggestive content and swashbuckling action. Reviewed by Roger Ebert.

‘Sicko’ (PG-13) HHH 1/2

Michael Moore’s litany of horrors about the American health care system, which is run for profit, and insurance companies, who pay bonuses to employees who are successful in denying coverage or claims. Moore tones down his usual humor and seriously, sympathetically listens to such people as a 9/11 volunteer who can’t get the treatment she needs. Likely to strike home with anyone, liberal or conservative, who has had serious illness in the family. Brief strong language. Reviewed by Roger Ebert.

‘Surf’s Up’ (PG) HHH 1/2

Hollywood’s infatuation with penguins continues as a documentary film crew follows Cody Maverick, a rockhopper from Shiverpool, Antarctica, on his quest to become a champion surfer. The Sony Animation team spared no detail in making it appear like a real doc, and directors Ash Brannon and Chris Buck took a chance by recording the voice talent together rather than individually. It pays off with better character reaction and comic timing than some other animated films. Excellent voice work by Shia LaBeouf as Cody, Jeff Bridges as Big Z, Jon Heder as Chicken Joe and James Woods as a Don King-like surfing promoter. Mild language and some rude humor. Reviewed by Teresa Budasi, Chicago Sun-Times.

‘Transformers’ (PG-13) N/A

The Earth is caught in the middle of an intergalactic war between two races of robots, the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons, which are able to change into a variety of objects, including cars, trucks, planes and other technological creations. Starring Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Bernie Mac, John Turturro and Tyrese Gibson. Intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, brief sexual humor and language. Not reviewed.

‘Waitress’ (PG-13) HHHH

You’ll want to do one of three things after you see "Waitress": eat a pie, bake a pie or sing a song about pie. Whichever way you go, you’ll have a spring in your step and a smile on your face. It’s this year’s "Little Miss Sunshine," where instead of a van, a road trip, a mute son and a suicidal Proust scholar, we have a diner, an unplanned pregnancy, a fumbling doctor and a crabby old coot. Jenna (Keri Russell) is a pie genius who vents her frustrations baking pies in this bittersweet parable. Sexual content, language and thematic elements. Reviewed by Teresa Budasi, Chicago Sun-Times.

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