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Film Clips: Sept. 18

Sep. 18, 2013
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Battle of the Year PG-13

Josh Holloway takes a starring turn as Jason Blake, a one-time championship basketball coach with a lot left to prove when he’s recruited to field a winning dance crew by Los Angeles hip hop mogul Dante (Laz Alonso). The pressure’s on since America hasn’t won the international “Battle of the Year” for more than a decade. Blake has just three months to rehearse and toughen up a winning team consisting of rivals and troubled competitors. Once the dancers arrive at an isolated site, they’ll have to learn that there’s no “I” in “Team,” so bring on the temper tantrums! Sure, the dance moves are cool, but the dialog is leaden and each plot point is more predictable than a newly crowned Miss America’s tears. (Lisa Miller)


The Little Mermaid G

Bright and cheerful with mildly dark undertones, Disney’s re-releasesd Little Mermaid casts Hans Christian Andersen’s tragic fairytale as a musical and gives it a happy ending. Mermaid Ariel makes a Faustian bargain to pursue love with the human prince she has briefly glimpsed. Ariel’s adversary is Ursula the sea hag, exquisitely intoned by Pat Carroll. Undersea creatures are shamelessly anthropomorphized with eye-catching animation, save for one rogue, great white shark. Disney created the “Second Screen Live” iPad app for this release—free to download at the app store. Tablets are welcome, enabling viewers to “interact with the film, play games, sing along, find new surprises and compete with the audience.” (L.M.)


Prisoners R

When his daughter goes missing, and the lone suspect is released for lack of evidence, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) takes law and morality into his own hands. He kidnaps the developmentally disabled suspect and tortures him repeatedly, determined to extract the whereabouts of the missing girl. The bullheaded Dover, a combustible brew of survivalism and Protestant fundamentalism, is opposed by sad-eyed Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), who comes to suspect almost everyone—and with some reason—in a suspenseful story with almost as many bizarre small-town twists as “Twin Peaks.” French director Denis Villeneuve approached this thriller as an art house picture with measured pacing that allows each frame to sink in deeply. Prisoners is more than two and a half hours long and for once, a lengthy Hollywood film is worth the running time. (David Luhrssen)


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