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Film Clips: Aug. 14

Aug. 14, 2013
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Blackfish PG-13

The shocking 2010 killing of a SeaWorld orca trainer by one of the killer whales cast the aquatic amusement park business in a cold light. The eye-opening documentary Blackfish reveals a pattern of attacks by orcas on their trainers going back many years. Marine biologists call the five-ton-plus creatures incredibly intelligent, intensely social and highly emotional; their capture, training and captivity involve cruelty the giddy paying crowds never considered. Perhaps the killer whales—despite their reputation, they aren’t known to attack humans in the ocean—are frustrated and maybe traumatized by their unwanted roles as entertainers? Maybe people should stop confusing wild things with household pets? (David Luhrssen)

Opens Aug.16 at the Oriental Theatre.


Jobs PG-13

Ashton Kutcher, an early investor in Skype, does his best imitation of Steve Jobs, Apple founder and promoter of the iPod and iPhone. Viewed during the first two decades of his business career, Jobs applies his vision and artistic eye to a computer built by portly programmer Steve Wozniak, aka Woz (Josh Gad), and decides they will manufacture personal computers. He finds an investor in Mike Markkula (Dermot Mulroney), but the story really gets interesting when Jobs, whose people skills need work, loses control of his company and must find his way back in. (Lisa Miller)


Kick-Ass 2 R

This sequel to the surprise 2010 hit finds Aaron Taylor-Johnson returning as Kick-Ass, Chloë Grace Moretz as Hit Girl and Christopher Mintz-Plasse reprising his role as Red Mist. Kick-Ass and Hit Girl are young, masked crime-stoppers with attitude to spare, while Red Mist is a villain out for revenge. Having inspired other citizens to become costumed crime-fighting vigilantes, Kick-Ass soon realizes that revenge-seeking Red Mist means to ruin the lives of everyone Kick-Ass knows. Jim Carrey shows up as baseball bat-wielding crime fighter Colonel Stars and Stripes, but shortly after production wrapped, the actor publicly decried the film’s violence, especially its use of guns. Perhaps he thought the title “Kick-Ass” referred to bunnies and butterflies? (L.M.)


Lee Daniels’ The Butler PG-13

A cast of luminaries shows up for this feature film inspired by Will Haygood’s 2008 Washington Post article “A Butler Well Served by this Election.” Forest Whitaker portrays Cecil Gaines, trained by a Georgia cotton plantation matriarch (Vanessa Redgrave) who instructs him, “The room should feel empty when you’re in it.” While working as a butler at Washington, D.C.’s Excelsior Hotel, Gaines is recruited by a senior Truman staffer. Oprah Winfrey plays Gaines’s wife, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lenny Kravitz appear as domestic White House staff, and the various presidents are played by Robin Williams, Alan Rickman, John Cusack, Liev Schreiber and James Marsden—to varying degrees of success. This adaptation so fictionalizes the butler’s life that actual butler Eugene Allen’s name was changed. (L.M.)


Paranoia PG-13

Liam Hemsworth stars as Adam, blackmailed into corporate espionage after he misuses corporate funds from a tech firm run by Nicholas Wyatt (Gary Oldman). In order to stay out of jail, Adam accepts an assignment to spy on Wyatt’s old mentor Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford), whose company is developing a new Smartphone. While working for Goddard, Adam falls for marketing whiz Emma (Amber Heard), but he doesn’t know who he can trust, making romance difficult. Filled with twists and turns—including some that are all too predictable—the film is adapted from Joseph Finder’s novel. (L.M.)


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