In Theaters This Weekend: Reviews of '22 Jump Street,' 'How to Train Your Dragon 2' and More
Two anticipated sequels -- a drug-busting R-rated comedy and a dragon-laden family feature -- hit theaters this weekend, alongside a horror spoof, a pot-legalization documentary and indie releases fronted by Hollywood boldfaces.
The meta-sequel to the hit 2012 remake reunites the bumbling drug-busting duo played by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill—but this time, it's on a college campus. The film is directed once again by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and also features Peter Stormare, Ice Cube, Dave Franco, Nick Offerman, Amber Stevens and Wyatt Russell. THR film critic John DeFore calls 22 in his review "a piece of Hollywood hackwork that aims to be exactly like the first, only bigger and more expensive. ... Fortunately, 22 is just like 21 in at least one more way: It's laugh-packed, self-aware in a manner that lets everyone in on the joke and goofily satisfying in the action department." Read what other critics are saying about the sequel here, and see what Tatum said about poking fun at his own (lack of) college experience here.
The DreamWorks Animation sequel to the 2010 film—based on the Cressida Cowell books about a dragon rider and his pet—rounds up a voice cast featuring Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Kristen Wiig, Kit Harington, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson and Jonah Hill, and is directed once again by Dean DeBlois. THR film critic Leslie Felperin says it "has ladled on even more expensive state-of-the-art animation and stereoscopy technology, an elaborate script that expands its fantasy world further, oodles of action set pieces, and a dragon cast of thousands ... although ultimately this installment, despite its breath-sucking spectacle, is sometimes more of a taxing assault course than a playful training session ... crowded with incident, frame-edge details and extra characters." Read what other critics are saying about the sequel here, and see what Blanchett has to say about joining the voice cast below.
Robert Pattinson, Guy Pearce and Scoot McNairy in this Australian dystopian crime drama from director David Michod. THR chief film critic Todd McCarthy says in his review, "Fusing a number of quasi-apocalyptic influences into a hybrid work with a pungent character of its own, The Rover suggests something like a Cormac McCarthy vision of Australia halfway between today and The Road Warrior era ... Pattinson delivers a performance that, despite the character’s own limitations, becomes more interesting as the film moves along, suggesting that the young actor might indeed be capable of offbeat character work. But always commanding attention at the film’s center is Pearce." Read what THR cover star Pattinson revealed about moving past Twilight, cold-calling A-List directors and downsizing his life here.
Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis star alongside young actors Josh Wiggins and Deke Garner in this troubled family drama from director Kat Candler, who expanded on her short film of the same name. THR film critic David Rooney praises Paul and Wiggins' performances in his review: "The actors' raw honesty and the unvarnished authenticity of the Southeast Texas environment lend weight to this slow-burn drama about responsibility, even if its storytelling is unrelentingly downbeat and lacks muscularity." Paul told THR, "To be able to share it with the Sundance community, there is just something so magical about it." Watch the interview below.
Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp, Laurence Fishburne and Lin Shaye star in the indie following three hackers traveling cross-country who stumble into what may be an extraterrestrial encounter. "There are golden moments during this mystery of transporting weirdness ... throughout the third act, though, the cat-and-mouse game grows more conventional," says DeFore in his review.
Richard Jenkins and Garrett Hedlund play father and son in a drama revolving around the right to die. Directed by Andrew Levitas and also starring Amy Adams and Anne Archer, "this feature debut deals mainly in clichés, never transforming the tough question at its center into compelling cinema," says THR film critic Sheri Linden. Read the rest of her review here.
All Cheerleaders Die
Horror auteurs Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson remake their joint debut feature from 2001, which takes place in a knowingly familiar screen universe of high-school cliques, uber-bitchy prom queens and arrogant football jocks, and stars Caitlin Stasey, Brooke Butler, Sianoa Smit-McPhee and Tom Williamson. "A guilty pleasure, but instantly forgettable," says THR film critic Stephen Dalton says in his review. Read why the feature isn't strictly an anti-cheerleader film here, and watch the cast laugh about their fear of scary movies below.
Witching and Bitching
Prolific Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia returns to the inspired anything-goes madness of his earlier films, but with a bigger budget, in this "high-energy, unsubtle and tasteless but often hilarious satire, and an ability to transplant the wild comic book imagery of his imagination onto the screen, now armed with a battery of new technology. The noisy appeal this yarn of a bunch of hapless robbers who end up out of their depth in a witches' coven is infectious." Read the rest of THR film critic Jonathan Holland's review here.
I Am I
Jocelyn Towne's debut feature—with Jocelyn Towne, Kevin Tighe, Jason Ritter, James Morrison and Simon Helberg—focuses on a woman who poses as her late mother in an effort to get closer to her amnesia-plagued father. "Too sensitive for its own good, this drama fails to fully mine the potential of its provocative premise," says THR film critic Frank Scheck. Read the rest of his review here.
Evergreen: The Road to Legalization in Washington
Riley Morton and Nils Cowan's documentary follows the duo through a successful campaign (which followed some unsuccessful ones) to make Washington the first state in the Union, tied with Colorado, to legalize recreational pot-smoking. "Evergreen offers an important boots-on-the-ground perspective ... the personalities and rhetoric are colorful and the film's presentation is lively," says DeFore in his review.