In Theaters This Weekend: Reviews of 'The Purge: Anarchy,' 'Sex Tape' and More

6:10 AM PST 07/18/2014 by Ryan Gajewski
Courtesy of Sony Pictures

What THR's critics are saying about the horror sequel and the raunchy Cameron Diaz-Jason Segel comedy, plus Disney sequel "Planes: Fire & Rescue" and Zach Braff dramedy "Wish I Was Here."

This weekend sees the arrival of two high-profile sequels,The Purge: Anarchy and Planes: Fire & Rescue; prurient comedy Sex Tape; and Zach Braff's latest dramedy, Wish I Was Here.

Find out what The Hollywood Reporter's critics are saying about this weekend's offerings (along with which film will top the weekend's box office):

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The Purge: Anarchy

Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez and Michael K. Williams star in this follow-up to the 2013 contained-horror hit The Purge. Director James DeMonaco returns for the sequel, which focuses on five people who try to survive the government-sanctioned night of legalized crime. THR film critic Frank Scheck writes in his film review that this sequel "efficiently exploits its high-concept premise while delivering far more visceral thrills than its predecessor."

Sex Tape

Director Jake Kasdan's bawdy comedy stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel as a married couple whose eponymous sex tape accidentally leaks to the cloud. THR film critic Todd McCarthy calls the film "sexcrutiating" in his review. "The film's milieu bespeaks the same privileged, west-of-the-405 mindset that figures in Judd Apatow's work, with much the same jargon and worldview but with far fewer laughs."

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Planes: Fire & Rescue

A anthropomorphic plane named Dusty turns his attention from racing to battling a wildfire in director Roberts Gannaway's sequel to 2013's Planes. Dane Cook, Julie Bowen and Ed Harris provide voices. "Beautiful to look at, this is nothing more than a Little Engine That Could story refitted to accommodate aerial action and therefore unlikely to engage the active interest of anyone above the age of about 8, or 10 at the most," writes McCarthy in his review.

Wish I Was Here

This is Zach Braff's first film as a director since his debut with 2004's Garden State. Thedramedy stars Braff, Kate Hudson, Josh Gad, Mandy Patinkin and Jim Parsons in the story of a 35-year-old father and struggling actor who finds himself at a crossroads. THR film critic Boyd van Hoeij writes that "this funny and emotionally satisfying tale of thirtysomethings trying to come to terms with life itself could become a crossover hit." Read his full review here.

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Persecuted

An evangelist finds himself framed for murder after he refuses to endorse religious reform in director Daniel Lusko's film, starring James Remar, Bruce Davison, Fred Dalton Thompson and Dean Stockwell. In his review, Scheck writes that Persecuted "squanders the talents of its impressive cast" with its "bizarre premise and inept execution."

Mood Indigo

Audrey Tatou and Romain Duris star in director Michel Gondry's latest. The film centers on a wealthy bachelor who tries to find a cure for the flower growing in his girlfriend's lungs. "The experience is rather like watching a very long, very expensive (the film was budgeted at €18M, or $23M) episode of Pee-wee’s Playhouse that’s been co-directed by Terry Gilliam and Salvador Dali, and Gondry pummels the viewer with a two-hour-plus visual assault that’s easier to admire than it is to enjoy," THR film critic Jordan Mintzer opines in his review.

I Origins

Michael Pitt, Astrid Berges-Frisbey and Brit Marling star in this film about a molecular biologist and his lab partner who discover evidence about the human eye that could change perceptions about society. This film from director Mike Cahill (Another Earth) won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize for science-related films at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. "Very involving and visually voluptuous for a film anchored in a rather arcane, albeit fascinating, area of scientific research," writes McCarthy in his review.

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Alive Inside

Michael Rossato-Bennett directed this documentary about how music can help Alzheimer patients. The film won the audience award for best U.S. documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. THR film critic Duane Byrge writes in his review that "Alive Inside was brought to full dimension by filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett's rigorous filmic hand, blending a bedside manner with a rousing aesthetic."

Video Games: The Movie

This documentary from director Jeremy Snead takes a look at the creation, marketing and consumption of video games. The film is "far duller than it should have been," THR film critic Frank Schenk writes in his review. "The film's scattershot approach proves more enervating than enlightening, with the barrage of information presented in such a haphazard manner that continuity and coherence become lost."

A Five Star Life (Viaggio Sola)

Maria Sole Tognazzi directs Margherita Buy, Stefano Accorsi and Fabrizia Sacchi in the film about a hotel critic who is struggling to figure out her love life while traveling the globe. "Maria Sole Tognazzi’s breezy Italian dramedy Viaggio Sola has some clever ideas up its sleeve, but otherwise fails to provoke much interest in the travails of its 40-something central character," Mintzer writes in his review.

Email: Ryan.Gajewski@pgmedia.org
Twitter: @_RyanGajewski

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