Capsule reviews: 'Flipped,' 'The Last Exorcism'Capsule reviews of films opening this week.
By: The Associated Press, Superior Telegram
Capsule reviews of films opening this week:
"Flipped" — Rob Reiner's latest has been billed as a return to form for the director and a companion piece to his "Stand By Me." Like that film, "Flipped" is a coming-of-age ode to youth cloaked in mid-century Americana (the early 1960s). It's nostalgic for nostalgia. There's charm here and some honest observations of adolescence. But there's also a willful, cloying datedness to the movie — overly stuffed with period detail like an "Archie" comic strip. It tracks a boy (Callan McAuliffe) and a girl (Madeline Carroll) from 7-years-old to 13, and all the fluctuating emotions in between. The strength of "Flipped" is in its trueness to humdrum adolescence. It's filled not with extravagant dramas, but instead portrays how seemingly minor happenings take on grand meaning: the tragic tearing down of the cherished sycamore, the terrifying formality of a sit-down dinner, the frightening awkwardness of nearly everything. But it lacks both the darkness and comedy of "Stand By Me" and its device of flipping every scene to show both kids' perspective drags the film. With Aidan Quinn and Anthony Edwards as the fathers, and John Mahoney as a grandfather. PG for language and some thematic material. 90 minutes. Two stars out of four.
Jake Coyle, AP Entertainment Writer
"The Last Exorcism" — One of the scariest movies to come along in a long time — until the last five minutes or so, when it completely falls apart. Director Daniel Stamm's faux documentary starts out with deadpan delivery and a dry sense of humor, then it turns riveting, then truly frightening, then just plain silly. It's like it morphs from being a Christopher Guest movie to "The Blair Witch Project." Until then, the filmmakers keep you guessing as to what's real and what's imagined, what's a disturbing mental disorder and what's actually demonic possession. And the fact that this Eli Roth production uses all unknown actors helps us get sucked into this eerie world. Evangelical Louisiana preacher Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) has been performing exorcisms for the past 25 years but he knows they're all a sham. He long ago lost his faith, and for a while has had no qualms about taking money from true believers in the name of supporting his own family. Now, with his conscience weighing on him, he lets a camera crew come behind the scenes to expose his tricks as he "performs" one last exorcism. Fabian finds the balance in his character's conflicting motivations, and Ashley Bell is extraordinary as the teenager who's been acting strangely. PG-13 for disturbing violent content and terror, some sexual references and thematic material. 88 minutes. Three stars out of four.
Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic