Magic, friendship and thrills among movie new releases this weekend

The Takeaway

Movie theaters this weekend welcome four new films; the comic "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," the thriller "The Call," the girls gone criminal action movie, "Spring Breakers," and the independent drama "Ginger and Rosa."

Rafer Guzman, film critic for Newsday, says though the The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a comedy about Las Vegas magicians and features a great cast, the plot was unfocused and the jokes weren't sharp enough.

"I couldn't tell where the film was going. Ultimately there just wasn't that much magic in it for me," he said.

But Kristen Meinzer, The Takeaway culture producer, disagreed. She said the plot was easy to follow.

"We have the two best friends in an act together, the act falls apart, they have a competitor they have to beat," she said. "To me, it was so stupid that you could just enjoy the stupidity."

The movie stars Steve Carell, and features appearances by Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey and David Copperfield.

For thriller fans, the box office welcomes The Call, featuring Halle Berry as an emergency phone operator.

Guzman says the movie is a crazy mix of other movies like Psycho and Thelma and Louise. Though it started slow, by the end parts of it were absurd enough to be funny.

"It has the world's dumbest serial killer — who really winds up being comic relief. The guy never brings a rope, any tape, never pats down his victim for a cell phone, and after awhile your heart kind of goes out to the guy," he said.

On the other end of the movie spectrum is Spring Breakers, starring James Franco and a group of ex-Disney actresses.Harmony Korine, the Spring Breakers director, also directed the edgy movie Kids, which is about privileged kids behaving badly.

Spring Breakers is about a group of criminal girls who go on a spring break trip, but find themselves in trouble once they get there.

Three of the four main girls in the movie are played by Disney alums, but Meinzer says the movie feels like Girls Gone Wild meets criminal activity.

"It's kind of a hot mess," she said. 

For a better cast, Meinzer and Guzman recommend the independent movie Ginger and Rosa, which is about two teenage girls living in England in the 1960s.

The movie stars Elle Fanning as Ginger, and also features Annette Bening and Mad Men's Christina Hendricks.

The story takes place amidst the Cuban missile crisis and angst over nuclear weapons. But it's also about a relationship that comes between these two best friends. 

"We have a girl who is much more wild — needs a lot of attention from men. We have the other girl who's much more intellectual, who's a poet, who's anti-war," Meinzer said.

You see the ways these two girls are alike, but you also see how men come between them, Meinzer said. But, she thought the plot took an abrupt turn that didn't work.

Guzman, though, had nothing but praise for the indy flick, praising it from start to finish.

"I thought it was a really interesting look at the way a liberal, humanist, secular family that gives its kid too much freedom, ultimately fails," he said. "That's a story you don't see that often in a movie and I thought it was wonderful."

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