Never bet against Jamie Foxx, who plays a Las Vegas cop on a search-and-destroy mission to save his kidnapped son in new thriller Sleepless. Beware criminal crooks, or you’ll craps your pants! Yep, it’s just another day in the wild ways of Vegas, inspiring this week’s 24 Frames gallery: an all-you-can-watch buffet of best and worst movies (with at least 20 reviews) set mostly to wholly in Sin City!

In Theaters This Week:



The Maze Runner

65%

Rating: PG-13, for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images.

This is yet another sci-fi thriller based on yet another young adult novel set in a rigidly structured, dystopian future. The tween and teen readers who are the targets for the James Dashner book will know what they’re getting into here. Still, this is a pretty violent and often harrowing PG-13 film. Dylan O’Brien (from MTV’s Teen Wolf) stars as Thomas, a young man who winds up in a pastoral square called the Glade. He has no memory of who he is or how he got there, similar to the dozens of other teenage boys who preceded him and have built their own society there. But Thomas soon becomes curious about the dangerous maze that lies outside the giant concrete walls surrounding the Glade. Ravenous, fast-moving creatures await in those dark corridors, and we see them tear some of the characters apart. The big reveal which explains how all these kids ended up here and what they’re intended for is filled with gunfire and it grows deadly pretty quickly. This is not for the young or the squeamish.

New On DVD:



Godzilla

76%

Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence.

It’s big and noisy and scary, as you would expect from a sci-fi blockbuster monster movie. The latest incarnation of Godzilla starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and Bryan Cranston, duly features mass urban destruction and masses fleeing in terror. This time, the big green guy stomps across San Francisco as he battles a couple of other enormous creatures that grow stronger through radioactivity. Untold thousands find themselves in peril, including a school bus full of kids on the Golden Gate Bridge. The special effects in director Gareth Edwards’ film are really sharp — crisp, textural, visceral — making some of the battle sequences truly tense and terrifying. The sound design is also quite vivid, with its ominous creaks, groans and roars. This is probably suitable for kids around age 10 and older.



The Fault In Our Stars

81%

Rating: PG-13, for thematic elements, some sexuality and brief strong language.

This is totally suitable for the teens and tweens who are familiar with John Green’s best-selling young adult novel about cancer patients in love. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort’s characters, Hazel and Augustus, refuse to be defined by the mawkish pop culture clichés of the genre, however. They are self-aware and hyper-verbal. So they curse a lot and do stupid things and behave like typical teenagers in general. They also lose their virginity to each other in an Amsterdam hotel room, but it’s handled very tastefully and there’s barely any nudity. And Woodley gets to enjoy the one F-bomb you’re allowed with a PG-13 rating. The characters experience quite a lot of joy with each other, but the prospect of death lingers over their romance at all times. Probably too mature for anyone under the tween ages.



Think Like a Man Too

23%

Rating: PG-13, for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language a drug material.

Clichéd, wacky Las Vegas hijinks are in full force in this sequel to the 2012 hit comedy Think Like a Man. The whole crew has reassembled, with a handful of new characters, for the wedding of Mama’s boy Michael (Terrence J) and single mom Candace (Regina Hall). So in addition to the Sin City clichés, we also have all the usual bachelor/bachelorette party antics. That means strip clubs for everyone (although there’s very little actual nudity) and a ton of drinking and partying hard with hot men and women. Jerry Ferrara’s character complains that he can’t smoke pot anymore because he and his wife (Gabrielle Union) are trying to have a baby. But! He does think to bring along some marijuana-laced gum, which the ladies accidentally pop into their mouths. Everybody eventually ends up in a brawl, which lands them all in jail. Between the risqué activities and the talks about boring, adult subjects like careers, marriage and family, this is probably best suited for tweens and older.



Sony ruled the North American box office with a pair of popular comedy sequels, each connecting well with its target audience. The battle-of-the-sexes pic Think Like a Man Too featuring an ensemble cast including red hot star Kevin Hart opened in first place by a narrow margin with an estimated $30M. That was off 11% from the $33.6M debut of its predecessor from April 2012, but still a muscular start. The PG-13 film averaged a spectacular $13,483 from 2,225 locations.

The first pic was well-liked and the sequel brought back the cast and also offered something new and engaging with its story of a wedding weekend in Las Vegas. Just as before, females led the way and made up 63% of the audience (same ratio as last film). 59% were over 30. Reviews were mostly negative, but that is common for comedy sequels. Ticket buyers instead responded to the starpower, brand, and humor. They liked what they got given the A- CinemaScore. Too may not reach the $91.5M final gross of its predecessor, but the $24M-budgeted film should certainly end up being another moneymaker for Sony.

After a sparkling debut last week followed by healthy mid-week sales, the buddy cop sequel 22 Jump Street finished close behind in second place this weekend with an estimated $29M. Off 49% – a terrific hold for a sequel – the R-rated comedy has now banked an impressive $111.5M. Should it continue to enjoy this impressive playability driven by strong word-of-mouth, it could end up in the range of $190M. The next major adult comedy does not arrive until Melissa McCarthy unleashes Tammy on July 2.

Jump Street actually was number one on Saturday and Sunday but the hefty opening day Friday for Think Like A Man Too (which included Thursday pre-shows) was enough to give that film the weekend crown.

Despite no new kidpics opening, the DreamWorks Animation title How to Train Your Dragon 2 fell 49% in its second weekend to an estimated $25.3M pushing the cume to $95.2M thus far. Among summer sequels from the toon studio, the drop was more like 2011’s Kung Fu Panda 2 (-50%) than 2012’s Madagascar 3 (-44%). Last summer’s Pixar sequel Monsters University dropped 45% in June.

A domestic final of around $170M seems likely for the well-reviewed Fox release putting it near the $187.2M of the animation studio’s The Croods from last year. Competition has come from Disney’s fairy tale hit Maleficent which is roaring towards $200M and next weekend, the new Transformers will take away many older kids. The first Dragon was a sleeper hit and eased only 34% in its second weekend, though a hold like that was never expected for the new installment.

Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys opened in fourth to mild results attracting one of the oldest audiences in recent years with an estimated $13.5M from 2,905 locations for a $4,652 average. The R-rated adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical about 1960s music group The Four Seasons skewed female and much older. Studio research from Warner Bros. showed that women made up 61% of the crowd and a very high 71% were over the age of 50. Reviews were mixed and the gross was in line with what Eastwood usually sees in his first wide weekend. With an A- CinemaScore and an older target audience, Jersey may hold up moderately well in the weeks to come although keeping a national ad campaign going does not come cheap.

Angelina Jolie reached a new career high this weekend with her latest hit Maleficent which became her biggest global grosser ever for a live-action film. The Disney pic dipped only 30% in North America to an estimated $13M for a new total of $186M. A strong $20.3M opening weekend in China propelled the overseas total to $335.6M and the worldwide tally to $521.6M beating 2005’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Her spy smash with Brad Pitt had been her top-grossing live-action film for the past nine years with $478M. Maleficent has higher ticket prices and 3D surcharges, though.

Tom Cruise is not making as much money with his latest action entry Edge of Tomorrow, however his well-liked sci-fi action pic is holding up well thanks to fan support. The pricey Warner Bros. release dropped 37% to an estimated $10.3M in its third lap pushing the sum up to $74.5M. It now has a good shot at joining the century club. That comes as good news for the actor who has not crossed $100M domestically in a lead role outside of his signature Mission: Impossible franchise in the nine years since 2005’s War of the Worlds.

Fox followed with a pair of hits. The romance The Fault In Our Stars dropped a moderate 42% to an estimated $8.6M for a new cume to date of $98.7M on the edge of being the summer’s latest $100M+ grosser. X-Men: Days of Future Past followed with an estimated $6.2M, down 37%, for $216.8M to date. It is the summer’s top-grossing film so far and now stands as the second highest grossing film in the seven-pic X-Men franchise. Look for Past to challenge the $234.4M of 2006’s The Last Stand.

Indie hit Chef collected an estimated $1.8M, dipping only 16%, with $16.9M to date for Open Road. Godzilla rounded out the top ten with an estimated $1.8M as well falling 45% in its sixth weekend. With $194.9M so far, the big-budget 3D monster movie is heading to a $200M finish although total tickets sold will still end up substantially lower than the 1998 Godzilla.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $139.6M which was down 39% from last year’s record June frame when Monsters University opened at number one with $82.4M; and off 8% from 2012 when Brave debuted on top with $66.3M.

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Ep. 022 – Jersey Boys, Think Like A Man Too, The Rover
Tim shares the critics’ consensus on new movies Jersey Boys, Think Like A Man Too, and The Rover. Beki comes on to share the TV critics’ reactions to Dominion, Rectify, and The Last Ship, and then Ryan covers new DVD/Blu-ray releases of The LEGO Movie and The Grand Budapest Hotel. After that, Grae shares a brief interview with Jersey Boys stars Erich Bergen and Michael Lomenda, and an extended interview with The Signal writer/director William Eubank and star Lin Shaye.

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Ep. 022 – Jersey Boys, Think Like A Man Too, The Rover
Tim shares the critics’ consensus on new movies Jersey Boys, Think Like A Man Too, and The Rover. Beki comes on to share the TV critics’ reactions to Dominion, Rectify, and The Last Ship, and then Ryan covers new DVD/Blu-ray releases of The LEGO Movie and The Grand Budapest Hotel. After that, Grae shares a brief interview with Jersey Boys stars Erich Bergen and Michael Lomenda, and an extended interview with The Signal writer/director William Eubank and star Lin Shaye.

This week at the movies, we’ve got a wild Vegas weekend (Think Like a Man Too, starring Michael Ealy and Kevin Hart), a legendary vocal group (Jersey Boys, starring John Lloyd Young and Vincent Piazza), and a deadly road trip Down Under (The Rover, starring Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce). What do the critics have to say?



Think Like a Man Too

23%

The Hangover set an absurdly high bar for comedies featuring outrageous pre-nuptial shenanigans in Vegas. Unfortunately, critics say Think Like a Man Too pales in comparison; it’s manic and frenzied rather than funny, and it fails to develop the appealing characters introduced in the first film, though Kevin Hart is usually good for a laugh whenever he appears onscreen. This time out, the couples from the first film head to Sin City to stage competing bachelor/bachelorette parties, and naturally, things spiral out of control pretty quickly. The critics say Think Like a Man Too is predictable, overwrought, and way too safe. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of movies set in Vegas.)



Jersey Boys

51%

Scan Clint Eastwood‘s filmography as a director, and you’ll quickly discover that he’s as comfortable in a smoky club or a recording studio as he is on the mean streets or in the unforgiving west. Eastwood has adapted the smash Broadway musical Jersey Boys to the big screen, but critics say it’s less successful than previous efforts like Honkeytonk Man and Bird — the actors are game and the period look is exquisite, but the narrative is a grab-bag of showbiz clichés. It’s the story of four guys who escaped a tough neighborhood to craft some unforgettable songs (“Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “December, 1963 [Oh, What a Night]”) before egos, business troubles, and the rigors of the road exacted a toll on the Four Seasons. The pundits say Jersey Boys doesn’t take many chances, but its pleasures — in particular, the songs themselves — are pretty hard to deny. (Watch our video interview with the stars, as well as this week’s Total Recall, a compendium of musical biopics .)



The Rover

66%

We expect our post-apocalyptic dystopias to be pretty bleak, but critics say The Rover is really, really gritty and grim, though the powerhouse performances by Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce make it difficult to look away. It’s been 10 years since society has collapsed into lawlessness. When Eric (Pearce) discovers his car has been stolen by a band of thieves, he enlists a wounded member of the gang (Pattinson) to help him retrieve it. The pundits say Pattinson’s performance in The Rover is a revelation, and he and Pearce are what make this downbeat tale worth watching.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Norte, the End of History, an epic drama about a man who receives a life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit, is at 100 percent.
  • A Summer’s Tale, Eric Rohmer‘s 1996 romantic dramedy about a love triangle in a beachside French town, is at 95 percent.
  • Roman Polanski‘s Venus in Fur, a dramedy about a theater director who gets more than he bargained for from an auditioning actress, is at 93 percent.
  • Code Black, a documentary about the doctors in one of America’s busiest emergency rooms, is at 91 percent.
  • Exhibition, a drama about married artists whose relationship is coming apart as they discuss the sale of their modernist home, is at 88 percent.
  • Coherence, a sci-fi drama about a group of friends who gather for a dinner party just as a passing comet wreaks havoc on the power grid, is at 85 percent.
  • The Last Sentence, a World War II-era drama about an outspoken Swedish journalist challenging his country’s lackadaisical attitude toward tyranny, is at 71 percent.
  • Fonzy, a comedy about a sperm donor who discovers he’s the father of a shocking number of children, is at 60 percent.
  • Miss Lovely, a period drama about a pair of Bollywood producers known for their lurid subject matter, is at 44 percent.
  • Paul HaggisThird Person, starring Mila Kunis and Liam Neeson in a multistranded drama about three couples in the midst of relationship woes, is at 34 percent.
  • The Moment, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh in a thriller about a photojournalist who reunites with her estranged daughter when her boyfriend goes missing, is at 17 percent.

In Theaters This Week:



Think Like a Man Too

23%

Rating: PG-13, for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language a drug material.

This lazy sequel to the 2012 hit comedy about the battle of the sexes finds the cast reuniting for the Las Vegas wedding of Mama’s boy Michael (Terrence J) and single mom Candace (Regina Hall). All the Sin City clichés are here as well as the typical bachelor/bachelorette party antics. The guys and gals both go to strip clubs (where there’s very little actual nudity). They drink a ton and party hard with hot men and women. Jerry Ferrara’s character laments his inability to smoke pot because he and his wife (Gabrielle Union) are trying to conceive a child. But he does bring along with him some marijuana-laced gum, which the ladies accidentally ingest. Eventually, the whole crew ends up in a brawl, which lands them in jail. Between the risqué activities and the discussions about boring, grown-up topics like careers, marriage and family, this is probably best suited for tweens and older.

This week’s 24 Frames gallery looks at the movies that partied on the Vegas Strip and remained coherent enough the next day to tell the tale.

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