In Theaters This Week:



Still Alice

85%

Rating: PG-13, for mature thematic material, and brief language including a sexual reference.

It’s doubtful that a drama about a linguistics professor suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease would appeal to any of the kids in your house. But if you have a loved one who’s struggling with this cruel affliction, perhaps this film might provide a bit of comfort and catharsis for tween viewers and older. Julianne Moore stars as the title character, a brilliant and accomplished woman who starts forgetting words, losing items and becoming disoriented. A visit to a neurologist provides her with a diagnosis, and it isn’t long before the bottom drops out from underneath her. Moore gives a heartbreaking performance, and the terrifying way in which the disease strips her character of her ability to communicate and connect with others is difficult to watch. There’s also a bit of language here, including an argument between grown children which features some vague sexual references.

New On DVD:



Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

90%

Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language.

The sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes is probably OK for kids around age 10 and older. Director Matt Reeves’ film is intimate and thrilling but it’s also extremely violent — packed with gun battles and massive amounts of firepower. Intelligent and intense, it’s vividly rendered and visceral in its huge action sequences. And the apes themselves — which are more textural and realistic than ever, thanks to some extraordinary computer-generated effects — are probably way too frightening for most young viewers when they?re in full-on rampage mode. Andy Serkis once again offers his immersive and technically exquisite powers of transformation to play Caesar, the leader of a group of highly sophisticated apes who’ve taken over after a virus devastates the planet. He works reluctantly with a human (Jason Clarke) who hopes to get a dam running to provide power to the few survivors left in San Francisco. Mistrust and misunderstanding bring both groups to the brink of war.



The Hundred-Foot Journey

68%

Rating: PG, for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality.

Aside from a couple of moments of brief violence, this delightful (and conventional) multicultural romance is probably just fine for kids around 10 and older. Helen Mirren stars as the uptight owner of an elegant restaurant in the south of France. Om Puri plays the boisterous patriarch who moves his family into her quaint village and opens a new Indian restaurant directly across the street — 100 feet away, hence the title. Their competition, and the way they sabotage each other, is petty and cruel but amusing. And eventually their rivalry leads to greater understanding and even friendship, you’ll be shocked to learn. At the beginning of the film and in the middle, vandals attack the Indian family’s restaurants, setting fire to them and even causing a death. But in both scenes in director Lasse Hallstrom’s film, these are opportunities for rebuilding and redemption.

This week on home video, we’ve got the second installment of the successfully rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise, a feelgood drama from Lasse Hallström, and a claustrophobic found-footage horror film to kick things off. Then, we’ve got a couple of Certified Fresh TV shows, a few indie flicks, a rerelease of a Holiday favorite on DVD, and a newly remastered classic starring Jimmy Stewart. Read on for details:



Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

90%

If you were as disappointed by Tim Burton’s 2001 Planet of the Apes reboot as half the critics were, then 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes probably went a long way toward making you feel better about the future of the franchise. Thanks to glowing reviews and a smartly told origin story, we got part two of the reinvigorated series this year with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which finds the human race fighting to survive in the aftermath of a “simian flu” that has wiped out much of humanity while Ceasar (a mo-capped Andy Serkis) and his tribe of intelligent apes flourished in the meantime. Jason Clarke represents a community of San Francisco survivors in search of a power source located in ape territory, and though Ceasar sees benefit in maintaining peace with the humans, an angry chimpanzee named Koba challenges his authority and seeks to eradicate the human threat. Critics raved yet again, sending Dawn to a Certified Fresh 91 percent Tomatometer score in recognition of the film’s intelligent, ambitious, and surprisingly emotional script, as well as its skillful use of immersive visual effects. The Blu-ray comes with a number of featurettes, including a look at the production design, the community of apes, the special effects, and an interview with Andy Serkis, among other things.



The Hundred-Foot Journey

68%

Lasse Hallström has proven in the past that he can make schmaltzy stories work, and though The Hundred-Foot Journey isn’t quite the equivalent of cinematic haute cuisine, critics still thought it was fairly hearty. The film tells the story of Hassan (Manish Dayal), a young Indian ex-pat chef living in France whose family opens an Indian restaurant across the street from a classical French restaurant run by the fierce, calculating Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). As a feud ensues between the two, Hassan falls for Mme Mallory’s sous chef Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), and soon Mme Mallory herself begins to see Hassan’s potential as a fine chef. This is familiar narrative territory — even for Hallström, who helmed the thematically similar Chocolat — but Helen Mirren is a joy to watch, and Hallström knows what he’s doing, so critics awarded it a 67 percent on the Tomatometer. Special features include an interview with producers Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey discussing what drew them to the project, a look at the production design and the transition process from page to screen, and, as a nice little culinary bonus, a little how-to video recipe for coconut chicken.



As Above, So Below

26%

Being trapped underground can be a frightening experience in and of itself, but being trapped underground in the catacombs? You’d think that would add an extra level of freakout to the proceedings. Not so, say the critics, at least not in the case of As Above, So Below, the Paris-set chiller by director/screenwriter duo the Dowdle brothers, who remade the Spanish zombie flick [REC] as Quarantine. As Above follows a group of intrepid explorers who venture into the catacombs of Paris in search of a legendary alchemical catalyst and stumble upon inexplicable supernatural forces. As Above, So Below begins intriguingly enough despite its found footage trappings, say critics, but like many other subpar horror films, it devolves into a barrage of genre clichés executed with little panache. Special features on the release include just one making-of doc.

Also available this week:

  • The Congress (76 percent), starring Robin Wright and Harvey Keitel in a half-animated meta sci-fi drama about an aging actress who agrees to have her image digitally recreated so that she can continue starring in films.
  • Field of Lost Shoes, starring David Arquette and Lauren Holly in a drama about a group of teenagers who are recruited to fight in the Civil War.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas (92 percent) is getting a new 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition DVD release, which includes the TV special It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown.
  • Season one of the Certified Fresh FX sci-fi series The Strain (87 percent), produced by Guillermo Del Toro, is available.
  • The first season of Comedy Central’s Certified Fresh Broad City (95 percent), starring Abbi Jacobsen and Ilana Glazer as a couple of slackers living in New York, is also available.
  • And finally, Frank Capra’s 1939 classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (94 percent), starring Jimmy Stewart as the titular idealist who’s tapped as an interim senator and attempts to take on his corrupt opponents, is getting a 4k remastered Blu-ray with several special features, including a booklet featuring a new essay on the film.

Dame Helen Mirren, Charlotte Le Bon and Manish Dayal from The Hundred-Foot Journey share their personal recipes for life. Plus, Charlotte Le Bon offers to show her butt.

In Theaters This Week:



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

21%

Rating: PG-13, for sci-fi action violence.

This live-action reboot of the franchise featuring modified, crime-fighting, pizza-eating turtles is a Michael Bay production. That means it’s essentially a Transformers movie, complete with shiny action sequences and destructive battles that place innocent bystanders in peril. The turtles themselves may be cute and cool and wacky in other incarnations but here, the special effects make them odd-looking in an off-putting way. Still, they emerge from the sewers to defend New York City, as is their duty, with the help of Megan Fox as an intrepid TV reporter. The enemy is a giant robot samurai named Shredder who resembles a Japanese Megatron. He’s working with a wealthy, villainous scientist (William Fichtner) who wants to rule the city by releasing a deadly toxin. There are explosions, lots of gunfire and general mayhem as a roaming group of marauders known as the Foot Clan terrorize the city and take hostages. I saw this movie with my son (who’s almost 5) and he was a bit frightened of Shredder, but only briefly.



The Hundred-Foot Journey

68%

Rating: PG, for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality.

Helen Mirren stars as the uptight owner of an elegant restaurant in the south of France. Om Puri plays the boisterous patriarch who moves his family into her quaint village and opens a new Indian restaurant directly across the street — 100 feet away, to be exact. Their competition, and the way they sabotage each other, is petty and cruel but amusing. And eventually — spoiler alert! — their rivalry leads to multicultural understanding. There are a couple of brief instances of violence — one in the beginning, one in the middle — in which vandals attack the Indian family’s restaurants, setting fire to them and even causing a death. But in both cases in director Lasse Hallstrom’s film, these are opportunities for rebuilding and redemption. Fine for kids around 10 and older.



Step Up: All In

42%

Rating: PG-13, for some language and suggestive material.

I’m guessing that the solitary, casually tossed F-bomb is the main reason that this fifth Step Up movie received a PG-13 rating. Otherwise, it’s pretty harmless as it offers one dance battle after another after another. This time, the action takes place at a competition in Las Vegas, with various characters from the previous films assembling and reassembling in different crews. The ultimate prize is a three-year deal performing at Caesars Palace. Maybe some of the dance moves are slightly and briefly risque — the thrusting, the suggestion of some sexual acts — but it all flies by at a dizzying pace. Even the dancers’ night out on the town is chaste. No smoking for these agile, muscular guys and gals, and even the drinking they do consists of a few glasses of celebratory champagne. Totally fine for kids around 8 or 9 and up.

New On DVD:



Divergent

41%

Rating: PG-13, for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality.

This is yet another movie based on a young adult novel set in a dystopian future where teenagers must fight each other for survival. Tweens who have read the book — and anyone familiar with this genre, really — will know what to expect in terms of violent situations and disturbing imagery. Still, because it’s rated PG-13, there’s very little blood to accompany the considerable body counts that accumulates. Shailene Woodley stars as Beatrice — or Tris, as she renames herself — a modest girl who faces the momentous task of deciding which of society’s five factions is the best fit for her. She chooses to join the Dauntless, which means a quick and demanding training regimen of shooting, fighting, throwing knives, climbing great heights and jumping from moving trains. But she also must defend herself against the competing initiates who are trying to take her down. It’s intense, dark stuff with a lengthy running time at two-plus hours.



Need For Speed

22%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of reckless street racing, disturbing crash scenes, nudity and crude language.

Aaron Paul’s first major role post-Breaking Bad finds him starring in this zippy, flashy action thriller in which a lot of cars get seriously mangled. Paul plays a small-town drag racer and mechanic who must compete in that tried-and-true one last race to redeem himself and save his family’s shop. It’s a high-stakes road challenge full of exotic sports cars, which inevitably causes some serious crashes. These adrenaline junkies knowingly put themselves in this dangerous situation — and some of them won’t survive — but they also subject untold innocent pedestrians and fellow drivers to their general disregard for human safety. Probably fine for viewers age 10 and up — but kids, don’t try this at home.

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Ep. 039 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hundred-Foot Journey, & More
Alonso Duralde from TheWrap joins Team Tomato to discuss this week’s new movies, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Step Up: All In, and Into the Storm, and then Dame Helen Mirren shares her recipe for fun with Grae Drake. After that, Sarah Ricard shares the Tomatometers for new TV shows Outlander, The Knick, and Garfunkel & Oates. Finally, the team announces the winners of last week’s Sharknado 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy giveaways, and give details on this week’s Into the Storm giveaway.

This week at the movies, we’ve got heroes in a half shell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, starring Megan Fox and Will Arnett), deadly twisters (Into The Storm, starring Richard Armitage and Sarah Wayne Callies), dueling restaurateurs (The Hundred-Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren and Manish Dayal), and dancers in Vegas (Step Up All In, starring Ryan Guzman and Briana Evigan). What do the critics have to say?



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

21%

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have proven to be enduring big-screen stars, despite the fact that none of the films starring the pizza-loving reptiles have earned much critical respect. And critics say the fifth time isn’t the charm — the Michael Bay-produced franchise reboot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles offers up a few decent action scenes but lacks the giddy mischievousness that accounts for the Turtles’ continuing popularity. The evil Foot Clan has taken control of New York City’s politicians and police force, so it’s up to our sewer-dwelling heroes — along with intrepid TV journalist April O’Neil (Megan Fox) — to save the day. The pundits say Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is pretty generic stuff, with little to differentiate its heroes from the protagonists of other summer blockbusters.



Into The Storm

21%

Plenty of movies prioritize special effects over human behavior. However, critics say Into The Storm is a particularly dispiriting example; this found footage nature thriller features amazing CGI cyclones that completely overwhelm the actors’ attempts to create believable, relatable characters. When a series of tornadoes ravage a small town, disparate bands of storm chasers rush to the scene to document the devastation. It turns out, however, that the storms were just the prelude to something more ominous. The pundits say Into the Storm suffers from a thin script that borrows shamelessly from Twister without approaching that movie’s goofy charm. (Nevertheless, check out our interviews with the stars.)



The Hundred-Foot Journey

68%

Today’s special: a lightly-cooked feel-good culture-clash comedy. Critics say The Hundred-Foot Journey is a reasonably tasty cinematic dish, even if it’s not particularly nourishing; its fine cast and scenic locales add spice to otherwise bland ingredients. Escaping political turmoil in India, the Kadam family moves to a small town in France and starts a restaurant. However, they immediately run afoul of Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), a local practitioner of French cuisine. Will she eventually discover that she has more in common with her new neighbors than she initially suspected? The pundits say The Hundred-Foot Journey looks terrific, and its heart is in the right place, but there’s almost nothing here that you haven’t tasted before. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which count down Mirren’s best-reviewed films, and watch our video interviews with Mirren and co-stars Charlotte Le Bon and Manish Daya.)



Step Up All In

42%

At this point, know what you’re getting from a Step Up movie: dazzling dance sequences occasionally interrupted by ham-fisted plotting. That said, critics say Step Up All In is more successful than most, thanks to stunning choreography that almost makes up for an inherently silly story. This time out, the stars from previous installments convene in Las Vegas to compete in an epic dance-off. The pundits say Step Up All In is predictable fluff as usual, but if you’re in the market for hot people and hot grooves, you could do far worse than this. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a list of noteworthy dance movies, and watch our interviews with Boseman and co-stars Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis, and Jill Scott.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

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