The Karate Kid
Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P. Henson | PG |
It was smart to move the Karate Kid to China. The country is gorgeously shot, and the shift raises the stakes for Dre Parker (Smith), who navigates a new language, culture and-almost as soon as the plane lands in Beijing-new bullies. Kid is a fresh yet faithful update of the ’84 original, even down to the cute crush on a classmate (an adorable Wenwen Han). One issue: It’s hard to watch 11-year-old Smith get beat up; the earlier version was set in high school. That said, he clearly took acting and kung fu training seriously, keeping up with Chan (who shows nuance and depth as Dre’s instructor), and putting dad Will on notice: He may have competition as an action star.
Colin Farrell, Alicja Bachleda | PG-13 |
Ondine is an adult fairy tale-as dark as it is otherworldly. When sad-sack Irish fisherman Syracuse (Farrell, his talent on full display) hauls a stranger (Bachleda) in his net, his luck changes. Suddenly he’s catching more fish and telling tales of Ondine, the mystery lady, to his droll priest (Stephen Rea) and his ailing but charmingly frank daughter Annie (Alison Barry), who decides Ondine is a mythical sea creature and quizzes her on it. But Ondine’s origins aren’t the point. The point of this quiet, sweet film is that we should seize whatever chances at happiness wash up in our net-a truism so tidy, we’re inclined to forgive an ending that’s more Hollywood cliche than Irish fable.