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Picks and Pans Main: Movies

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Before Midnight

Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy | R |


When it comes to romantic love, movies prefer it in first flower—like in 1995’s Before Sunrise, the film that launched director Richard Linklater’s magical series chronicling the bond between two wandering Gen-Xers. This third entry, following their Paris reunion in 2004’s Before Sunset, dives heart-first into love’s messy aftereffects, and the results are both devastating and beautiful.

This time we catch the pair, now parents of young twins, on the last day of a summer respite on a picturesque Greek island. They negotiate topics small—the ethics of finishing their kid’s half-eaten apple while she’s sleeping in the backseat—and large, like the nature of human connection in the digital age. Hawke and Delpy (who cowrote the screenplay with Linklater) respond to each other with such easy intimacy that it’s impossible to imagine that they haven’t spent the last nine years together.

The second half of the film finds them in a hotel suite for what was meant to be a glorious night of romance but ends up in a soul-baring fight as raw and honest as anything you’ve seen at the movies in years. The epic confrontation will resonate with you long after you’ve for-gotten the CGI clang of summer.

Now You See Me

Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson | PG-13 |


Magicians get a raw deal in pop culture, so this caper film’s attempt to up their cool quotient is commendable, if ultimately futile. Now You See Me tells the story of a quartet of skilled magicians (Eisenberg, Fisher, Harrelson and Dave Franco) who are recruited by a mysterious benefactor to become a stage act able to pull off elaborate heists in front of spellbound audiences. But corny lines and implausible twists undercut the fun of being fooled. By the time we reach the final eye-rolling reveal, it feels less like hocus-pocus than just plain hokum.

The Kings of Summer

Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally | R |


This wry film – about three teens who ditch their parents and build a house in the woods – may not be overly ambitious, but it’s still funny, with real-life couple Offerman and Mullally hilarious as parents. It’s fun to watch the boys delight in their scrap-metal manse, but Kings’ true charm is that it catches a moment in adolescence and holds it, glowing like a lightning bug in summer.