“22 Jump Street”

More bromance than the original and in on the joke that being a sequel, we’ve seen it all in the original.

If you liked “21 Jump Street”, you’ll have a hoot with the sequel. The jokes are hit and miss and actually the funniest moments are in the closing credits which jump on the possible additions to the franchise, including “23 Jump Street Culinary School” and even “Jump Street: Retirement Home”. You gotta stay for the credits.

Jonah Hill and a puppy-like adorable Channing Tatum renite as undercover police partners Schmidt and Jenko, this time sent by their boss (a scowling one-note Ice Cube) to go undercover to a local college to bust a drug ring. The 30-something year old Schmidt & Jenko fool no one. Stealing every scene she’s in: look out for Jillian Bell (of “Bridesmaids” fame). She’s hilarious and gets the funniest lines.

The plot is thin. And the action scenes are pretty lame, except for Hill’s duking it out with Jillian Bell. The movie really milks the bromance that goes rocky midway through the film, thanks to Jenko bonding with a college football star and frat king, played by Wyatt Russell, the son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. There are a couple wincing moments, thanks to ill-time joke references to the late Maya Angelou.

The 2 hour running time is a half hour too long. But there’s enough of the absurd humor to keep you laughing. Hill and Tatum can easily continue their perfect chemistry through the endless sequel possibilities that’ll have you howling at the end-credits.

2-and-a-half stars

“The Rover”

A grim post-apocalyptic tale starring an always effective Guy Pearce and a surprising Rob Pattinson.

David Michod, who directed the Oscar-nominated “Animal Kingdom” in 2010, is making a name for himself as the Scorsese of Australia. His first movie had a family of hardened criminals led by a bordering-on-incestuous mom, played by the Oscar-nominated Jacki Weaver.

In the post-apocalyptic “The Rover”, practically everyone on screen is a lawbreaker, mainly through circumstance. The movie opening tells us it’s ten years “since the collapse”. Apparently it was a total economic collapse , leading to the collapse of society. The movie is situated in the Australian Outback, which sets the look for this very bleak , bloody film.

What makes this film a standout is the acting. Guy Pearce plays a loner (we never even learn his name) on an obsessed mission to recover his stolen car from a gang of criminals. His unlikely partner is played by Rob Pattinson, the intellectually-challenged brother of one of gangsters, left for dead after a shootout. He joins the hunt for his brother and his gang, angered that his brother abandoned him . Just why Pearce’s loner dude is so desperate to get back his car is never explained til last scene, though there are hints along the way. Pattinson does his career-best acting here. He’s a revelation. It’s clear Pattinson is on a mission to move way, way on from his “Twilight” days and prove to us there’s more than meets the eye.

This is a road trip apocalyptic movie- not quite as depressing as Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”. But there’s not much hope here. And not much humanity, either.

2-and-a-half stars


A dramedy about the difficult but pertinent issue of doctor-assisted suicide.

Movies about cancer and dying are a tough sale. Yes , “The Fault In Our Stars” is a mega hit, but that has the whole Romeo & Juliet thing for going for it and the book is a young adult best seller- so that one had a huge hungry target audience.

“Lullaby” hits close to home for so many families. Either now, the past or sometime in the future. Doctor-assisted suicide is a hot topic . It’s a current issue in several state legislatures. This one takes it head on , along with the subsequent family dynamics.

The go-to guy amonh character actors, Richard Jenkins, takes center stage as the wealthy dying patriarch of a family of four. He’s had cancer for 12 long years . Now on a ventilator and bed-ridden, he has made the decision that his life is no longer worth living. The family is called to the hospital to get the news. Jenkins has never been finer. He is bedridden for all but one scene. His face has to tell much of his story. His humor is intact (yes- there is comic relief) and his mind is sharp.

At the heart of the story is the tense relationship with his only son, played by Garrett Hedland of “Tron:Legacy” , “Friday Night Lights” and “Country Strong” with Gwyneth Paltrow). The strong supporting cast has little to do: Amy Adams (in an itty bitty role as the love of his life who got away) , Terence Howard (the doctor), and Anne Archer (the cheated-on wife in “Fatal Attraction”) , who this time plays a pretty-much one note sad loving wife who easily forgives her hubby’s long ago affair. Jennifer Hudson gives us most of the comic relief as the floor nurse who doesn’t mince words . Strange that in a huge New York City hospital on a private floor, she’s the sole nurse in attendance. Jessica Brown Findlay of “Downton Abbey” fame is the spoiled lawyer-daughter, who actually goes to court to try to stops her dad from ending his life. That whole story line feels a little stilted along with the dad cutting out of his will his only two kids , in order to teach the spoiled brats a lesson. And who was it again who spoiled the brats???

The best reasons to see this film: Richard Jenkins and the pretty much unknown Jessica Barden, as a terminally ill cancer patient who’s wise well beyond her years. This is a young actress who needs to be seen more.

2 stars

"How To Train Your Dragon 2"

The sequel of "How To Tame Your Dragon," picks up five years later in the island world of Berk, where everything seems to have pretty much gelled between Hiccup (nicely voiced again by Jay Baruchel); his dad, Stoick (Gerard Butler); and his dragon pal, Toothless. But you can't have a story without conflict and this one has lots of it. Just when I thought the movie was moving too slowly, all the chaos begins. This one's going to make you cry. And without revealing too much, I question it being released before Father's Day. Don't spend Father's Day with young kids and this one. See it on Saturday or for Friday The 13th Today.

A new character to Dragon 2 is Hiccup's mother, Valka (Cate Blanchett), long thought dead by a dragon attack. Hiccup finds her being a Dragon Master. So she left her family in favor of Dragons, Great!. She reunits with her husband and all is back to normal or is it? Let me just say the next line sums up the picture, ''Good dragons under the control of bad people do bad things.'' You can probably guess the rest. But in the end the good people of Berk prevail again.

3-D and cinematography is brilliant. I took two kids to this one. My daughter Cayley and her schoolmate Emma. They couldn't wait to see it and agreed it was sad at parts but, what's new, they gave it 4 out of 4 stars (really 5 but Shelli only goes up to 4 max)

I give it 3. It's a must see if you're a fan of the Dragon Franchise but it went a little too far with emotional content for the little kids. Tweens you don't have to worry about, they watch things like "Divergent" and "Hunger Games" and "The Fault In Our Stars." This would be an, "Everyone lives happily ever after!" thing.

3 Stars Marc Coppola For Shelli Sonstein.