‘Internship’ crashes, ‘Kings’ resonates and ‘Purge’ paralyzes in theaters

Among the new movies that were released Friday, June 7 in theaters throughout the Valley are a comedy that re-teams “Wedding Crashers” co-stars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, a coming-of-age comedy about three teenagers aspiring for freedom from their parents and a thriller set in the not-too-distant future.

The Internship

Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson play salesmen who, having seen their careers torpedoed by the digital age, find their way into a coveted internship at Google where they must compete with a group of young, tech-savvy geniuses for a shot at employment. (PG-13 – 119 minutes)

While watching “The Internship,” viewers will undoubtedly be twitching their hands, wishing that they were holding a magical mouse that they could then move to the upper-right-hand corner of the big screen and “X” out of the unbearably unfunny experience. Aside from failing to ever explore the importance of balancing extreme intellect with common sense, the new comedy re-teaming “Wedding Crashers” co-stars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson is not nearly entertaining enough to sustain its entirely too long runtime. Add to that several unlikeable secondary characters and a few too many annoying Vaughnologues and you may very well go back to using Yahoo. (Thumbs Down!)

The Kings of Summer

Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias play three teenage friends who, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land. (PG-13 – 93 minutes)

“The Kings of Summer” is, without a doubt, one of the most refreshingly original motion pictures that you will see all year. It is quirky, charming, funny, sophisticated and incredibly creative. Having said that, its premise is somewhat thin with screenwriter Chris Galletta failing to find much for his characters to do once they make their initial escape from commonality. The coming-of-age comedy also features engrossingly eccentric grown-ups (played by Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally and Marc Evan Jackson) who, of all times, play second-fiddle to the not-all-that-likeable kids. Still, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts extracts a sweet-natured emotional resonance from this teenage tale. (Thumbs Up!)

The Prey

Albert Dupontel plays a convicted bank robber who – upon learning that his recently released former cellmate (Stéphane Debac) is a sadistic serial killer who has now set his sights on his family – must break out of prison, elude police and save his wife and daughter from danger. (R – 102 minutes)

The new “The Fugitive”-esque chase thriller “The Prey” begins with a jailbreak, ends with the perfect storm and only rarely lets up long enough for viewers to catch their breath. The new French import is the rare foreign film that is so much fun that you forget that you are reading subtitles and instead simply succumb to the riveting roller-coaster ride. Moreover, the resulting excitement is elevated even further courtesy of a compelling emotional anchor, thereby engaging not only the audience’s adrenaline but also their hearts. Throw in some intellectually stimulating theories about trust and you have got an entertainment trifecta. (Thumbs Up!)

The Purge

Over the course of a single night – during the 12 hours every year when Americans can commit any crime without facing consequences – a family is tested to see how far they will go to protect themselves when the vicious outside world breaks into their home. (R – 85 minutes)

Every so often, a film comes around that redefines a word within the English language and forever burns the new signification into our memory and vocabulary. Said burn has never been more scorching than it is in “The Purge.” The new thriller, which could effectively be categorized as a “what-if white knuckler,” is as thought-provoking as it is hair-raising. Inciting questions about everything from mankind’s necessity for release of pent-up anger to society’s desire for economic equilibrium, this flick features far more substance than most others within its genre while also leaving you unsettled and uncertain about civilization’s foreboding future. (Thumbs Up!)

Stories We Tell

Filmmaker Sarah Polley investigates the secrets kept by a family of storytellers by interviewing and interrogating a cast of characters of varying reliability, eliciting candid yet contradictory answers to the same questions. (PG-13 – 108 minutes)

“Stories We Tell” is an extraordinary experiment in documentary filmmaking. It is – without a doubt – a remarkably intimate motion picture, extracting such deep and honest emotions from its subjects (or, as they are referred to here, storytellers) that viewers cannot help but become completely engrossed in the information that is being explored and eventually exposed. However, filmmaker Sarah Polley’s attempt to make her own family’s yarn resonate with audiences using a hypothesis about the act of storytelling falls somewhat short. “So what’s?” and self-indulgence aside, the movie remains interesting enough in content and in execution to warrant a watch. (Thumbs Up!)

Tiger Eyes

Willa Holland plays a girl who, after her father is killed in a hold-up, visits her relatives in New Mexico where she befriends a young man (Tatanka Means) who helps her find the strength to carry on and conquer her fears. (PG-13 – 92 minutes)

At a time when movies targeted to the teen demographic tend to be overwrought with cheesy romance and hokey supernatural elements, “Tiger Eyes” is a breath of fresh air. Writer/director Lawrence Blume adapts his mother Judy’s young adult novel in such a way that retains its rich message about the curative power of connection and adds additional depth to it through the symbolic beauty that is unique to the visual medium. Blume perhaps attempts to pack too much of the experience of approaching adulthood into a single story but this remains a restorative cinematic achievement. (Thumbs Up!)

Joseph J. Airdo

Joseph J. Airdo is a film critic, producer and on-air personality for Breakthrough Entertainment, a talk radio show airing 10-11 a.m. Saturdays on KPHX 1480 AM and BreakRadioShow.com that shines a spotlight on the practical perspectives of the topics and themes explored in movies. He has a pet duck named Frozen who is as opinionated about movies as he is. E-mail him at joseph.airdo@gmail.com.

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