‘Sleeping Around’ annoys, ‘Winter Soldier’ satisfies and ‘In the Blood’ exhilarates

Among the new movies that were released Friday, April 4 are a comedy about dealing with infidelity, a superhero sequel starring Chris Evans and an actioner about a deadly Caribbean honeymoon.

10 Rules for Sleeping Around

Chris Marquette, Tammin Sursok, Jesse Bradford and Virginia Williams play two young couples – one married, one planning to be, all best friends, dealing with the temptation of infidelity… both real and imagined. (R – 94 minutes)

“10 Rules for Sleeping Around” is a day late and a dollar short. That is to say that the new relationship comedy, which places its characters in all kinds of crazy situations that involve various stages of undress (and cross-dress), may have been able to blend in between early 2000 movies like “Tomcats” and “Buying the Cow.” But more than 10 years later, the film’s obviously low production budget leaves a bad taste in your mouth. As do the performances by the female cast members, which can only be described as annoying. Male stars Chris Marquette and Jesse Bradford along with uber-talented supporting actress Wendi McLendon-Covey deserve much, much better. (Thumbs Down!)

Alien Abduction

A vacationing family encounters an alien threat. Inspired by the real-life Brown Mountain Lights phenomenon in North Carolina. (NR – 85 minutes)

Although “Alien Abduction” earns a few points for actually utilizing a significant portion of its runtime with thrills as opposed to unnecessary exposition, unlike most other found-footage flicks, its Achilles heel is its stars’ atrocious acting – or perhaps it would be more appropriately referred to as overacting. After spending a mere 5 minutes with this annoying family, you cannot help but hope that they will get the anal probing they so richly deserve. And while it is occasionally stirring to see the events that lead up to that very outcome, the footage is far too obscure to ever be more than mildly amusing. (Thumbs Down!)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Chris Evans reprises his role as an super-powered American soldier struggles to find his place in a modern world after being frozen in ice since WWII while battling a new threat from old history – the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier. (PG-13 – 136 minutes)

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is certainly action-packed and exciting but it may disappoint people who were looking for… you know… a superhero movie. This latest installment of the massive Marvel superhero saga plays out more like an espionage thriller, with Cap taking a backseat to S.H.I.E.L.D. – or at least serving as little more than a very small cog in a much larger wheel. Having said that, Steve Rogers remains the most dynamic member of the Avengers and this story sees some satisfying follow-up to his first adventure. (Thumbs Up!)

In the Blood

Gina Carano plays a woman whose new husband (Cam Gigandet) vanishes during their Caribbean honeymoon. Armed with a deadly set of skills, she sets out to discover the truth – and to take down the men she thinks are responsible for his abduction, one by one. (R – 108 minutes)

Although it is occasionally so outrageous that you cannot help but laugh out loud, “In the Blood” gets the red stuff pumping through your veins at an alarming pace. What starts out as a ho-hum honeymoon-in-paradise action flick develops into an exhilarating missing-person mystery before eventually morphing into a game of cat-and-mouse that will have you on the extreme edge of your seat. Star Gina Carano, who underwhelmed with her robotic performance in 2011’s “Haywire,” sets the screen on fire here as she nearly single-handedly takes on an entire island with emotional intensity. (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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