‘Verdean’ satirizes, ‘Sea’ sinks and ‘Ridiculous’ stands tall

Among the new movies that were released Friday, Dec. 11 are a comedy from “Napoleon Dynamite” writer/director Jared Hess, a true adventure from director Ron Howard and a western starring none other than Adam Sandler.

‘Don Verdean’

Don VerdeanSam Rockwell plays a self-proclaimed Biblical archaeologist who, hired by an ambitious small-town pastor (Will Forte) to find sacred relics in the Holy Land, comes up short and his attempt to cover up his failure fuels a comic conspiracy. Amy Ryan, Jemaine Clement and Danny McBride also star. (PG-13 – 90 minutes)

“Don Verdean” may not be nearly as overt as some of writer/director Jared Hess’s previous motion pictures – especially “Napoleon Dynamite” – but its inherent niceness and moral values make it impossible to dislike. The new comedy has a little bit of a bite when it comes to its satirical approach to religious beliefs but its heart is enormous and its final moments will bring a bright smile to your face. Stars Sam Rockwell and Jemaine Clement are terrific while Hess’s avoidance of a mean-spirited sense of humor is remarkably refreshing. (Thumbs Up!)

‘In the Heart of the Sea’

In the Heart of the SeaA whaling ship is preyed upon by a giant whale, stranding its crew at sea for 90 days, thousands of miles from home. Stars include Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy and Brendan Gleeson. (PG-13 – 121 minutes)

“In the Heart of the Sea” is director Ron Howard’s worst motion picture – a failure as colossal as the whale featured in the film itself. The new true adventure flick is beyond boring, getting exponentially worse as it goes on until only a few of the remaining viewers who have not gotten up to leave the theater are left with their eyes still open. The whale is a somewhat entertaining creature but its screentime is reduced to mere minutes in a more than two-hour movie that consists mostly of full dialogue between uninteresting characters. (Thumbs Down!)


‘The Ridiculous 6’

Ridiculous 6Adam Sandler plays an outlaw who, raised by Native Americans, discovers that he has five half-brothers. Together the men go on a mission to find their wayward, deadbeat dad. Terry Crews, Jorge Garcia, Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider and Luke Wilson also star. (NR – 100 minutes)

“The Ridiculous 6” is star Adam Sandler’s best movie in years. However, if you go in expecting a straight-forward comedy, you may be a bit disappointed – especially since the new flick starts off somewhat slow. Granted, it is a comedy and features a mix of the juvenile jokes of Sandler’s recent ventures and the more organic gags of his past projects, but the film could better be described as a western with comedic elements as it is far more dependent on its story than you might expect. One way or the other, though, its cast is incredible. (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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