Movies out today: Arm yourself for military action and urban justice

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Five new movies open today, although it seems to be a bit of a low-key week before the next big midyear blockbusters – with superheroes and spandex – reach our screen.

Lone Survivor:
From director Peter Berg comes this big screen adaptation of the non-fiction book and real-life military operation. Four Navy SEALS (Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster) on a reconnaissance and surveillance mission during the 2007 Afghan War are surrounded, injured, and must find safety of they’re to survive.

Lone Survivor has been critically acclaimed as well as commercially popular. It’s evidently a tad light on characterisation, and heavy on the patriotism but otherwise it’s gripping, grueling and very, very visceral (squeamish peeps beware). A tough but rewarding watch. Fans of Black Hawk Down should eat this one up. 75% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

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A Haunted House 2:
Just like the horror movies it’s spoofing, there’s this gross-out comedy sequel that nobody really asked for – but which was inevitable given how financially successful the original was. So writer-producer-star Marlon Wayans is back in this R-rated tale of ghostly hauntings and demonic possession. Also with Cedric the Entertainer and Jaime Pressly.

Rather unsurprisingly, A Haunted House 2 was slammed by critics as puerile, messy and unfunny. It’s apparently just a manically delivered stream of crude gags and pop culture references.  Not unlike Wayans’ Scary Movies then. 9% Fresh.

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Tokarev:
Get your B-grade Nicolas Cage “I’ll-do-anything-for-money” kicks with this crime thriller. Thanks to a huge score, a criminal has the funds to go legit, but years later, the Russian mob lord he robbed targets his family, and our anti-hero rustles up his old gang to get revenge. Also with Rachel Nichols, Peter Stormare and Danny Glover.

There’s not even a Rotten Tomatoes review score for this one, but IMDB reviewers have called it terribly scripted and tepidly executed. The word “ridiculous” is used a lot.

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Devil’s Knot:
Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth star in this crime drama base on a true story. When three boys are found murdered, a Satanic cults is blamed and in the frenzy for justice, three teenagers are arrested and convicted… despite insisting on their innocence. Also with Mireille Enos, Dane DeHaan, Bruce Greenwood and Stephen Moyer.

If you’re familiar with the real-life incident, Devil’s Knot apparently adds nothing new. It has a restaged documentary/made-for-TV vibe about it. Excellent performances though.

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Heaven is For Real:
Based on the bestseller, and apparent true story, this Christian drama centres on a small town pastor (Greg Kinnear) whose 4-year old has a near-death experience and claims to have met Jesus Christ. What the little boy says is amazing but also just so incredibly hard to believe. Also with Kelly Reilly.

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From the director of We Were Soldiers and Secretariat, Heaven is For Real is a bit beyond your typical faith flick. It may ultimately be preaching to the choir but it’s thoughtfully scripted and actually leaves room for doubt.

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Last Updated: May 9, 2014

Noelle Adams

Sometime Tomb Raider. Full-time Pop Culture fanatic and Geekaissance Woman. Most often spotted outputting Pop Culture opinion pieces, writing fanfic and original genre fare, cosplaying and bringing the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu smackdown. Editor of the Comics and Toys section.

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