What's new in theaters

2013-01-25T00:00:00Z What's new in theaters nwitimes.com
January 25, 2013 12:00 am

"Parker" — This plays like the bloodiest promotional video ever made for Palm Beach tourism. Stabbings, explosions and furniture-smashing brawls occur at some of the ritziest locations within the sun-splashed, pastel-soaked slab of Florida opulence. The city is the setting for a $50 million jewel heist as well as some revenge doled out with the usual machine-like efficiency by Jason Statham. As the title character, the anti-hero of many of the novels by Richard Stark (the pseudonym of the late Donald E. Westlake), Statham is stepping into a well-known persona. But he's not exactly pushing himself outside his comfort zone. Parker is the kind of thief who lives by a civilized, self-imposed code — one he expects others to adhere to, as well. But this is the same character Statham always plays: quietly cool, dryly British, powerfully lethal. Director Taylor Hackford's rather perfunctory action film is actually more compelling before it even gets to Palm Beach, as Parker makes his way from Ohio to Texas to New Orleans before reaching his final destination. Jennifer Lopez co-stars as the struggling Palm Beach real estate agent who learns too much and wants a piece of the action, but playing weak and girlish isn't exactly her strong suit. R for strong violence, language throughout and brief sexual content/nudity. 118 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.

— Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

"The Last Stand" — The Arnold Schwarzenegger movie you didn't even realize you wanted to see. This is the action superstar's first leading role in a decade, having left acting to serve as the governor of California and whatnot, and while it may not have occurred to you to miss him during that time, it's still surprisingly good to see him on the big screen again. He is not exactly pushing himself here. Korean director Kim Jee-woon's American filmmaking debut turns out to be an extremely Schwarzeneggerish Schwarzenegger film, full of big, violent set pieces and broad comedy. R for strong, bloody violence throughout and language. 107 minutes. Three stars out of four.

— Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

"LUV" — This drama about the tragic realities of fathers and sons in unforgiving urban environs can't measure up to the lyricism of its star's own music. It stars Common, the thoughtful, charismatic Chicago rhymer who, in three- and four-minute hip-hop ruminations, summons more vibrant social imagery than these well-intended but hollow 1½ hours. Taking place over a day in Baltimore, "LUV" stars Common as the former convict Vincent, who takes his 11-year-old nephew Woody (Michael Rainey Jr.) for a lesson-filled day of bonding. But Vincent's qualifications are questionable: He's desperate for the $22,000 he needs for a business loan and has gang members after him. It's a promising enough conceit — a stressed, untrustworthy but inherently decent guy trying to play the role model — but the day takes awkward, implausible turns, jumping from violence to stone-skipping in the harbor.  One and a half stars out of four.

— Jake Coyle, AP Entertainment Writer

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