BAD BOYS II (Michael Bay) runs a butt-numbing 145 minutes, reuniting the principals from the original (Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as squabbling Miami narcotics cops, Joe Pantoliano as their generic angry captain) and showing that Michael Bay's (Pearl Harbor, Armageddon) real ambition in life is to make the biggest and bestest Miami Vice ever. To that end, he steals the opening shootout from Predator 2 and the climactic shantytown chase scene from Jackie Chan's Police Story (only bigger and with explosions!), throws in the sublime Gabrielle Union as an undercover DEA agent and lets them invade Cuba. Didn't anyone realize that the appeal of the original was the comic chemistry between the two squabbling leads? It's a rare moment when Lawrence realizes someone else (Smith) is a lot funnier than he is. Just put them in the car and let them argue. I vote for Abbas Kiarostami to direct Bad Boys III. 146 min. NN (JH) Opens Jul 18 at 401 & Morningside, 5 Drive-In Oakville, Coliseum Mississauga, Coliseum Scarborough, Courtney Park 16, Docks Drive-in, Eglinton Town Centre, Elgin Mills, First Markham Place, Grande - Steeles, Grande - Yonge, Interchange 30, Paramount, Queensway, Rainbow Fairview, Rainbow Market Square, Rainbow Promenade, Rainbow Woodbine, SilverCity Newmarket, SilverCity Richmond Hill, SilverCity Yorkdale, Silvercity Yonge, Varsity, Winston Churchill.
GARAGE DAYS (Alex Proyas) - See review, page 69. 105 min. NN (JH) Opens Jul 18 at the Varsity. HOW TO DEAL (Clare Kilner) is lazy and shallow, with the aesthetics of a feminine protection commercial and targeting teen drama queens who get their feelings from Hallmark cards. Nobody acts in this movie; everybody pretends, particularly Mandy Moore as the petulant and simpering Halley, a girl with a slate of demographically appropriate relationship problems. Like, her parents just got divorced and her dad married this lame trophy wife and Halley doesn't believe in love but, omigod, there's this guy she really, really likes and then her mom meets this other guy. It just goes on and on, with complication after soapy complication strung together in a series of unlikely and unacknowledged coincidences until you don't know whether to laugh or leave. 102 min. N (Wendy Banks) Opens Jul 18 at 401 & Morningside, Courtney Park 16, Eglinton Town Centre, Elgin Mills, First Markham Place, Grande - Steeles, Interchange 30, Kennedy Commons, Paramount, Queensway, SilverCity Mississauga, SilverCity Newmarket, SilverCity North York, SilverCity Richmond Hill, SilverCity Yorkdale, Uptown.
I CAPTURE THE CASTLE (Tim Fywell) is a portrait of family crisis in 30s England. Two daughters (Romola Garai and Rose Byrne) begin plotting marriage to two Americans (Henry Thomas and Marc Blucas) who arrive as the owners of the run-down castle the girls' parents rent. Working from a novel by Dodie Smith, Fywell and scenarist Heidi Thomas create an incisive psychological portrait of the nexus of romance and economics. If Garai's Cassandra is a familiar psychological type, the bright bookish girl in the shadow of her gorgeous sister, the filmmakers don't shy away from showing the practical side of marriage for the shabby gentility, in this case the girls' bohemian parents. Very well done, and very viable relief from the big, bashing summer pictures filling the multiplexes. 111 min. NNNN (JH) Opens Jul 18 at the Varsity.
JOHNNY ENGLISH (Peter Howitt) tracks bumbling Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) when, in the wake of an explosion that kills off the UK's best agents, he's left to solve the mystery of the stolen crown jewels. See review online at www.nowtoronto.com. 88 min. Opens Jul 18 at 401 & Morningside, Beach Cinemas, Canada Square, Colossus, Courtney Park 16, Eglinton Town Centre, Elgin Mills, First Markham Place, Grande - Steeles, Grande - Yonge, Kennedy Commons, Paramount, Queensway, Rainbow Market Square, Rainbow Woodbine, SilverCity Newmarket, SilverCity Richmond Hill, Varsity, Winston Churchill. THE LEGEND OF SURIYOTHAI (Chatrichalerm Yukol) - See review, page 69. 142 min. NN (CB) Opens Jul 18 at Canada Square, Carlton.
NORTHFORK (Mark Polish) has 15 listed producers, co-producers and executive producers, including James Woods, who plays a man working to remove people from the path of a lake forming behind a new dam in 40s Montana. Michael Polish and his brother, co-writer Mark Polish, are low-key surrealists, and Northfork strives toward a kind of exquisitely crafted American magic realism in which each shot is a visionary postcard. Some of the work here is terrific: Nick Nolte's performance as the local priest, the cinematography of M David Mullen, who shot Polish's earlier film, Twin Falls, Idaho. But the picture is blighted by an overweening preciousness, with lost angels and mystical lunatics dotting the landscape. Go ahead and curse the Bruckheimer-ization of Hollywood summer movies, but I shudder if this is the alternative. 103 min. NN (JH) Opens Jul 18 at Cumberland.