April 8, 2011 in Features

Digital effects wanting in latest ‘Narnia’

Philadelphia Inquirer
Coming up

Among upcoming DVD releases (schedule subject to change):

Tuesday: “Country Strong,” “Summer in Genoa,” “Behind the Burly Q”

Next Friday: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1”

April 19: “The King’s Speech,” “Gulliver’s Travels,” “Rabbit Hole,” “Somewhere,” “The Way Back”

Available this week on DVD:

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”: Maybe it’s the post-production 3-D enhancements, but in this effects-laden “Odyssey” for tweens, sometimes humans and beasts alike seem more wax-and-paint than flesh-and-blood. Director Michael Apted deftly handles the elements of Christian allegory; it’s the infernal digital effects that prove to be beyond his capacity. (1:53; PG for some frightening images and sequences of fantasy action) • • 1/2

“Little Fockers”: Robert De Niro returns as the suspicious father-in-law who places unreasonable expectations on his daughter’s spouse (Ben Stiller) in this second “Meet the Parents” sequel. Sporadically funny, with Viagra jokes that don’t so much provoke laughs as cringes. (1:38; PG-13 for mature sexual humor throughout, language and some drug content) • •

“Tron: Legacy”: With its Zen jargon, martial-arts moves and neon glow, the sequel to the 1982 cult picture that explored the inner life of videogames demonstrates that you can teach an old dog new “Matrix.” But for the hipster ravings of Jeff Bridges, this sequel would otherwise be merely a gaudy Nintendo prototype. (2:07; PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and brief mild language) • •

“I Love You Phillip Morris”: Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor star in this improbably true story of a inexhaustible con artist and his mad passion for a fellow inmate. Prison escapes and wild scams ensue, but so does a wonderfully sweet love story. (1:40; R for sexual content including strong dialogue, and language) • • •

“Casino Jack”: Kevin Spacey gives a slick but soulless performance as disgraced super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff in this tonally all-over-the-map account of hubris and greed in the nation’s capital. (1:48; R for pervasive language, some violence and brief nudity) • •

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