Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Crime Time

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Crime Time

Article excerpt

'The Purge: Anarchy' ** 1/2

The loose sequel to "The Purge" is set in March 2023 at a time when unemployment in America is 5 percent and crime is virtually nonexistent, unless you count the purge. It's a 12-hour period once a year in which crime, including murder, is legal, and police, fire and medical responders stand down.

The first movie took place in a gated community where a family that could afford an expensive security system thought it would be immune to violence -- but, of course, it wasn't. This time around, the story has been literally opened up as five people struggle to survive on the streets of downtown Los Angeles.

A struggling waitress and her daughter (Carmen Ejogo and Zoe Soul) are physically dragged from their apartment, while the car belonging to a young married couple (Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez) conks out after being sabotaged. They end up on the run with a well- armed stranger (Frank Grillo) who is prepared to purge and avenge the loss of his young son.

The divide between rich and poor is even more exaggerated this time, as a revolutionary (Michael K. Williams) takes to the Web to puncture the babble and bubble of the "new founding fathers."

Writer-director James DeMonaco's sequel is violent, speaks to the worst in most people and treats wealth as reason for caricature (complete with racial and religious overtones) and license to treat humans as prey. But it lets Mr. Grillo, an actor who often plays tough guys, bring a convincing no-nonsense grittiness to his character and turns the second largest city in the country into a nearly deserted location with an end of the world vibe.

Rated R for strong disturbing violence, and for language. Extras include deleted scenes and a making-of featurette.

-- Post-Gazette

'Sex Tape' * 1/2

"Sex Tape," a comedy starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, is shocking all right. Shockingly unfunny and tone deaf when it comes to lines or scenarios. For instance, would a father raise a wine glass at dinner and say to his newly engaged daughter, "Well, goodbye sex"?

Ms. Diaz is Annie and Mr. Segel is Jay, lusty college sweethearts who have been married for a decade and have two children. Annie is a mommy blogger hoping to sell her blog to a huge toy company, and Jay works for a radio station that keeps him supplied with iPads. He loads them with playlists and generously passes the old ones to family, friends, acquaintances or even strangers.

As they grow busier and more exhausted, sex falls by the wayside until one night when they are alone and in a celebratory mood. The couple embark on and document a marathon sex session.

Jay doesn't delete the file as promised, and it's off to the cloud and all those iPads, which sends the pair on a mad scramble. Except for a bizarre businessman played by Rob Lowe and some lines about "Lincoln" and a couple of basketball superstars, the writing largely falls flat. …

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