'The War with Grampa'

Oakes Fegley and Robert DeNiro in “The War with Grampa.”

These fresh movies are available this week in theaters and will be offered online later in the month.

THE WAR WITH GRAMPA

Even with a stellar cast, this movie is a disappointing and extremely silly rehash of the kind of slapstick violence made familiar in “Home Alone” and its sequels.

Based on a book by Robert Kimmel Smith and directed by Tim Hill, the predictable film stars Robert DeNiro as Grampa Jack and young Oakes Fegley as Jack’s sixth-grader grandson Peter.

The “conflict” concerns the imagined hard feelings which are supposed to be ramped up after Jack takes Peter’s room. Since the pair remain quite friendly, their “war” is a contrivance that allows for pranks, explosions, cartoon-like mayhem and the dreaded Dodgeball.

  Uma Thurman portrays Sally, Jack’s daughter and Peter’s mother. She and Rob Riggle as her husband Arthur are passable as hapless parents in a comedy that gives them little to do. It’s too bad because Riggle is a natural funnyman.

Laura Marano and Poppy Gagnon play Peter’s sisters, Mia and Jennifer.

Oscar winner DeNiro is joined by Oscar winner Christopher Walken, who plays Jack’s buddy Jerry. Other surprise cast members are Jane Seymour as Diane and Cheech Marin as Danny.  

  Rated PG  2 Stars

ON THE ROCKS

(in theaters now and online on Oct. 23)

  Set in New York, the new film written and directed by Sofia Coppola succeeds as an entertaining, sophisticated mix of comedy and drama.

Reuniting with her “Lost In Translation” (2003) star Bill Murray as Felix, Coppola gives viewers a treat in what one reviewer aptly calls “a champagne cocktail of a film.” Murray portrays a charming, aging playboy who is Laura’s (Rashida Jones) father.

Laura is the mother of two and a frustrated writer. She begins to wonder if her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) might be philandering.

Because Dean has been working extremely long hours with a newly hired attractive woman named Fiona (Jessica Henwick), Felix convinces Laura to snoop on Dean They embark on a sleuthing adventure which includes club hopping in Manhattan at spots such as the legendary “21.”

Rated R  3 Stars

TIME

(in theaters Oct. 9 and on Amazon Prime Oct. 16)

A stunning black and white documentary produced and directed by Garrett Bradley, “ Time” presents the compelling true story of Sibil Fox Richardson’s struggle to free her husband Rob from incarceration at the Louisiana State Penitentiary.

The mother of six boys manages to find ways to keep going even when she faces incredible obstacles such as the lawyer who charged her thousands of dollars and then did not ever try to get a hearing for Rob.

Although Rob did commit a bank robbery which garnered a 60-year sentence with no chance for parole, the punishment for this crime surpasses the norms for such an infraction. After serving 20 years, he remained locked up.

At first, the filmmaker planned a short movie until he received 18-years-worth of home videos from Sibil.

The riveting “Time” combines original footage with the videos for a heartrending story of what it was like to fight for justice, to be a boy without a father and how Sibil termined never to give up on hope and love.

   Rated PG-13

 3 and 1/2 Stars  

Alice Reese is a member of the Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association. She reviews movies, arts and  entertainment for the Herald-Banner and for KETR.

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