Matthew Lickona 4 p.m., Feb. 17
Ron Howard, bloodied by the flopping of Cinderella Man but apparently unbowed, returns to the based-on-a-true-story sports movie. Here, he's gone to exotic, fleshy '70s Europe and the world of Formula One, where every race carries with it a 20 percent chance of death. Beautiful, brash British bad-boy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) is pitted against his analytical, awkward Austrian automaton arch-rival Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl). Neither is very appealing, which makes their rivalry more interesting but less compelling. While Hunt's grand flirtation with the Reaper is understandable, It's never quite clear why Lauda races - at one point, he says he'd do something else if he could. So naturally, he's the one who suffers, even if he might be the better racer. The whole thing looks great; sadly, Howard can't help but make his characters spell things out for anyone who's missed the point. Not very European. 2013.
- http://www.sandiegoreader.com/movies/rush-2/ • September 28, 2013