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A super sequel and a super flop

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The Incredibles 2

Reviews

THE INCREDIBLES 2. Sequels, remakes, reboots and "remaginings" of movies happen faster than any good soul can keep up. That's what makes the arrival of The Incredibles 2 so remarkable: Does it seem like a long time since the original — a wonderfully entertaining film — arrived on the scene, or is it you?

This time, for once, it's not you. It was 14 years ago. Your kid who loved it at the time and demanded to see it again and again may be in med school at this point. There has been a blitz of sequels to everything but not this one. Pixar takes its time. (Although they did, I noticed, make two uninteresting movies with talking cars in the interim.) Heck, Pixar even tacked on a 60-second or so live-action blip that you'll see after the trailers with the voice talent from the original all but apologizing for how long it took for a new installment.

But jeez, it's OK, folks — we had plenty going on in the meantime. And what made The Incredibles so original, so funny, so fairly well thought-out, remains intact without losing any speed. To refresh: In the original, "supers" Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) had to take cover, along with their superhero-power-endowed children, as an ordinary family. Before long, they were called out of that cover to fight evil or at least near-evil, as the drill goes. At the start of The Incredibles 2 we're in the opposite situation. Superheroes do tend to cause a lot of damage to landmarks, office buildings, public infrastructure and the like, so the pair must return to being Bob and Helen Parr, along with children Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack, until further notice.

Director Brad Bird came out of the world of The Simpsons and also helmed the criminally underseen family classic The Iron Giant before knocking out the original Incredibles. There are kicky developments here: The enticement back to superhero-dom comes from a friendly seeming, charming tycoon Winston Deaver (Bob Odenkirk) and anyone who's seen any movie ever knows that's a red flag. He's in the telecommunications industry (bigger red flag), plus he's in this making-the-world-better scheme with his sister Evelyn. Seriously, has a friendly brother and sister duo ever turned out on the good side in any movie since 1922 or so? Odenkirk is great as the brother — just imagine him as Mark Zuckerberg — and Catherine Keener is even better as, well, if M-Zuck had a much smarter sister.

But it's all jolly fun. Elastigirl is lured into high-profile work as a superhero that reminds her of the good old days, which leads to plenty of dad-related comedy back home, as her husband can't quite deal with three kids and their mayhem. Some new superpowers are also developed and, very importantly, the ever-droll and brilliant Sarah Vowell reprises her role as snaky teenage daughter Violet, who really does have the best superpower of all. Forgotten what it is after 14 years? Eh, you probably haven't. But either way, you may have to see how she puts it in action. PG. 118m. BROADWAY, MILL CREEK, MINOR, FORTUNA.

SUPERFLY. The sometimes sort of muddled but occasionally pretty amazing early 1970s movie genre that was Blaxploitation hasn't been fully mined by Hollywood's remake machine. John Singleton did it years back with Shaft, but the whole genre itself belonged to such a weirdly evolving time in B-movies that it's hard to think of someone taking another crack at The Mack or Dolomite.

However, 1972's Super Fly was a small classic of the whole period. It had an amazing Curtis Mayfield soundtrack that's remembered far better than the movie itself. Nevertheless, it's a great artifact of big-city time and place in the same way that Saturday Night Fever is and it has a cult following. But here, things don't ever quite come together. There's the same story, switched from 1970s Harlem to modern Atlanta, about mostly criminal Youngblood Priest (a good performance by Trevor Jackson) coming to terms with his life. He wants out and he wants a single last score to pad what has been an increasingly legit life in Atlanta, one with all kinds of opportunities, including being a partner in an art gallery with his girlfriend Georgia (Lex Scott Davis, adept in a role not written to be anything interesting).

Superfly never goes anywhere new and wastes its time — along with a few good actors, like Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire) — getting where it's trying to go. There's lots of flash and hints of sleaze and menace, but it ultimately leans on those to end up effectively nowhere. R. 107m. BROADWAY, MILL CREEK.

— David Jervis

See listings at www.northcoastjournal.com or call: Broadway Cinema 443-3456; Fortuna Theatre 725-2121; Mill Creek Cinema 839-3456; Minor Theatre 822-3456; Richards' Goat Miniplex 630-5000.

Previews

DIRTY DANCING (1987). Nobody puts Swayze in the corner. PG13. 100m. BROADWAY.

FIRST REFORMED. Ethan Hawke plays a priest with problems hiding his own secrets and those of a radicalized member of his flock. With Amanda Seyfried and Cedric the Entertainer. R. 113m. MINOR.

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM. The dinosaurs are loose again, I guess? Jeff Goldblum presides over Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. PG13. 128m. MINOR.

Continuing

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. Seriousness suffocates the best of this parade of characters in this massive supermovie. PG13. 149m. BROADWAY.

THE CHINA HUSTLE. Documentary about a post-mortgage crisis Wall Street scam that will make you stuff your money in a mattress. R. 82m. MINIPLEX.

DEADPOOL 2. Ryan Reynolds in his destined role with a better story, action and jokes. It's almost fun, kind and rough enough to make you forget it's spawn of the Marvel juggernaut. R. 113m. BROADWAY.

HEREDITARY. Toni Collette's tour de force performance is nearly as scary as the horrors in this brilliantly low-tech occult movie about a family isolated from each other by guilt and grief. R. 127m. BROADWAY, MINOR.

OCEAN'S 8. Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett lead an all-star team of cool lady crooks on a heist at the Met Gala in this slower but still fun spin-off. PG13. 110m. BROADWAY, FORTUNA, MILL CREEK.

RBG. Documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the U.S. Supreme Court justice in the fly collar. PG. 97m. MINIPLEX.

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY. A fun if trivial prequel with solid action sequences, winking callbacks, Han and Chewbacca (Alden Ehrenreich, Joonas Suotama) bonding and a cheekier Lando (Donald Glover). PG13. 135m. BROADWAY, MILL CREEK.

TAG. School chums go hard on an annual game of tag. Starring Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner. R. 93m. FORTUNA.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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David Jervis

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