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' The Incredible Burt Wonderstone'

2 1/2 stars = Average
Ratings explained

Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi play partners Burt and Anton in a wildly successful magic act in Vegas.

Their old-school act, however, loses fans and favor to street performer Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), a cable TV star with long, two-tone hair who specializes in reckless stunts more than true magic. When Burt and Anton, who grow to loathe each other, try to pull off a David Blaine-style feat of endurance, it backfires.

"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" charts what happens in this comedy that, like its leading magicians, is far from edgy. Much of it plays like a TV show at times, with Mr. Carrey's masochistic magician -- going for the record of not blinking or urinating, or doing something insanely dangerous -- a throwback to "In Living Color."

Having said that, "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" is cheesily enjoyable and sporadically funny, thanks to familiar acts (big cats, comedy, peevish partners, a superstar magician) or faces.

In addition to Mr. Carell, Mr. Buscemi and Mr. Carrey, the cast includes Olivia Wilde as Burt and Anton's reluctant assistant and the late James Gandolfini as a casino mogul whose patience wears thin as his magicians' act does.

-- Post-Gazette

' The Call'

2 stars = Mediocre
Ratings explained

Halle Berry, with a cloud of curls rather than her signature red-carpet hairstyle, plays Jordan Turner, a veteran emergency call center operator for the LAPD. She and her colleagues offer efficient, calm lifelines to the general public until police, ambulance, fire or other rescue crews can arrive.

One night, Jordan takes a call from a panicked teenager who is home alone when a prowler breaks in. Casey (Abigail Breslin) is kidnapped and stuffed in the trunk of a car.

"The Call" is at its best when Jordan has to use her wits to try to figure out where Casey is, who abducted her and how the girl can signal for help before it's too late.

When the movie closes in on the identity of the kidnapper and his twisted motivations and machinations, it jumps the rails and never returns. It turns from a taut, suspenseful story into a mix of cheap horror -- complete with a loner's pursuit for justice and Ms. Breslin, 16, being forced to play several scenes in a bra and jeans -- and an attempt to settle sadistic scores.

-- Post-Gazette


"CSI: NY: Ninth Season": The final season of the CBS procedural cop show includes 17 episodes, plus behind-the-scenes features and cast interviews.

"Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids: The Complete Series": The 15-DVD box set includes all 110 episodes, a 16-page book and the documentary "Hey, Hey, Hey. It's The Story Of Fat Albert."

"No": Story of the campaign behind the 1988 Chilean elections.

"Jack Taylor": Series based on the crime fiction by Ken Bruen and filmed on location against the rugged backdrop of western Ireland.

"A Place at the Table": A look at how hunger affects the nation.

"The Garfield Show: Pizza Dreams": The fat cat looks for a change in his diet.

"The North Face": Director Phillip Stölzl's look at the Swiss Alps' Eiger Mountain, also known as the "murder wall."

"Beauty and the Least": A slacker and a girl with a shocking past (Mischa Barton) find love and redemption.

"MADtv: Season Three": Late-night sketch comedy show starring Nicole Sullivan and Debra Wilson.

"Todd & The Book of Pure Evil": The second season of the series provides equal parts camp and gore.

-- Rick Bentley, McClatchy Newspapers


First Published June 27, 2013 4:00 AM


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