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‘Alan Partridge’ cracks up, ‘Oculus’ dizzies and ‘Rob the Mob’ loses interest

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Among the new movies that were released Friday, April 11 are a comedy about a hostage situation at a radio station, a supernatural thriller about a haunted mirror and a crime dramedy about a Queens couple that takes on the mafia.

Alan Partridge

Steve Coogan plays a DJ whose radio station is taken over by a new media conglomerate, setting in motion a chain of events which see him having to work with the police to defuse a potentially violent siege. (R - 90 minutes)

Alan Partridge,” a feature-length version of a bit that has been a hit for about 20 years over in the U.K., is the perfect vehicle to showcase star Steve Coogan’s incredible wit. The new comedy’s dry, over-the-top sense of humor will leave you in stitches regardless of your familiarity with the character for which it is titled. Moreover, the movie’s soundtrack is simply spectacular, using certain songs for comic crescendo and others for some surprising sentimentality. A few physical gags will have you laughing out loud but, in the end, it is the rapid-fire one-liners for which this flick will be known. (Thumbs Up!)

Oculus

Karen Gillan plays a woman who tries to exonerate her brother, who was convicted of murder, by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon. (R - 105 minutes)

Crisscrossing timelines and warring states of consciousness make “Oculus” a dizzying nightmare of a motion picture. The new supernatural thriller borders on boredom for much of its runtime as viewers can never quite get a firm grasp on what is real and what is merely a figment of the characters’ imagination as induced by an enigmatic mirror. Perhaps that is the point but it still does not make for a very pleasant experience. Moreover, the movie is almost completely absent of any significant scares whatsoever while star Karen Gillan gives an annoyingly over-the-top performance that will have your eyes rolling in their sockets. (Thumbs Down!)

Rob the Mob

Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda play a Queens couple that, specializing in robbing mafia social clubs, stumbles upon a score bigger than they could ever imagine and becomes a target of both the mob and the FBI in the process. (R - 94 minutes)

Had “Rob the Mob” focused on its two Bonnie-and-Clyde-esque lead characters played so dynamically by Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda and maintained a comedic tone from beginning to end, it could have been quite the captivating flick. However, after about a half an hour or so of entertainment during which its stars draw us in with amateurish stick-ups lined with laughs, the new motion picture develops an increasingly more dramatic approach while adding several subplots and supporting characters causing its initial charm to become completely lost in the process - along with our attention. (Thumbs Down!)

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