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Now Playing: ‘Insidious,’ ‘Family’ hit SF screens

Now Playing is a column dedicated to informing the great citizens of San Francisco what new movies — big and small — are coming to a theater near them.

‘Insidious: Chapter 2’

Plot: A sequel the beloved 2010 horror film, Insidious: Chapter 2 revolves around the Lambert family and their attempts to uncover the enigmatic link they have to the spirit world.

Info: Directed by James Wann (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring), starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Barbara Hershey. Written by Leigh Whannell, story by James Wann.

Theater: Wide release, in multiplexes around the country.

Critical response: For SFBay I wrote the following:

“Carelessly oscillating from past to present and consistently blurring the line between reality and fiction, Wan effectively establishes Insidious: Chapter 2 as not merely an incomprehensible piece of work, but a nearly unwatchable one.”

For a positive opinion, we look to Alonso Duralde of The Wrap:

“If you’re a fan of the post-Poltergeist shocks and scares offered up by the first Insidious, then you’ll be thrilled to hear that Chapter 2 manages to jolt and unsettle without merely repeating itself.”

‘The Family’

Plot: A notorious mobster family trying to change their criminal ways is relocated to Normandy, France under the witness protection program.

Info: Written and directed by Luc Besson (Nikita, The Fifth Element, Leon: The Professional), starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, and Tommy Lee Jones.

Theater: Wide release, in multiplexes around the country.

Critical response: Again, seek out our review of the film. Here’s an excerpt:

“The Family does an affable job turning morbidity into a breezy, comedic recycling of better mob movies.”

Adam Nayman of The Globe and Mail was a bit harsher in his review, stating:

“The casting of Robert De Niro as an ex-Mafioso hiding in witness protection is witty in only the silliest, most superficial way. It’s a joke with its own tinny, built-in laugh track.”

‘The Populaire’

Plot: With her romantic life in shambles, a young secretary who can type at lightning-speed competes around the world to prove she’s the best typist.

Info: Directed and written Régis Roinsard, starring Romain Duris, Féodor Atkine, and Déborah François.

Theater: Limited-release, Opera Plaza Cinema.

Critical response: At 73% on Rotten Tomatoes, critics are decidedly positive on a film about a budding typist. Keith Uhrlich of Time Out New York wrote:

“Even as the story goes everywhere-and I mean everywhere-you expect, the chemistry between these two inspires a gleefully goofball grin.”

More lukewarm to the film, Nathan Rabin of The Dissolve opined:

“A featherweight trifle held aloft by elegant production design, a breezy tone, and the enduring if superficial pleasures of watching beautiful people in beautiful costumes.”

Check back next week to read about what films to see and where to see them.

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