Weekend movies: Great reviews for “Mud,” mixed for “Pain & Gain,” no reviews for “Big Wedding”

gainMichael Bay has been saying his “Low budget” comedy “Pain & Gain,” a sometimes gory account of dopey doped up Miami bodybuilders who kidnap a shady businessman and torture him into signing over his fortune, only cost $26 million.

Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Tony Shalhoub and Rob Corddry star in it. So no, it had to cost more than that.

A true story, Bay spares us no grim moment of violence in between the often hilarious bits about clueless crooks showing their cluelessness. He lacks the light touch that might have made this thing sing. Not terrible, but hard to watch at times, like Michael Bay’s version of “Blow.” Mixed reviews for that one.

“At Any Price” is an over-long, melodramatically ambitious family story of two generations (Dennis Quaid, Zac Efron) of farmers taking shortcuts in a win-at-all-costs culture. It’s from the director of “Goodbye, Solo,” so it has great performances and a fine sensibility about it, though things go somewhat over the top at times.

“Mud,” one of the best films at this year’s Florida Film Festival and maybe the best film of this still-young year, opens at The Enzian and in theaters all over the country Friday. Great performances by two kids who find this romantic but dangerous drifter (Matthew McConaughey) living in an abandoned boat. Nice work by assorted supporting players. Reese Witherspoon shows off her Britney-Trashy side as the woman the drifter is chasing. Southern Gothic, and very good– great reviews — for that one.

Lionsgate, which made its name on cut-rate horror, trots out a new logo and a new ethos with “The Big Wedding,” an all-star wedding comedy that is unlike most anything else they’ve ever released. But they embargoed reviews and neglected to show it early enough to gin up any pre-release interest in it from critics, crippling its chances of finding an audience (it’s got some laughs). Perhaps its time Lionsgate put on its big boy pants and let its movies stand up to the same scrutiny every other studio endures.

“Arthur Newman” goes into limited release Friday. Not bad, but a meandering sort of melancholy road-trip romance that is earning weak reviews, overall. Colin Firth and Emily Blunt are quite good in it, which is to be expected.

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