New Movies: ‘Hangover 2,' ‘Panda 2'

Herewith, a brief round-up of this weekend's opening flicks, and the conventional wisdom surrounding them. In descending order of awesomeness.

The Robber
The Story: A marathon runner leads a double life as a serial bank robber, until a new relationship begins to unravel his psyche.
The Skinny: Hey, an action flick that's actually designed for adults! Andreas Lust, as our compulsive criminal, is, apparently, spectacular, and the film ends in a thrilling chase scene that sounds like a winner for our money. Our main man Scott Ross at Popcorn Biz writes that the film "is a quiet, engrossing and delicate piece of filmmaking that occasionally explodes with action." Win-win?
Full Review: The Robber
Now Playing: Ritz at the Bourse
Complete the Experience: We can't help you with the bank robbing part, at least not since our last parole hearing, but if you want to go ahead and get started with your training for the Philadelphia Marathon, you have until November.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

Kung Fu Panda 2
The Story: A large, martial-arts master panda bear joins forces with a group of likewise-skilled animals to battle an albino peacock set on ruling the land.
The Skinny: In other sequel news (see The Hangover 2 piece below), apparently the good folks at Dreamworks actually bothered to write a whole new script for this next installment of the Jack Black-voiced lethal panda bear flick. Writes the erudite Stephen Rea at the Inky: "With its mix of vibrant CG and classical elements, the movie dazzles."
Full Review: Kung Fu Panda 2
Now Playing: AMC Cherry Hill
Complete the Experience: Bone up on your face-smashing skills at the Northern Shaolin Academy.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%

L'amour Fou
The Story: A documentary about the private life of fashion designer legend Yves Saint Laurent.
The Skinny: The film actually begins with Laurent's retirement from the fashion industry, and works its way backwards from there. Our main source of info is Saint-Laurent's partner of more than five decades, Pierre Bergé, who provides many of the insights into his famous lover's private life. Writes Sam Adams at the City Paper, even though the film is a "beautiful love story," its reliance on keeping to the surface of his life in the most honorable way it can leaves the film "little to do but stack up vague encomiums about Saint-Laurent's genius without exploring or explaining it."
Full Review: L'amour Fou
Now Playing: Ritz Five
Complete the Experience: For more insight into the minds of the fashion-conscious, check out Shop's Julie Davis' gallery of items in boutique owners' suitcases.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 54%

The Hangover 2
The Story: A group of friends in Thailand for a wedding wake up after an epic night in a sordid Bangkok hotel room and try to sort out what happened the night before.
The Skinny: Almost beat for beat, Todd Phillips and co. have made the exact same film as the smash-hit original. All they've done is substitute a scattering of the props (Bangkok for Vegas; a monkey for the baby; a different missing person, etc.), and thrown in a few different cameos (someone will have to explain to us just what in the hell Paul Giamatti is doing in this thing). And, for once, we're not alone on this thing. Writes the Inky's Carrie Rickey: " The first Hangover succeeded precisely because the characters were unfamiliar and unexpected. In the sequel, familiarity is comforting, but it is also the enemy of surprise."
Full Review: The Hangover 2
Now Playing: The Rave
Complete the Experience: For the prostitutes, crime and corruption of Bangkok, enjoy a far more refined Thai experience at Pad Thai.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 33% (though in the biggest disparity we can recall, the audience review meter is holding at 94%!)

Screen Grabs: The films you should drop everything to see, and the ones you should avoid like the plague.

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