Live by Night
The key question behind Live by Night isn’t so much “Why did they bother?” as “What went wrong?”
It is so hard to do a movie like this well. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" is a PG-rated comedy about the hero's first year of middle school, and it's nimble, bright and funny. It doesn't dumb down. It doesn't patronize. It knows something about human nature. It isn't as good as "A Christmas Story," as few movies are, but it deserves a place in the same sentence. Here is a family movie you don't need a family to enjoy. You must, however, have been a wimpy kid. Most kids are wimpy in their secret hearts. Those that never were grow up to be cage fighters.
Greg Heffley isn't the shortest student in his class. That would be Chirag Gupta. Greg (Zachary Gordon) is only the second shortest. He's at that crucial age when everybody else has started to grow. There's a funny slide show illustrating how his class looked in sixth grade, and how they look now -- some with mustaches. The girls of course are taller than the boys.
The onset of adolescence is an awkward age, made marginally easier for Greg because he still hasn't developed an interest in girls. Even his best friend Rowley (Robert Capron) is flattered to be noticed by a girl, and Rowley is so out of it, he thinks that at his age kids still "play," when, as we all know, they "hang."
The girl who notices Greg and Rowley is Angie (Chloe Moretz), who seems wise beyond her years. We first see her under the bleachers, reading Howl by Allen Ginsberg. Keep your eye on her in high school. She looks way older than her two new friends, but I checked, and Moretz was only 12 when she made the movie.