Movie Review: "Magic Mike XXL" C June 30, 2015
True to its title, "Magic Mike XXL" is indeed bigger than "Magic Mike," in the sense that it's five minutes longer. Everything else about it is smaller. It's not as funny or engaging as its predecessor, it has almost no storyline, no character development, and it features less nudity (not usually a point worth mentioning, but these are movies about strippers). It alternates between pandering to its target audience of straight women, and just boring them.
Movie Review: "Inside Out" B+ June 19, 2015
When the Pixar wizards are at their best, they create films that are complex and thoughtful yet also, magically, hilarious and kid-friendly. We've stopped being amazed at how deftly they weave mature ideas into their candy-colored fantasies, simply because it keeps on happening, film after film.
Movie Review: "Balls Out" B- June 18, 2015
[In theaters and Video on Demand.]
Movie Review: "The Overnight" B June 18, 2015
If there's any message or insight to be gained from "The Overnight," anything that the characters learned about themselves or that might lead us to our own personal epiphanies, I failed to grasp it. This is not necessarily a criticism, merely an observation. Even as sex comedies go, this one is slight, an 80-minute, four-character lark about a normal married couple who meet an eccentric married couple and are unsettled by their eccentricity. That's basically it.
Movie Review: "Madame Bovary" B June 12, 2015
There have been many film versions of Gustave Flaubert's 1856 novel "Madame Bovary," but this is the first one directed by a woman, French-born Sophie Barthes ("Cold Souls"), who wrote the adaptation with Rose Barreneche. Perhaps fittingly, and certainly to the movie's advantage, Barthes and Barreneche excised the parts of the book that focused on the husband, making Madame Bovary the exclusive heroine and telling her story with a certain feminine sympathy.
Movie Review: "Heaven Knows What" B June 12, 2015
When the opening credits roll in "Heaven Knows What," the main character, a New York City street junkie named Harley (Arielle Holmes), has already slit her wrists. Things get better for her after that, but not much.
Movie Review: "Jurassic World" B- June 12, 2015
I have no problem believing that the theme park John Hammond envisioned in the original "Jurassic Park" would eventually open despite what happened in "Jurassic Park." Sure, you'd think they'd have learned their lesson -- but no, actually, you wouldn't think that. As a society, we don't learn lessons very quickly, especially not when there's profit to be made from not learning.
Movie Review: "Insidious Chapter 3" C June 11, 2015
The law of diminishing returns is in full effect with "Insidious: Chapter 3," a mediocre follow-up to the half-decent sequel to the quite-good 2011 horror flick.
Movie Review: "Spy" B+ June 5, 2015
Despite having almost literally the most generic title it could possibly have, "Spy" is a dizzyingly funny espionage comedy, with a non-farcical, non-spoof plot that works on a straightforward level, too. With several very funny performances and some memorable dialogue, it's almost beside the point that, oh yeah, it happens to star a woman.
Movie Review: "Wild Horses" B June 5, 2015
Robert Duvall has settled nicely into the Lovable Old Coot phase of his career, but he doesn't seem to be slowing down. The 84-year-old living legend wrote, directed, and stars in "Wild Horses," a sturdy Texas-set drama about an old rancher settling his affairs at the end of his life. Duvall acquits himself well enough behind the camera, but it's his onscreen work that's most impressive. He gave himself a difficult role that requires him to be alternately grandfatherly and malicious, and darned if he isn't convincing both ways.