American Ultra posits a mildly amusing premise -- what if a stoned-out slacker found out he was Jason Bourne? -- and turns it into ninety or so minutes of filmmaking that are probably a lot more engaging than they have any right to be.
We take our mentors where we find them in life, though it's not always apparent who's teaching who. That's the case in Learning to Drive, a comic drama by Isabel Coixet that offers beautifully matched performances by Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley.
Of the core trio of actors, all three deliver. While's O'Shea Jackson Jr.'s relative newness to acting is evident at times, he has an undeniable screen presence that, coupled with his uncanny resemblance to his pop, manages to do a lot of the lifting.
I tend to blow hot and cold on the films of Noah Baumbach though, truthfully, more hot than cold. But I draw the line at his collaborations with Greta Gerwig, who may be the most overrated (or at least most overemployed) actor of her generation.
Straight Outta Compton isn't some chump change indie movie about the rap group NWA. Nor is it a should-have-gone-straight-to-DVD after-thought about hip-hop culture. This is an Oscar-caliber film. This movie is a monster. It's big!
Directed by Josh Trank, who made such a splash with Chronicle a few years ago, this latest Fantastic Four works so hard to go so far off-model that one wonders why they bothered at all if what they were going to end up with was so numbingly unoriginal.
Nearly two decades out, Ethan Hunt has become the star's signature role, and at 53, the indefatigable action hero hasn't lost a step as he runs, jumps, rides and drives from eye-popping set piece to the next with both will and skill.
Inside Out is a great movie for kids and families to see together. It's especially apt for kids whose parents have gone through a divorce. Much like Riley's struggle to adapt to a new city, kids who have experienced divorce will know what it's like to manage big life changes.
It's just aggressively mediocre, and pretty much vanishes from your brainpan as soon as the credits start rolling and you've hit your mental "reset" button on your way out the door. In that sense, I guess it fits right in with the extensive oeuvre of star Adam Sandler.
This project started with actress/producer Viola Davis and screenwriter Pat Gilfillan who spent two years interviewing mothers of murdered children to prep for the script. Davis and co-star Jennifer Lopez worked together originally on the film Out of Sight back in 1998.
I believe comic-book movies -- and the overweening Comic-Con mentality that has consumed the Hollywood studios -- are strangling the movie industry, in part because these movies are so generic. Which may be why I enjoyed Ant-Man so much.
Right around the point where the titular heroes were laying waste to seemingly endless hordes of robotic drones, with laser beams and rubble and wreckage flying hither and thither, I realized I was having a real hard time staying interested in any of what was happening.
To my mind, Trainwreck is both a very funny movie -- and yet another example of Apatow's inability to edit himself. Like every movie he's made, this one has several big laughs -- and could easily be 20 minutes shorter.
The idea of human consciousness going mobile is an intriguing one: What if you could actually trade minds with another person? That's the premise of Self/less, a disappointing mind-transfer tale notable for its performances if not its dramaturgy.
At one point in this sweet gem of a documentary, two tap dancers from different parts of the world define the joy and philosophy of tap dancing: "Dance to express, not to impress" says Chloe Arnold of the U.S. "I dance, therefore I am," states Arthur Benhamou of Paris.