new movies

‘Creed II’ Sequel Doesn’t Deliver Same Punch as Original Film

Dwight Brown

Audiences will wish that this fight film started with an explosion. It doesn’t. The footage rolls, the plot is disseminated and the mundane, everyday drama on view goes on for way too long. For a boxing movie, a lack of action is the kiss of death, and little of note arises until Act III. The languid pacing will leave audiences tapping their toes collectively and waiting for an adrenaline injection. 

‘Ocean’s 8’: The Art of Scamming in NYC

Anne Branigin

Ocean’s 8, in theaters Friday, takes scamming to the next level, adding another chapter to the Ocean’s franchise, which originated in 1960 with Sinatra as Danny Ocean. Three more Ocean’s films, starting with Ocean’s 11 in 2001, revolved around the debonair Ocean (played by George Clooney) and his motley crew of scammers and con artists, each operating like cogs in a well-oiled machine, to pull off improbable and glamorous scams. Ocean’s 8 riffs on the same formula, this time with Danny’s sister at the center. 

‘Pride,’ ‘The Good Lie’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Canadian director Philippe Falardeau’s feature film about the Lost Boys of Sudan is a predictable yet thoroughly enjoyable tale about perseverance, love and humanity’s odd bilateral nature. The movie starts in Sudan where a number of youth are displaced after their parents are murdered during the second Sudanese civil war. Alone and desperate to survive, they begin a long and dangerous march to Kenya. 

Maleficent,’ ‘Hercules’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

In truth, “Maleficent” is a winner no matter how one feels about “Sleeping Beauty.” A viewer could conceivably enjoy the film without even watching the original, but it’s definitely more fun for the acquainted. Familiarity with the cartoon allows viewers to contrast pre-existing impressions of Maleficent against those generated by the new picture, and that makes things interesting from an academic standpoint. 

‘Edge of Tomorrow,’ ‘Million Dollar Arm’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Time travel movies are tricky, but director Doug Liman has delivered a science-fiction gem with “Edge of Tomorrow,” a fast-paced, action-heavy affair that plays like a mash up of “Groundhog Day” and “War of the Worlds.”  The picture is set in a near future where frightening, tentacular creatures have launched an all-out assault on Earth. Just when it looks like the alien beings are invincible, Sgt. Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) leads humanity to an impressive victory using a heavily armed exoskeleton.  

‘Life of Crime’ Boasts a Splendid Cast, But Slow-Paced Plot

Angelo Franco

In a timely fashion, Life of Crime opens to pay homage to Elmore Leonard’s vast collection of crime fiction and the many adaptations they have spawned.  The film, which first screened at last year’s Toronto Film Festival days after Leonard’s death, relies on a fitting cast and a script that rarely deviates from Leonard’s original dialogue.  Perhaps the truest adaptation to one of the author’s novels, Life of Crime starts off sardonic but pleasing and gets you hooked right away.  But then it dozes off for most of its hour and half runtime before it wraps itself nicely with a bow on top. 

‘Divergent,’ ‘Oculus’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

The plotting of the book and movie centers on Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Shailene Woodley), a teenager who must choose her place in society. In her world, it is customary for youth to be tested for various personality traits, then asked to devote themselves to one of five related factions. When Tris’ test indicates that she could fit into several of these groupings, she is warned to keep quiet. 

Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche Wage an Artistic War in ‘Words and Pictures’

Tara Taghizadeh

While the tug-of-war between art versus language serves as a backdrop for the film, the real story is Jack’s tenure as teacher and the danger he faces from the board for losing his job. There are teachers and administrators who side with him and praise his teaching skills, and those who would rather see him go. In the midst of his midlife crisis and his continuous efforts to combat alcoholism, we witness a budding (and surprising) romance between him and Dina.

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