Upcoming Theatrical Releases
Director: Niki Caro
PG; 2 hr. 9 min.
From Disney comes MCFARLAND, the true against-all-odds story of the 1987 McFarland high school cross country team in an economically challenged community. (Synopsis by Disney)
Like many of Disney’s products, this is too concerned with being “on brand” than creating the necessary emotional resonance. While it is a beautiful and well-made film, it is so hokey that you can’t help but roll your eyes. Rent it.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Director: Steve Pink
R; 1 hr. 33 min.
When Lou finds himself in trouble, Nick and Jacob fire up the hot tub time machine in an attempt to get back to the past. But they inadvertently land in the future with Adam Jr. Now they have to alter the future in order to save the past – which is really the present. (Synopsis by Paramount)
The first film was equal parts dumb and fun. This looks like it only upped the dumb factor. Not available for critical review. If you liked the first film you shouldn’t be too disappointed. Rent it.
Director: Ari Sandel
PG-13; 1 hr. 41 min.
Bianca (Mae Whitman) is a content high school senior whose world is shattered when she learns the student body knows her as ‘The DUFF’ (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier, more popular friends (Skyler Samuels & Bianca Santos). Now, despite the words of caution from her favorite teacher (Ken Jeong), she puts aside the potential distraction of her crush, Toby (Nick Eversman), and enlists Wesley (Robbie Amell), a slick but charming jock, to help reinvent herself. To save her senior year from turning into a total disaster, Bianca must find the confidence to overthrow the school’s ruthless label maker Madison (Bella Thorne) and remind everyone that no matter what people look or act like, we are all someone’s DUFF. (Synopsis by CBS Films)
Check out Cliff’s review later this weekend.
Upcoming DVD Releases
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
R; 1 hr. 59 min.
BIRDMAN or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance is a black comedy that tells the story of an actor (Michael Keaton) – famous for portraying an iconic superhero – as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself. (Synopsis by Fox Searchlight)
Previously reviewed by The Dagger.
Dumb and Dumber To
Director: J.B. Rogers and Bobby Farrelly
PG-13; 1 hr. 49 min.
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reprise their signature roles as Lloyd and Harry in the sequel to the smash hit that took the physical comedy and kicked it in the nuts: Dumb and Dumber To. The original film’s directors, Peter and Bobby Farrelly, take Lloyd and Harry on a road trip to find a child Harry never knew he had and the responsibility neither should ever, ever be given. The Farrelly brothers produce Dumb and Dumber To alongside Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland of Red Granite Pictures. They are joined by fellow producers Charles B. Wessler and Bradley Thomas. Universal Pictures will distribute the film in the United States, Canada and select international territories. (Synopsis by Universal)
Part of the problem was that this sequel came too late. The comedy world has moved on from this trope, for better or worse. There are some good laughs here, but mostly this feels like everyone involved was trying too hard. Skip it.
Director: Theodore Melfi
PG-13; 1 hr. 43 min.
Maggie (McCarthy), a single mother, moves into a new home in Brooklyn with her 12-year old son, Oliver (Lieberher). Forced to work long hours, she has no choice but to leave Oliver in the care of their new neighbor, Vincent (Murray), a retired curmudgeon with a penchant for alcohol and gambling. An odd friendship soon blossoms between the improbable pair. Together with a pregnant stripper named Daka (Watts), Vincent brings Oliver along on all the stops that make up his daily routine – the race track, a strip club, and the local dive bar. Vincent helps Oliver grow to become a man, while Oliver begins to see in Vincent something that no one else is able to: a misunderstood man with a good heart. (Synopsis by Weinstein)
Previously reviewed by The Dagger.
The Theory of Everything
Director: James Marsh
PG-13; 2 hr. 3 min.
Starring Eddie Redmayne (“Les Misérables”) and Felicity Jones (“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”), this is the extraordinary story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Once a healthy, active young man, Hawking received an earth-shattering diagnosis at 21 years of age. With Jane fighting tirelessly by his side, Stephen embarks on his most ambitious scientific work, studying the very thing he now has precious little of – time. Together, they defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science, and achieving more than they could ever have dreamed. The film is based on the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, by Jane Hawking, and is directed by Academy Award winner James Marsh (“Man on Wire”). (Synopsis by Focus)
More a vignette about Hawking’s first wife than an examination of Hawking. While the science and the personal struggle of dealing with a debilitating disease aren’t the best movie material, there is still some disappointment in where the focus landed. It isn’t a bad movie, but largely a forgettable one as the most ambitious parts were cut away. See it.