Movie Revue: Demolition, The Boss, Hardcore Henry, Midnight Special, and more

Movie Revue: Demolition, The Boss, Hardcore Henry, Midnight Special, and more

Movie Revue is a collection of capsule reviews of some of the latest releases I’ve caught in theaters…

DEMOLITION. Jake Gyllenhaal continues his hot streak of impressive performances in director Jean-Marc Vallee’s follow-up to Wild.  This film employs similar editing tricks to play with time and memory, and while the story contains too many disparate elements to truly come together in the end, I still mostly enjoyed the journey.  Was reminded of Gyllenhaal’s own Moonlight Mile from a few years back in terms of themes and tone. Strikes several emotionally resonant beats, and is worth a watch for Gyllenhaal alone.  3/5

THE BOSS. Well, it’s better than Tammy. That may be faint praise, but at least I laughed a handful of times early on thanks to McCarthy’s undeniable gift of comic timing. The movie does what a loud, generic mainstream comedy is supposed to for about 45 minutes, but when the story kicks in, the rails start coming off and it just gets dumber as the jokes grow weaker. By the end, you’ll regret having spent the time to see this. Better off just waiting until Ghostbusters this summer to get your McCarthy fix.  1.5/5

HARDCORE HENRY. Video gamers will surely enjoy the non-stop, first-person action on display here. I was impressed with the filmmakers’ level of commitment to the conceit, and with the refreshing sense of humor sprinkled throughout (mostly due to Sharlto Copley and the ridiculous over-the-top violence), but Henry is a non-character with no personality. He’s just flailing arms, and, as nifty as some of the action stunt/camera work is, it’s also repetitive and eventually grinds you down.  Too juvenile, anarchic, and caffeinated for its own good.  2.5/5

EYE IN THE SKY. This drone warfare thriller takes its time setting up the characters and its central source of tension, but once it gets rolling, it ensnares the viewer and holds them in its grip until the end.  Sad, but nice to see Alan Rickman in a final role. Smart and laser-focused storytelling, this is a film that traffics in sentimentality without ever tipping the scales in one direction.  3.5/5

MILES AHEAD. Don Cheadle is wonderful as Miles Davis in this unorthodox biobic that he also co-wrote and directed.  Unfortunately, Cheadle (and the music) are really the only redeeming values. The decision to split the film into alternating time periods may prove occasionally illuminating, but doesn’t really add up to much in the way of entertainment value. You’d be better off picking up a book about Davis, or just listening to one of his albums. 2/5

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! This spiritual sequel to Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused succeeds in many of the same ways.  It’s charming and contains a large cast of likeable characters that are fun to hang out with, but the lack of story and meandering, lackadaisical vibe make everything arguably inessential. The lack of any meaningful female characters means it’s a real sausage fest too, which works against the film in comparison to Dazed.  But, Linklater’s affection for these characters, the music, and the time period win out.  3.5/5

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL. I can’t say I understood everything in writer-director Jeff Nichols’ latest, but I really dug the ’80’s-inflected sci-fi vibe here. Recalls movies like Starman and E.T., but through Nichols’ filter, which means there’s a lot left unexplained and slow, measured pacing. Michael Shannon is terrific, and there are a lot of wonderful sequences that truly stir the soul even when the brain is left wondering what just happened. 3.5/5

HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS. Sally Field is delightful in this slight, somewhat affecting comedy about an older woman’s crush on a younger co-worker (New Girl’s Max Greenfield). There aren’t a ton of laughs, but the amiable sweetness of the picture goes a long way. Field is all-but guaranteed a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Actress in a Comedy category. Surprisingly mature and tender film from Michael Showalter, who gave us Wet Hot American Summer. 3/5

Leave a comment