Movie-O-Meter: Our Take On Lucy, A Most Wanted Man, Happy Christmas, and More

Capsule reviews of the weekend’s new movie releases. Should you see it, wait for DVD, or skit it altogether? We give you the goods (and oh-so-terribles) below.


Lucy: Luc Besson’s bugnuts quasi-action-thriller-cum-time-and-space-meditation stars Scarlett as a student living in Taipei who gets embroiled in a nasty Asian drug cartel and accidentally ingests an enormous amount of a synthetic drug that allows her to access up to 100 percent of her brain capacity. It’s not a great action flick, and it’s pretty silly as anything more serious, but somehow his energy—and Johansson’s powerful performance—make it more than the idiotic sum of its parts. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%

A Most Wanted Man: A clever suspense thriller with a strong international cast and a director, Anton Corbijn, who specializes in gripping character studies (among other things, he directed The American.) It marks the last complete feature work of Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Hunger Games‘ concluding film was only half-finished at the time of his death in February), which is more than worth the price of admission in our book. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Happy Christmas: We’ve been unabashed big fans of Joe Swanberg since the early days, so last year’s terrific Drinking Buddies was no big surprise. The latest film from the prolific Mr. Swanberg involves Anna Kendrick as a hard-partying gadabout, who’s forced to move in with her uptight sister and brother-in-law after a bad breakup. Her presence disrupts the measured family life therein by dating the babysitter (Mark Webber), and hanging out with an equally abrasive friend (Lena Dunham.) It might sound a little sit-commy, but in Swanberg’s measured style, almost anything can work. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Boyhood: Easily one of the most-anticipated films of the summer by film critics and indie fans since its debut at Sundance this past January. Richard Linklater’s concept film was shot over the course of some 12 years, chronicling the childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood of one boy, Mason (Eller Coltrane), as he navigates the difficult and confusing waters of growing up with two loving-but-divorced parents (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette)Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%


Wish I Was Here: At this point, you know what you’re getting with a Zach Braff vehicle—creative, vaguely amusing bits wrapped around a mopey male character. He wrote, directed and stars in this installment, about a wanna-be actor whose marriage to his dutiful but frigid wife (Kate Hudson) is turning sour, and whose father (Mandy Patinkin) is dying of cancer. There are some serious, dramatic scenes that work surprisingly well, but they are scattered amidst a field of twee details, fantasy sequences, and lots of preciousness. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 43%

The Fluffy Movie: We admit to knowing absolutely nothing about Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, nor his comic stylings, and there aren’t enough reviews yet on RT to help guide us, but short of the trio of Richard Pryor’s standup films, we’d be hard-pressed to conjure any comedian for whom we’d pay full ticket price to watch a concert film. And that includes Louis C.K. Even if Fluffy is staggeringly brilliant, there would presumably be very little lost checking him out in the comfort of your pajamas. Rotten Tomatoes Score: n/a

Hercules: So, this is the week we’re admitting the heavy artillery, evidently. Let us say, for the record, we are absolutely no fans of director Bret Ratner, who, in our estimation, has been a hack from the giddyup, but with a cast that includes Ian McShane, Joseph Fiennes (remember him?), Rufus Sewell and, of course, The freaking Rock, this is fun despite it’s unfortunate helmsman. Besides, it’s summer: #yolo. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%


And So It Goes: A dreary rom-com from director Rob Reiner, who seems to have completely been out to lunch for most of the past two and a half decades. The film stars Michael Douglas and the inexhaustible Diane Keaton as his mismatched neighbor who is joined by his desperation when a granddaughter he never knew existed is dropped on his doorstep. We’re always glad to see Keaton get steady work, but we wish it weren’t always in service to such a gaggle of total jackassesRotten Tomatoes Score: 40%

I Origins: It’s certainly earnest, if such things count to you, but Mike Cahill’s philosophical treatise about the scientific possibility of reincarnation asks that you care deeply about a loving couple of scientist protagonists (Michael Pitt and Brit Marling), and the lost love of the former (Astrid Bergés-Frisbey), who seem to possess little in the way of emotional vitality or depth. It’s not an awful experience, but it’s certainly not a richly satisfying emotional one either. It means well, but despite its pretentions, it’s a pretty empty vessel. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 49%

Correction: We listed the brilliant Boyhood as opening in Philly last Friday, when, in fact, it opens this Friday. We regret the confusion, but stand behind our rave review of the film.