Brett Ratner’s latest star-studded comedy is sure to bring in the green this weekend at the box office, but it’s not the only film opening today in theaters. Below get a sense of what else is out there by checking out the reviews published this week on indieWIRE and the blog network.
The measured vérité style of Frederick Wiseman meets the visual polish of Terrence Malick in “Dragonslayer,” a fascinating slice of crude Americana from first-time director Tristan Patterson. However, it stands alone with an infectious hard rock attitude.
The Playlist: B
Still, “Killing Bono,” despite its violent title, is zippy and light and fun (but not totally toothless), despite its narrative lapses and overlong running time. It doesn’t attempt to be all that insightful (and as any kind of band biography, it’s a bust), but it does illuminate the desperate thirst for artistic success that grip so many of us.
“The Last Rites of Joe May”
Dennis Farina’s washed-up hustler in “The Last Rites of Joe May” is designed in the mold of a classic movie star tough guy, but the veteran character actor’s performance also serves to disassemble that same archetype.
In Joe Maggio’s sharply-drawn “The Last Rites of Joe May,” Dennis Farina gives a stirring yet unsentimental performance as an aging, mob-connected Chicago crook who makes one of those heroic final gestures. (“Last” is right there in the title; you can’t be too surprised at the finality).
“The Other F Word”
In “The Other F Word,” Andrea Blaugrund Nevins’ ultra-cutesy and insightful documentary about aging punk rock icons mellowing into fatherhood, her subjects talk about the good old days as if they briefly opened a window into an impossibly hedonistic utopia.
The Playlist: C-
It’s hard to believe a documentary about punk musicians could be as lifeless and ultimately uninteresting as this, but we suppose there’s a first time for anything. A completely missed opportunity that only serves to indicate that someone needs to make a documentary about Flea, “The Other F Word” might leave you by the end credits thinking of that other F word.
“The Son of No One”
The main source of frustration over the failures of “Son of No One” involve its semi-tolerable premise, which Montiel fails to enliven with any kind of emotional legitimacy. He’s capable of presenting the rhythms of the old school cop drama with occasional élan, but nothing adds up. Tatum underacts and Pacino naturally overdoes it, delivering ham-fisted dialogue without a trace of irony. “You’re a deer in the jungle,” he tells the young Jonathan in a flashback.
The Playlist: D
Writer/director Dito Montiel, adapting his own crime novel of the same name, clearly has ambition but not a lot of talent is on display in this effort. For all its jam-packed plotting it feels adrift and rudderless, lost in a mess of clichés and convoluted editing.
It’s harder to imagine a meatier—and more wasted—ensemble than what Brett Ratner has at his disposal in “Tower Heist.”
The Playlist: B
Most “serious” film people tend to write off Ratner, but he’s a consummate entertainer who, while never striking for serious art, does well in the incredibly specific field of star-driven action comedies. (There’s a reason why he’s wanted to make a “Beverly Hills Cop” sequel for so long – because he’d be perfect for it). “Tower Heist” might be his most pleasurable film to date, one stocked with lively performances, occasionally thrilling set pieces, and a surge of populist outrage that makes it more timely and resonant than it has any right being.