“Going in Style” is a crowd-pleasing comedy that wisely showcases its seniors.
When you have leads like Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin, your movie is going to be chock full of good humor and charm. Director Zach Braff wisely lets them dominate his film and their sophisticated appeal keeps us vested in every minute of it, even if Theodore Melfi’s script about put-upon seniors robbing a bank sometimes aims lower. This remake of Martin Brest’s melancholy character study from 1979 has been turned into more of a caper comedy, but the shift makes sense given that our national economy is still smarting from the 2008 crash. Some of the jokes, as well as many of Braff’s comedic instincts, are too broad. Still, his lovable stars more than make up for the film’s faults.
“Smurfs: The Lost Village” looks great but lacks an equally great story.
You don’t have to take Jeff’s word for it. 14-year-old YouTube film critic Eric Hardman agrees, and he knows more about movies than most of us. Hollywood has given the Smurfs the proverbial reboot and every penny of its reported $60mill budget is up there on the screen with its vivid production design. If only the storytelling was given as much attention. While the Smurf characters have their charms, and the vocals of stars Mandy Patinkin, Demi Lovato and Jack McBrayer are strong, the film’s narrative gets bogged down by kid movie clichés, hoary blue word play, and exhaustingly frenetic action. If only the show stopped to breathe occasionally. Worse yet, the treatment of its lead Smurfette skirts too close to sexism. It’s enough to make even a Smurf turn red from embarrassment.
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