This week offers a little Oscar bait (with no bites), some multiplex horror trash, and a surprisingly well-reviewed action picture.
I’ll start with St. Vincent (64), with Bill Murray. Unless it’s Charlie’s Angels or Garfield, Murray is always a pleasure to watch, but mixing him with sentimentality, as this film seems to do, is not a good thing. Claudia Puig: “A film in which precocious kids say things real kids never would, and larcenous drunks come off as adorable.” Despite misgivings, I’ll probably see this.
The surprisingly well-reviewed movie is John Wick (67), which seems loaded with cliches but is getting high marks for its existential dread, and a strong if stoic performance by Keanu Reeves as a hit-man who is revenging his dog. James Rocchi: “Both ludicrous and ludicrously entertaining, John Wick’s stylish look, B-movie vibe and less-is-more, longer-takes-are-stronger-takes approach to action make it a standout.”
In the save it for Netflix category, we have Ouija (39), about the board. I had a Ouija board, never used it, and threw it out in my recent move. I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt me. Robert Abele: “The ghost scenario that this boring, CW-ready, “Scooby-Doo” gang uncovers isn’t nearly as shocking as the blasé attitude they have toward friends dying off.”
23 Blast (45), which I knew nothing about until typing this sentence, concerns a blind football player. Pass. Neil Genzlinger: “Although the film has moments when it’s serious about exploring the challenges that someone in Travis’s situation faces, it ultimately prefers to be just another football movie with a hokey big-game ending.”
Much more interesting seems Dear White People (79) an indie about race relations at a prestigious university. Ann Hornaday: “It’s true that satire is the perfect weapon of reason, and Justin Simien deploys it with resourcefulness, cool assurance and eagle-eyed aim.”