Great Godfrey Daniels! What did humanity do to deserve the pathetic opening week that is now?
The DUFF (55), which is neither a biography of Hillary Duff or the former MTV VJ, seems like something I might watch at 3 AM on HBO when I can’t sleep. I’m certainly not getting in my car and driving someplace and paying cash for it. An actress named Mae Whitman is getting high marks for it, though. Sheri Linden: “More a middle-of-the-road rom-com than a teen-spirit sendup, the pic weaves its lighthearted mix of silly and serious with increasingly heavy-handed spiels on self-esteem.”
Unnecessary pic of the week: Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (30). I loathed the first one, so will only see the second if tortured. Billy Goodykoontz: “Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is a movie that didn’t need to be made, and certainly doesn’t need to be seen — not when you can rent the original and still feel good about yourself afterward.”
McFarland, USA (60) is getting fair reviews, but I was totally turned off by the trailer, which has Kevin Costner once again trying to patch things up between the races, this time as a coach of a poor Latino cross-country team. Justin Chang: “A rare studio entertainment featuring a largely Latino ensemble, yet necessarily fronted by a big-name draw like Costner, McFarland, USA feels at once mildly progressive and unavoidably retrograde.”
The movie I hope to see is Mr. Turner (94), Mike Leigh’s take on British painter (and apparently unpleasant person) J.M.W. Turner, played by Timothy Spall. I’ve seen almost all of Leigh’s films for the past 25 years, and while I haven’t loved them all I’ve never been bored by one. Liam Lacey: “Performances are still the heart of Leigh’s work, and at the heart of this film is an extraordinary performance by Leigh’s frequent collaborator, the British actor Timothy Spall.”