James Bond and Charlie Brown. I don’t know how many times those names have been typed together in a sentence, but it’s at least once now, as they dominate this week’s openings.
Bond is back in Spectre (60), the 24th, depending on how you’re counting, Bond film. Getting mixed reviews, and seems a step down from the best Daniel Craig Bond films. Christoph Waltz is the villain. Apparenlty this will be Craig’s last turn as 007. Mike Scott: “Granted, there’s comfort to be found in the familiarity of Mendes’ film, which makes an effort to look back while also advancing the series. But there’s a fine line between paying homage to the past and merely repeating it…. Spectre often crosses that line.”
Good ol’ Charlie Brown is featured in The Peanuts Movie (67), which is the first feature-length Peanuts film in about forty years. It’s a little weird to see them in computer animation, but from what I’ve read there’s nothing radical about the story, and those that grew up with Peanuts will see the usual: Lucy and the football, the Red Baron, the Little Red-haired Girl, etc. I don’t know if kids today are as enamored with Peanuts as past generations were–I was a devoted reader of the comic strip when I was a kid, which tots of today don’t have. Mark Olsen: “The movie is pleasant and charming, but when making a big-screen adaptation of a beloved classic and genuine touchstone for generations, adequate doesn’t feel like quite enough.”
Suffragette (67) was on many radar screens for Oscar nominations, but apparently it’s just not that good. Starring a host of actresses, it’s about the fight for the women’s vote in England, and may suffer from too many good intentions and not enough quality. Peter Rainer: “Gavron’s conventional approach to the material compares unfavorably to the newsreels and stills of the actual suffragettes that close out the film. The harsh reality comes through in that footage in a way that the film as a whole only approaches in bits and pieces.”
Miss You Already (57) stars Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette as life-long friends. Seems suspiciously similar to Beaches. Tim Robey: “The film could have done with a richer sense of what Milly and Jess really see in each other. It’s as if Barrymore and Collette have been flung into this relationship unprepared, and must hustle to suggest there’s much of a history.”