Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper finds his follow-up film Out of the Furnace in the neighborhood of Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter: literally, in the case of its central Pennsylvania steel-town setting, but also thematically.
Wartime as a setting does not automatically make a film “meaningful,” something that everyone failed to explain to Sergio Castellitto, whose inexplicable melodrama features more forehead-slapping moments than a screening of Showgirls.
[Grade:B+] In the most miraculous career resurrection not precipitated by Quentin Tarantino, Matthew McConaughey has abruptly transformed himself from half-forgotten shirtless rom-com himbo to an expertly sleazy, electrifying screen presence.
[Grade: B-] Considering that Markus Zusak's World War II-era bestseller is narrated by Death, it seems almost too demanding to hope for subtlety in Brian Percival's adaptation, with its yearning Masterpiece Theatre stares and tear-duct-attacking John Williams score.
[Grade: B] With its angry teen heroine (Saoirse Ronan) pining for an older, frequently shirtless boy (George MacKay) in an England riven by civil war, How I Live Now almost begs to be dismissed as a Hunger Games knockoff.
[Grade: B+] In following their son, Idris, and another black boy, Seun, into Manhattan’s storied Dalton School, the couple frame the film as an exploration of how race functions in the halls of the country’s elite institutions.
[Grade: B-] We're treated to a lot of silly yet charming Disney sports chemistry that comes from grouping together a dozen pre-teen oddballs as they Knuckle Puck and Flying V their way through zero-gravity combat simulation games.