Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Available soon for home viewing
Black Butterfly ½* Directed by Brian Goodman. Outside a mountain town grappling with a series of abductions and murders, Paul (Antonio Banderas), a reclusive writer, struggles to start what he hopes will be a career-saving screenplay. After a tense encounter at a diner with a drifter named Jack (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), Paul offers Jack a place to stay-and soon the edgy, demanding Jack muscles his way into Paul's work. The movie communicates all of its empty-headed ideas idiotically, but still retains a knowing smugness regarding its intentions, like it’s pulling a rabbit out of a hat while acting like no one’s ever seen such a trick.
The Boss Baby ** Directed by Tom McGrath. A suit-wearing, briefcase-carrying baby pairs up with his 7-year old brother to stop a plot of the CEO of Puppy Co. Much like any child, even a supposedly surefire nugget of an idea requires careful nurturing. In this case, The Boss Baby often tries too hard and succeeds too little.
Ghost in the Shell *½ Directed by Rupert Sanders. In the near future, a woman (Scarlett Johansson) saved from a terrible crash is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world's most dangerous criminals. Director Sanders likes a dark palette and is good with actors, but there’s little here that feels personal, and he mostly functions as a blockbuster traffic cop, managing all the busily moving, conspicuously pricey parts.
Gifted **½ Directed by Marc Webb. A single man (Chris Evans) raising his child prodigy niece (McKenna Grace) is drawn into a custody battle with his mother. What’s in a child’s best interest? It depends on who’s answering the question, and that’s the crux of this movie.
Unforgettable *½ Directed by Denise Di Novi. A woman sets out to make life hell for her ex-husband's new fiancée. Both the director and the writer are women, but that doesn’t translate into a re-imagining of the tired formula.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage * Directed by D.J. Caruso. Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) is left for dead, though he secretly returns to action for a new, tough assignment with his handler (Samuel J. Jackson). Characters are simply triggers for the overwrought action sequences, though between the Edward Scissorhands editing and occasional wobbling background, even those are less than distinct.