Sam Elliott is Sam Elliott as Sam Elliott in “The Hero,” a sentimental and sporadically effective celebration of the veteran character actor. Director and co-writer Brett Haley is clearly aware that this dude is iconic, placing Elliott front and center for a rare leading role. But while it’s a pleasure to luxuriate in the silver-haired 72-year-old’s distinctively handsome features and deeply resonant voice, there’s not much to the character he plays or the story that surrounds him. My RogerEbert.com review.
“Vincent N Roxxy” is a nasty little piece of B-movie trash that lacks both the verve to grab you as a guilty pleasure and the artistry to be taken seriously as a dramatic thriller. It wastes talented actors who usually have a welcome presence on screen — Emile Hirsch, Zoe Kravitz, Emory Cohen and Zoey Deutch — in barely-there, go-nowhere roles. And it takes place in a thoroughly unpleasant slab of small-town Louisiana populated by idiot lowlifes whose primary characteristics are chain smoking and bad tattoos. My one-star RogerEbert.com review.
“Berlin Syndrome” will make you question any wanderlust-inspired notions you may have of traveling alone to a foreign country on a quest for self-discovery. Australian director Cate Shortland creates a dreamlike sense of place within a nightmare scenario with this taut and strongly acted thriller. And Teresa Palmer works wonders in what is often a solitary and wordless role. My RogerEbert.com review.
You’ll never know how good the first three “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” movies were until you’re forced to see the fourth one. And I say this as someone who has seen all the movies — and read all the books — with my 7-year-old son. We’re both fans of the series. But this shrill reboot with an all-new cast never comes close to capturing author Jeff Kinney’s combination of humor and insight. My one-star RogerEbert.com review.
What a lovely surprise “Lowriders” is. It tells an age-old story of intergenerational conflict, but strong performances from a well-chosen cast and a vivid sense of place make it feel fresh. Set within the mythical Mexican-American car culture of East L.A., “Lowriders” is richly, culturally specific, yet its themes of regret and reconciliation, ambition and competition, love and loss are so universal, it’s easy to imagine the film having well-deserved crossover appeal. My RogerEbert.com review.