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.
“Snatched” is the highest of high-concept comedies. Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer star as a polar-opposite mother and daughter who get kidnapped while reluctantly vacationing together in Ecuador. It’s a mismatched-buddy comedy. It’s a fish-out-of-water comedy. It’s a raucous girl-power comedy. But it’s not much more than a concept. My RogerEbert.com review.
This drama about a transgendered teen and her family in New York City has the best of intentions and a strong cast in Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon. But it skims the surface of an emotionally complicated topic and focuses on a romantic history that isn’t nearly as compelling. My RogerEbert.com review.
“Sleight” is an ambitious genre mash-up about a young street magician that pulls off a nifty bit of trickery itself. With his debut feature, director and co-writer J.D. Dillard deftly mixes intimate sci-fi thrills with dramatic, big-city dangers. Think “Chronicle” meets “Dope,” with a hugely charismatic lead performance from rising star Jacob Latimore. My RogerEbert.com review.
“Unforgettable” is what my mom would have called “good trash.” Like Sidney Sheldon novels. Its stars — Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl — know exactly what kind of movie they’re in, and they’re reveling in it. This sexual thriller isn’t exactly good, but I had a good time watching it. My RogerEbert.com review.
How you feel about Norman the character will determine how you feel about “Norman” the movie. Is he a shameless hustler? Or merely an overbearing yet well-intentioned mensch? And yet, in Richard Gere’s deft, veteran hands, would-be fixer Norman Oppenheimer is consistently, completely fascinating. It’s one of the best performances of Gere’s long and eclectic career. My RogerEbert.com review.