The makers of the new musical drama about Jimi Hendrix, “Jimi: All Is By My side” took a potential obstacle — the Hendrix estate’s refusal to grant access to any of his music — and turned it into an opportunity. Writer-director John Ridley’s film focuses on the year before Hendrix exploded into superstardom, when he was still honing his persona and his sound in London. Andre Benjamin is ideally cast. I dug it. My RogerEbert.com review.
In a rigidly structured dystopian future, one plucky teenager dares to think for himself, shake up the status quo and start a revolution. This is a story that has never been told before! Actually, “The Maze Runner” distinguishes itself from the many other YA adaptations we’ve seen lately with a strong cast and a pleasingly low-tech aesthetic. But the ending is a disaster. My RogerEbert.com review.
Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig have tremendous chemistry as estranged siblings fumbling to reconnect after a decade apart. It’s an unusual dramatic film for them both — although there’s a great deal of twisted laughs in the mix — and the “Saturday Night Live” alumni rise to the challenge spectacularly. A rare rave from me at RogerEbert.com.
Documentarian Genevieve Bailey certainly means well with “I Am Eleven,” in which she interviews 11-year-old boys and girls from around the world on topics ranging from love and marriage to war and religion to culture and the environment. But she’s included so many kids and she skips around between them so quickly with so little context, the result feels frustratingly superficial. My RogerEbert.com review.
“Frontera” is a well-cast, well-made, well-acted drama that you will probably forget about soon after you’ve seen it. Ed Harris stars as a retired sheriff grieving the loss of his wife, who died mysteriously on the couple’s rugged property along the Arizona-Mexico border. Michael Pena co-stars as the immigrant who’s wrongly accused in her death. My mixed RogerEbert.com review.
Latvian-born artist Signe Baumane dares to trace the origins of her depression and suicidal urges throughout her family, and she does so through colorful animation and darkly humorous narration. Her film is both bold and exhausting, but Baumane’s candor is refreshing. My mixed RogerEbert.com review.
Chloe Grace Moretz’s grounded, naturalistic presence goes a long way toward making mushy material palatable. Director R.J. Cutler adapts the Gayle Forman young adult novel about a teenage girl trapped in an ethereal realm between life and death. Don’t even try to hold back the sobs. My RogerEbert.com review.
Aubrey Plaza is game as an adorable zombie who becomes increasingly ravenous in this initially clever comedy. But writer-director Jeff Baena, making his feature debut, presents some inspired ideas and scenarios that ultimately go nowhere. My mixed review, at RogerEbert.com.
Certainly you don’t go to a “Step Up” movie for the glittering repartee. But alas, one must endure banal dialogue and a flimsy plot in order to enjoy the gravity-defying, acrobatic extravaganzas. It’s enough to make you wish they’d called this fifth film in the franchise “Step Up and Shut Up.” My RogerEbert.com review.
With its feel-good themes about exotic food triumphing over closed-mindedness in a quaint French village, this is essentially a remake of “Chocolat” — and it happens to come from that film’s director, Lasse Hallstrom. Helen Mirren is the uptight owner of an elegant and esteemed French restaurant. Om Puri is the boisterous Indian patriarch who shakes things up when he moves into town and opens his own eatery right across the the street — and he uses spices! It’s “Chocolat 2: Electric Vindaloo.” My RogerEbert.com review.