Based on the lives of English gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray (both played here by Tom Hardy), director Brian Helgeland’s film is as unengaging a crime drama as I can remember. I gave the film multiple chances but other than offer Hardy the chance to play dual roles the movie has nothing going for it. In terms of nuts and bolts, Legend is competently made but lacks the heart to make us care about either of the Kray brothers or those whose lives were effected by their choices.
Helgeland wastes a solid supporting cast (Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Christopher Eccleston, and Chazz Palminteri) on a story that doesn’t have much to say about gangsters we haven’t seen before. Legend isn’t an awful film, just a lifeless one (which in someways is actually worse than a truly awful film which can, on occasion, be entertaining for all the wrong reasons).
In his latest film writer/director Shane Black returns to a formula he knows well. Set in the 1970s, The Nice Guys delivers on the buddy-cop genre by pairing hired thug Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) with drunk private detective Holland March (Ryan Gosling) on a case involving a missing girl (Margaret Qualley), a murdered porn star (Murielle Telio), political activism, and the United States Justice Department.
X-Men: Apocalypse is a bloated film that wants more than anything to be epic in scale. Stuck with a ponderous first 45 minutes resetting up the world of the X-Men one decade after the events of X-Men: First Class (where apparently only some of our characters have actually aged) the movie has to spend far too much time catching us up on current events. With the script hamstrung by the need to properly introduce not only the movie’s villain Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), which means flashbacks to ancient Egypt, but also several new characters who will make up both Apocalypse’s Four Horseman (Olivia Munn, Ben Hardy, Alexandra Shipp) and the new version of the X-Men (Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Lana Condor) it takes quite some time before director Bryan Singer‘s movie gets on track.
With the resurrection of Apocalypse, who begins recruiting new mutants for his army, the movie begins in earnest with Mystique‘s (Jennifer Lawrence) return to the mansion and Professor X‘s (James McAvoy) abduction. After an appearance by Stryker (Josh Helman), used only to shoehorn in a cameo of Singer’s favorite mutant, Mystique will gather a few mutants together to reform the X-Men.
The most ambitious Marvel Studios’ movie to date, Captain America: Civil War attempts to merge aspects of Marvel’s two best movies (The Avengers and Captain America: Winter Soldier) into a cohesive whole while telling a very streamlined version of the comic event of the same name. You know what? It’s pretty damn good. It may not be the best of the Marvel movies, but it’s certainly more successful than Avengers: Age of Ultron and halts the backslide we’ve been witnessing in the quality of the Marvel films since Winter Soldier.
When the past catches up with them, Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) is forced to reach out to her former lover Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) to save the lives of herself, her wounded husband (Noah Emmerich), and her young daughter from the wicked John Bishop (Ewan McGregor) and his band of outlaws.
Aside from casting a woman in the main role, Jane Got a Gun is a fairly conventional western. However, the choice to make Jane (rather than Dan) the central character in the story is an important one. Presented from her perspective, it’s Jane who slowly opens up about her road after separating with Dan during the Civil War (in which she believed he had died). The heartbreaking reveals mend the relationship between Jane and Dan just in time for one final fight against the men responsible for destroying their lives.
Propelled by character and the looming threat more than plot, Jane Got a Gun succeeds on the strength of its leads while McGregor and Boyd Holbrook provide the right notes as the movie’s black hats.
Following the pattern of his last two films (Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve) director Garry Marshall‘s Mother’s Day is a cookie-cutter ensemble dramaedy set around a particular holiday. Filled with paper-thin characters who all can be described by a single characteristic who are marginally connected through themes of mothers and their daughters, Mother’s Day is a lazy film filled with sitcom humor and blase drama that asks the bare minimum of its cast. If it were a meal, Mother’s Day would be a lukewarm McDonald’s extra-value meal that no one bothered to put under the heat lamp. If it were a color it would be beige.
Nearly a decade since the last time he appeared as the character, first trailer for Jason Bourne gives us Matt Damon as the world’ most dangerous man who may now remember his past but that doesn’t mean all of his questions have been answered. Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander, and Tommy Lee Jones also star. It’s unclear what, if any, relation the movie has to the 2012 spin-off The Bourne Legacy. The movie opens in theaters on July 29th.