FOX 4 Popcorn Bag reviews of: ‘Hell or High Water’, ‘Kubo’, ‘War Dogs’, ‘Ben-Hur’

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KANSAS CITY, Mo--- 'Hell or High Water' all wet? "Kubo" arty? "War Dogs" scruffy? "Ben-Hur" racy? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

1) HELL OR HIGH WATER (R)

CBS Films
RUSS

It may be too early to talk about Oscars, but we may well be mentioning the modern Western "Hell or High Water" at awards time. Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster star in this terrific Texas bank robbery flick that may have the best screenplay of the year. It's a social commentary and character study disguised as a thriller.

SHAWN
"Hell or High Water" may just be the best movie for adults this summer. It's smart. Well directed and features top-notch acting. Jeff Bridges is brilliant, Native American Gil Birmingham is fantastic as he superbly plays off Bridges. And Chris Pine and Ben Foster as bank robbing brothers kill it in every scene. The film is a bit masculine and it's basically an art film but excels at every level.
RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags
2) KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (PG)
Focus Features
SHAWN
The animation is spectacular. And it's a technical marvel. Often stunning. Where "Kubo and the Two Strings" suffers is with the story. It too complex for young kids and at times too intense. For adults it's just a tad too predictable. It's beautiful but also a bit sleepy.
RUSS
Every frame of "Kubo and the Two Strings" is work of art. The visuals for this stop-motion animated tale about magic in ancient Japan deserve the term, "stunning." The story may be too intense and tangled for the very young, but older kids and adults should enjoy its opulent pleasures.
RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags
3) WAR DOGS (R)
Warner Brothers
RUSS

"War Dogs" tries to do for arms smuggling what "The Big Short" did for the economic meltdown. Miles Teller and Jonah Hill star in this comic true story about old friends who get in over their head when they try to cash in on the military's open bidding for weaponry during the Iraq War. It's funny, scary and profane in equal measure but relies a bit too much on voice-over narration.

SHAWN
Loved Miles Teller and Jonah Hill. Their bro chemistry works and each is delightfully fun to watch as they bring this true story, based on the Rollingstone Magazine article, to life with just the right amount of swag. Compelling, interesting and often funny. Sure there are some holes and a lot of it feels forced. But the end result is completely entertaining. And Jonah Hill is intoxicating.
RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

4) BEN-HUR (PG-13)

Paramount/MGM
RUSS
In terms of spectacle and emotional power, few films have equalled the 1959 biblical era epic, "Ben-Hur." Although the new version big screen version is adequate for the uninitiated, it pales by comparison. Purists may balk at some of the changes the filmmakers have made in the story, but visually, the new version delivers.
RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
5) DON'T THINK TWICE (R)
The Film Arcade
RUSS
When an improv comic, played by Keegan-Michael Key, gets a job on a popular TV comedy show, the other members of his improv group become jealous and resentful. "Don't Think Twice" is a bittersweet comedy from writer/director/star Mike Berbiglia about unfulfilled dreams and unused potential. It's smart and sometimes touching, but not quite as funny as it could have been.
RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
ALSO OPENING THIS WEEK:
-Daniel Radcliff plays a federal agent who infiltrates a white supremacist group in the thriller, "Imperium."

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