KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Has Steven Spielberg regained his mojo? Has Tyler Perry found his? Don't miss Russ/Shawn movie reviews!
1) READY PLAYER ONE (PG-13)
There probably isn’t a director better suited to adapting Ernest Cline’s pop novel “Ready Player One” for the big screen than Steven Spielberg. It’s the sort of visual-heavy sci-fi extravaganza that a lesser filmmaker would have made a complete mess of. Tye Sheridan stars as a kid who, in the dystopian future, plays a virtual reality game in an attempt to save mankind from an evil corporation.
Less bloat, more focused, better storytelling. Sure “Ready Player One” is visually stunning by just because the visuals and effects are masterful doesn’t mean it’s a good movie.
Spielberg keeps everything in sharp focus and finds the sentimental heart beating at the story’s core. The game is packed with 80s pop culture references, so anyone who lived through that era will probably get pangs of nostalgia. For everyone else, it’s a rousing, entertaining adventure.
The nostalgia factor is fun. You’ll have a blast trying to identify all of the mostly 80’s era references but at the end of the day you’ll be scratching your head and asking yourself what the hell was that? Steven Spielberg was once a cinematic god. Now he just a mere mortal in search of his mojo.
RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags
2) ACRIMONY (R)
Part “War of the Roses” part “Baby Boy” but uniquely Tyler Perry. “Acrimony” is a soap opera in over drive. If you think Taraji P. Henson as Cookie on “Empire” is over the top wait until you see her in this. “Acrimony” is a bullish one-sided and bone-headed look at a relationship gone bad written, directed and produced by Tyler Perry. Easily a candidate for comedy of the year but wait this is supposed to be a serious drama. It’s time to take Tyler Perry’s laptop away.
SHAWN: 0 Popcorn Bags
3) LOVELESS (R)
Sony Pictures Classics
“Loveless” is a Russian drama that won the Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. This bleak and heartbreaking film is about a crumbling marriage and its adverse affect on an unwanted 12-year-old boy. When he overhears his parents bitterly discuss divorce and their plans to send him off to boarding school, the lad disappears. The quarreling parents join forces with local officials and volunteers in a desperate attempt to find him. The film is as chilling as a Moscow winter and could be interpreted as a harsh examination of Russia under Putin.
RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags