Movies

Sean Penn flexes action-hero muscles in 'The Gunman'

At one point in “The Gunman,” the new Sean Penn geopolitical thriller, our star goes surfing. It’s supposed to show he has a reckless side, since he’s surfing in unsafe territory, but it seems to have a larger, much more obvious purpose: To show us that Penn, at 54, is ripped. Very, very ripped.


‘Insurgent’ could use more divergence

Given that conformity is the scourge of the “Divergent” series and much of its young-adult ilk, it’s a shame the films, including the new “Insurgent,” do so little to stray from well-worn YA paths.


'Run All Night': Living and dying in Liam Neeson's twisted world

Liam Neeson's character in "Run All Night" makes Bryan Mills, the actor's trigger-happy CIA operative in three "Taken" films, look like Oskar Schindler.


New 'Cinderella' excels with old-fashioned charm

In this age of revisionist, modernized Disney fairytales, where we've learned that some of our favorite characters really aren't what they seemed, the striking thing about the studio's sumptuous new live-action "Cinderella" may not be what it is, but what it isn't.


'Unfinished Business' should never have started

In the years since he strutted onto the scene – lean, handsome, mouth running a mile a minute – in Doug Liman's "Swingers" (1996), Vince Vaughn has become one of the poster boys for the mainstream American comedy: from romantic ("The Break-Up") to bromantic ("Old School"), pretty good ("Wedding Crashers") to very bad ("Fred Claus") to frankly unnecessary ("Delivery Man").


‘Second Best’ Marigold lives up to title

If you’re going to do a movie sequel that doesn’t quite measure up to the original and seems rather hurriedly cobbled together, well, OK. Many filmmakers have done the same.


Smith, Robbie pour on the charm in ‘Focus’

If the mark of a good con artist is that he or she makes you think you know exactly what’s going on – when of course you haven’t a clue – that’s also the mark of a good con-artist movie, isn’t it? To make you feel like you totally get what’s about to happen – “Oh yeah, I’ve seen this in tons of movies,” you think – and then, boom. That’s not what happens at all. See, you lost your focus for a second.


'Hot Tub 2' gives a bad name to recast sequels

A sweaty cash grab that gives a bad name to sequels in which key talent has jumped ship, Steve Pink's "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" leaps forward rather than backward in time and sort of makes one wish the world had ended while it was en route.


Teen comedy 'DUFF' gives genre a social media spin

All teen comedies owe some debt to John Hughes and Amy Heckerling.


‘McFarland’: a familiar story

You’ve seen feel-good football and baseball movies, plus great underdog stories of boxing, basketball, soccer and cycling. So what’s left? The 1980s-set “McFarland, USA” has the answer: It’s cross-country.


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