In Theaters This Weekend: Reviews of 'Ma,' 'Rocketman,' 'Godzilla' and More

8:15 AM 5/31/2019

by Alexandra Del Rosario

Documentarian Gerald Fox's 'Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank' will also hit the big screen 14 years after its original debut.

Rocketman-Publicity Still-Embed-2019
Paramount Pictures Corporation

Star Taron Egerton brought the crowd at the French Riviera to their feet during the Rocketman premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, and the Elton John biopic from Dexter Fletcher is among this weekend's new box office offerings. 

Also bowing in theaters will be the Octavia Spencer-led thriller Ma and Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Documentarian Gerald Fox's Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank will also hit the big screen 14 years after its original debut. 

Here's what critics with The Hollywood Reporter thought about the movies opening Friday.

  • 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters'

    Millie Bobby Brown, Sally Hakins and more join the world of Godzilla in director Michael Dougherty's latest effort, Godzilla: King of Monsters.

    When the three-headed King Ghidorah emerges from a volcano, there's only one being who can stop it from leading might monsters against the human race: Godzilla.

    The newest Godzilla movie is a welcome addition to the collection following the "dullish" 2014 title from Gareth Edwards, writes THR critic John DeFore.

    "Easily the most satisfying of his Hollywood-produced adventures and a respectable cousin to the long string of Japanese ones, the sequel to Gareth Edwards' admirably serious but dullish 2014 film is the first to suggest any promise for what Legendary is calling its 'MonsterVerse,' he writes. 

    But while the monster film focuses on the grand fights between the super-sized creatures, termed "Titans," it tends to forget about the humans the help drive the narrative. Supporting characters' backgrounds, intentions and responsibilities go unclear and unexpressed, DeFore also notes. But ultimately the "beautifully designed CGI mayhem" scenes make up for lack of comprehensive subplots and subpar dialogue. 

  • 'Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank'

    After 14 years, Gerald Fox's documentary Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank on the notable photographer hits theaters. 

    The film paints a picture of the artist in his Manhattan home and his personal projects following the fame of his book The Americans. 

    "Not really trying to be a comprehensive portrait — and hardly at all interested in the technical aspects of his work — the doc mostly collects personal impressions of various episodes in Frank's career," THR film critic John DeFore writes.

    Leaving Home does a decent job at depicting the artist past his peak and embodying his spirit, although it may require newcomers "to do their own further research in order to really know Frank's oeuvre."

  • 'Ma'

    Octavia Spencer stars as a psychopath with a vengeance in Tate Taylor's Ma.

    Taylor, who previously worked with Spencer on 2011''s The Help, follows Sue Ann (Spencer) who befriends a group of alcohol-thirsty high schoolers looking and snaps when they breech her trust. 

    Among Sue Ann's victims are Diana Silvers (Booksmart), who plays Maggie, a newbie to the small town where the film takes place. 

    THR's John DeFore writes that Ma is "unlikely to keep either teens or their parents up at night."

    Though the thriller presents nothing new, there were instances where Spencer could have upped her performance. However, DeFore notes, "she plays things as straight as the film allows."

  • 'Rocketman'

    THR critic David Rooney likens Dexter Fletcher's glittery biopic Rocketman to a spaceship's takeoff. 

    "The title of Rocketman is appropriate in that this boldly unconventional portrait of Elton John — charting the parallel tracks of his meteoric rise to superstardom and his simultaneous descent into an abyss of loneliness and addiction — has a spectacular launch, all engines blazing," he writes. 

    Typical of a spaceship launch, the movie starts with some turbulence in retelling the cultural icon's beginnings in middlesex. But the movie picks up its speed toward the middle "with a succession of surreally stylized musical fantasy sequences that are fabulously entertaining."

    Driving this trip is Taron Egerton, who Rooney says helps the pic remain airborne with his fearless embodiment of John. 

    But this vibrant, cinematic flight isn't without flaws, the critic writes. 
    "On a dramatic level, it often feels a bit remote," Rooney asserts. "Some plot points are so perfunctorily touched upon they might as well have been dropped, like his brief marriage to German recording engineer Renate Blauel (Celinde Schoenmaker)."  
    The bottom line for Rooney: "Audiences when the movie opens May 31 will likely be more mixed, but as a fantasia on the making of Elton John, Rocketman at the very least commits wholeheartedly to its flashy eccentricity, and for many, that will be more than fun enough."