In Theaters This Weekend: Reviews of 'Transformers: Age of Extinction,' 'Snowpiercer' and More
What THR's critics are saying about the Michael Bay sequel and Bong Joon-ho's train-set thriller, plus Mark Ruffalo's "Begin Again," the Paul Rudd-Amy Poehler starrer "They Came Together" and biopic "Yves Saint Laurent."
As it turns out, the Autobots are a forbidding opponent. Indeed, Transformers: Age of Extinction is the only film opening nationwide this weekend. But a slew of smaller films are opening in limited release as counterprogramming options, including Snowpiercer, Begin Again and They Came Together.
The fourth installment in the Michael Bay-directed franchise based on the Hasbro toy line enlists an entirely new array of (human) castmembers, including Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer and Nicola Peltz. THR film critic Clarence Tsui writes in his review that the overlong film bombards the audience with "bad one-liners and battles that rarely rise above the banal. ... [Tucci's] clownish antics while racing for survival in a Hong Kong tenement block are probably the highlight of the film. Unfortunately, Wahlberg is given far less space to maneuver." Read what other critics are saying about the film here.
Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton and Octavia Spencer lead the cast of this sci-fi flick, from South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, set on a train carrying passengers who survived a devastating global-warming experiment. In his THR review, Tsui writes that, while the film is a bit "overt" with its message, Snowpiercer is "still an intellectually and artistically superior vehicle to many of the end-of-days futuristic action thrillers out there."
The film — formerly titled Can a Song Save Your Life? — premiered at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival and stars Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam Levine and Catherine Keener. Written and directed by Once helmer John Carney, the film centers on a down-on-his-luck music exec who stumbles upon a talented singer-songwriter and sets out to record her album. According to THR film critic David Rooney, "the touching film" features "lovely chemistry between Knightley and Ruffalo," although "Carney’s screenplay is not exactly robust, and the film feels slightly padded with mini montages." Read Rooney's full review here.
They Came Together
Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Ed Helms and Ellie Kemper star in director David Wain's satirical send-up of rom-com cliches. THR film critic John DeFore says in his review, "They Came Together isn't much trickier than the intentionally lame double entendre in its title. ... There's so much nothing here that it seems like it should fit in an hourlong basic cable slot, even with commercials."
Pierre Niney and Guillaume Gallienne star in director Jalil Lespert's biopic of the famed French designer. THR film critic Boyd van Hoeij writes in his review that the film offers "just enough emotional insight to compensate for the lack of narrative fireworks in the last half-hour."
The beloved title character of a children's BBC series gets his own animated film, with voices provided by Stephen Mangan, Jim Broadbent, Rupert Grint and David Tennant. In director Mike Disa's film, the veteran postman enters a televised talent competition and is faced with some tough decisions. The film is "a mostly charmless and dark affair that is unlikely to appeal to American preschool children unfamiliar with the series," THR film critic Frank Scheck writes in his review.
Eloise Mumford and Matt O'Leary star in director Rick Rosenthal's film about two soldiers debating whether to launch a missile attack on a high-level terrorist. "Drones is not exactly subtle, but it is a commendable attempt to dramatize a hot contemporary issue," says THR film critic Stephen Dalton in his review.
Director Magnus Martens' black comedy stars Kyrre Hellum as a guy who awakens to find he's the lone survivor of a strip-club massacre. In his review, THR film critic John DeFore praises Jackpot as a "quick-witted, high-toned genre flick."
Nothing Bad Can Happen
Known by the German title Tore Tanzt, the film marks Katrin Gebbe's directorial debut and stars Julius Feldmeier and Sascha Gersak in the story of a young man who spends increasingly more time with his mysterious surrogate family. "While hardly an upbeat date movie, Tore Tanzt is intense and gripping, with solid indie credentials," Dalton writes in his review.
Rajesh Tailang, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Anurag Arora star in director Richie Mehta's film about a man who goes searching for his missing son. As THR film critic Neil Young notes in his review, "This quietly impassioned indictment of child labor takes its time to get going but then builds steadily to a surprisingly strong finale."
Joe Berlinger directs the documentary about the trials of Boston gangster Whitey Bulger. "Sprawling and sometimes a grind at over two hours, the doc is both cinematically uninspired and journalistically jumbled," DeFore writes. Read his full review here.