Our capsule reviews for ‘Finding Joe’, ‘Johnny English Reborn’, ‘The Mighty Macs’, ‘The Reunion’, ‘Texas Killing Fields’, and ‘The Woman’
The following quotes were pulled from reviews written by AZ Weekly Entertainment Magazine in Phoenix, AZ’s Film Section contributors to present readers with a wider perspective about this weekend’s new releases.
At 27 years old, Joseph J. Airdo is a Walter Cronkite School of Journalism graduate with a degree in media analysis and criticism. Randy Montgomery, 34, works in media and marketing and holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Education. And, at 64 years old, Stan Robinson is a retired First Assistant Director with more than 22 years of experience in film and media production.
Read their full reviews of these and other movies exclusively online at knotmove.com, AZWeeklyMagazine.com and ScreenScene.org, respectively.
Deepak Chopra, Mick Fleetwood, Rashida Jones and others discuss how mythologist Joseph Campbell’s work continues to influence our culture. Playing exclusively at Harkins Valley Art. (NR – 83 minutes)
Joseph: “Though exasperatingly redundant and overly simplistic, Patrick Takaya Solomon’s documentary ‘Finding Joe’ will motivate you to be the best [insert your name here] the world has ever known. The motion picture, based on the teachings of Joseph Campbell – an American mythologist, writer and lecturer whose philosophy is best summarized by the phrase, ‘Follow Your Bliss’ – is more or less just an instructional self-help video but it definitely gets the job done, lighting a match within the viewer’s heart and, in turn, also under their seat.”Grade: C
‘Johnny English Reborn’
A bumbling secret agent (Rowan Atkinson) uses his questionable combat skills and high-tech gadgets to protect a Chinese leader from a band of assassins. (PG – 102 minutes)
Joseph: “If you simply succumb to the silliness, ‘Johnny English Reborn’ will seem bloody brilliant. Of course, I do not mean that in the usual sense of the word because – let’s face it – ‘Johnny English Reborn’ is utterly ridiculous on almost every level imaginable. However, when it comes to making people laugh, the movie is spy-tacularly hilarious. If nothing else, it proves without a reasonable doubt that Rowan Atkinson – best known for his ‘Mr. Bean’ character – is the physical-comedy king.” Grade: B
‘The Mighty Macs’
In 1971 the new coach (Carla Gugino) of the women’s basketball team at a tiny Roman Catholic college sets her sights on winning a national championship. (G – 98 minutes)
Joseph: “Although the new religious sports drama ‘The Mighty Macs’ is oddly old-fashioned and leans a bit too hard against the game, it easily rebounds with an inspiring message about commitment. As a solid film with admirable values, ‘The Mighty Macs‘ certainly scores. However, viewers – especially those who, like myself, are less than enthusiastic about sports – may often catch writer/director Tim Chambers traveling (i.e. relying too heavily on genre clichés) whereas the quieter, more intimate moments between characters are the ones that dunk the most baskets.”Grade: C
Three brothers (John Cena, Ethan Embry and Boyd Holbrook) cross the path of a drug lord and a murderous businessman in Mexico. (PG-13 – 96 minutes)
Joseph: “The new dramatic actioner ‘The Reunion’ may be one of WWE’s weaker efforts due to the complexity of its concept but it is still sufficiently entertaining. Much like the studio’s other recent releases, ‘The Reunion’ places a priority on dramatic storytelling over hard-hitting action. However, there is also enough engaging excitement to appease audiences who merely want to see star John Cena kick some butt – especially toward the end as writer/director Michael Pavone plays with elements typical of old-fashioned Westerns.” Grade: C
‘Texas Killing Fields’
After a familiar girl (Chloe Moretz) goes missing, two detectives (Sam Worthington and Jeffrey Dean Morgan) race against time before a serial killer claims her as his next victim. Playing exclusively at Harkins Camelview 5. (R – 105 minutes)
Stan: “With the thought that its based on true events with many still unsolved crimes, ‘Texas Filling Fields’ in a ‘film noir’ style presentation by director Ami Canaan Mann, has a gritty docudrama style for each of the two detectives representative of their diverse backgrounds. One from the big city of New York, the other from the rural area of Texas, with their investigative styles clashing as they collectively work the case of the missing girl, we’re drawn into a fact-based psychological thriller as physical evidence is discovered in a race against time…”Grade: B
Joseph:“‘Texas Killing Fields’ is certainly a decent thriller but it all just seems so… generic. That is not to say that the atmosphere that director Ami Canaan Mann – yes, daughter of acclaimed filmmaker Michael Mann – drums up is even remotely uninspired. Quite the contrary. However, writer Don Ferrarone’s screenplay is another story, passing off other superior movies’ characters and plot devices as its own and insulting the viewer’s intelligence and investment with a ridiculous red herring.” Grade: C
A lawyer (Sean Bridgers) puts his family in jeopardy when he captures the last member (Pollyanna McIntosh) of a violent clan and tries to forcibly tame her. Playing exclusively at The Royale. (R – 102 minutes)
Joseph:“Writer/director Lucky McKee’s latest horror flick ‘The Woman’ is sadistically stimulating, championing the feminist movement with a cynical sense of humor that will blow your brains… I mean mind. Not to be confused with the 2008 romantic comedy ‘The Women’ boasting an all-female cast, ‘The Woman’ is unsettling in both its storytelling and its aesthetics. If the twisted tale is not enough to nauseate you, then the strange sights and sounds certainly will be. While it could have benefited from a faintly faster pace, this piece of exploitation cinema with a moral (imagine that) is as smart as it is savage.” Grade: B