Weekend Movies: “Insurgent” nuked, Sean Penn panned

pennHard to work up a lot of enthusiasm for this week’s big screen offerings.

“Insurgent” never overcomes the cynical hackwork “commissioned” YA novel —  cut and paste formula fiction without an original thought in it — that was its source. Robert Schwentke’s film is more straight action, which doesn’t hide characters who are cardboard cutouts by design. I like Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer’s inclusion in it, and the twists in the third act.

But “Natural” Girl Next Door Shailene Woodley has discovered makeup, and lip gloss.  The Revolution will never be the same. Widely panned, “Insurgent Daughter of Divergent” will swallow up the box office, but not be a red letter entry on anybody’s resume.

Will it clear $50 million? Probably.

Sean Penn doesn’t work often, but the chance to shoehorn in some of his big political worries — Corporate Collusion in Third World exploitation, CIA manipulation of governments to benefit Big Corp –– in a formula hitman thriller got his interest.

“The Gunman” has solid action beats, decent characterizations, predictable conclusion. I think the mid-60s Alfa Romeo Giuletta that he “borrows” to make an inconspicuous get away steals the movie, and stops it dead in its tracks. Panned pretty much across the board.

“Tracers” may be the Not awful, him or the movie,last chance Taylor Lautner has to star in an action pic.  Not awful, him or the movie, but his box office appeal is gone baby gone and this limited release is all we need to know about his declining fortunes.

The best reviewed limited release of the weekend is a “Fargo” tribute, “Kumiko the Treasure Hunter.” Sort of a film festival favorite, it’s about a young Japanese woman confused into hunting for the ransom cash she sees buried in the snows of Minnesota in the movie “Fargo.” Daft, deft, dark.

“Do You Believe” is one of those movies that turns Christian filmmakers into liars. As in, “We can’t screen this for critics, it’s not ready.” Liars. It is opening in over 1300 theaters, is from the same people who made the angry, victimhood embracing “God’s Not Dead.” It could do well, but the Christians releasing it are liars.

Junk horror (“Ghoul”) and horror spoofs (“Zombeaver,” “The Walking Deceased”) also flesh out a weekend where not a lot is opening wide. Wish I’d seen The Police documentary, but you cannot get to them all.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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1 Response to Weekend Movies: “Insurgent” nuked, Sean Penn panned

  1. garethrhodes says:

    Still waiting for 2015 to ignite. Aside from a few gems, it’s been fifty shades of grey, so far.

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