Weekend movies: Reese and Sofia take a pounding, Arnold gets a pass

annnEvery studio, large and small, just assumed those darned “Avengers” would swallow another weekend’s box office whole.

So nothing of any real note opens this second weekend of May.

“Hot Pursuit” took a beating from critics. Just brutal. Reese Witherspoon is earning “What was she thinking?” from a lot of us, but Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star Ledger and I were in agreement on the real culprit — director Anne Fletcher. The female Adam Shankman? It stands at a whopping 7% on the Tomatometer.

“Maggie,” Arnold Schwarzenegger’s serious, somber and compassionate transformation in the middle of an indie zombie movie, is earning mixed reviews. Abigail Breslin is awesome in it, but Arnie holds his own.  Do yourself a favor and read the TIRADES in the comments of NPR’s interview with the ex-governor/Once and Future Terminator. Like Russell Crowe, like Mel Gibson and like Kevin Costner, he has transgressed in some way that have utterly turned a lot of people against him.

Not that the NPR audience figured to be filled with Arnold fans.

The best reviewed film of the weekend is the faith-based import “Noble,” about an Irish orphan who never lets the world beat her down and never loses her faith in the process. Not bad.

The Michael Fassbender Western “Slow West” has earned good notices and gone into wider release. Offbeat, dark and funny, and shot in New Zealand.

“Saint Laurent” is a botched, overlong French biopic of pioneering fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

Jack Black’s kind of over, so even the semi-daring “D Train” can’t put him back in the money. An offbeat bromantic comedy — a bromance that turns sexual — it feels like a PG-13 movie sexed and cursed up to an R.

Then there’s “Bravetown” — a high school dance team romance slapped on top of a mournful small town in denial over all the soldiers it’s sent off to war, “The Seven Five,” a decent but dated New York cop scandal documentary.

Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton twinkle, but not enough, to rescue to sluggish New York real estate comedy “5 Flights Up.”

And Patrick Stewart classes up the Israeli dark caper comedy “Hunting Elephants,” taking a role that John Cleese was slated to play, at one point.

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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