Weekend movies: “Ben Hur” beaten down, “War Dogs” neutered, “Kubo” conquers all


Had to happen. I mean, last weekend had “Florence Foster Jenkins,” “Anthropoid,” “Pete’s Dragon” and “Sausage Party” opening wide, “Hell or High Water” opening wider.

And all were at least pretty good (“Pete’s Dragon”) and most were outstanding.

So this weekend, naturally, Hollywood taketh away.

Sure, the animated “Kubo and the Two Strings” from Laika and Focus Features, is a winner. “Lo and Behold,” the latest meditative documentary from the great Werner Herzog, scores. Rave reviews from one and all for those.

But the widest releases don’t earn raves.

“War Dogs” was a promising dark and supposedly funny Miami yeshiva alumni sell arms to the military buddy dramedy. Doesn’t really come off, and reviews are mixed. Teetering right on the brink of fresh or rotten on the Tomatometer all week.

Then there’s “Ben-Hur,” about which there is no doubt. Good action beats, alterations to the well-known “Story of the Christ” — some of which work, some not so much — and a general choppiness and heartless approach to the emotional high points that we KNOW are there, break it. Consistently poor reviews for this one.

Another “Final Fantasy” video game adaptation sucks the life right out of you. “Kingsglaive” isn’t the silliest word in it. 

Will “Ben-Hur” find a big faith-based audience? We’ll know by Sunday.

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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