Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.
Everybody Wants Some
Starring: Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin, Glen Powell, Wyatt Russell, and Zoey Deutch
Synopsis: This is the latest from writer/director Richard Linklater, and it's set at a small college four days prior to the start of the 1980-1981 school year. It follows the baseball players at the school, and the wild adventures they have as the year is about to start. It's about sports, it's about college, but mostly it's about a certain time in life at a certain point in our country's history. Linklater famously did something similar with "Dazed and Confused," which takes place on the last day of school for high school and junior high students in 1976. While "Everybody Wants Some" isn't a sequel in terms of story and characters, it feels connected in a lot of ways. It feels like another exploration of youth in a finite time period at the end of the 1970s. Perhaps drawn from Linklater's own experiences — he was born in 1960 — and his own fascination with that period of time for that group of people. There are some amusing moments and characters in "Everybody Wants Some," and it's a surprisingly engaging movie. It doesn't so much have a destination in mind as a meandering journey, and it works. The actors do well and Linklater has a gift for helping these kind of smaller stories come to life. I liked this movie more that I thought I would, even though I find it kind of hard to describe.
Rating: R for language throughout, sexual content, drug use and some nudity.
Verdict: Three stars out of four.
The Huntsman: Winter's War
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, and Charlize Theron
Synopsis: In 2012, a pair of live-action tales about Snow White made it to the big screen. In the spring came “Mirror, Mirror,” which starred Julia Roberts as the evil queen and didn’t have much else going for it. During the summer, “Snow White and the Huntsman” took at different route to the story. The star was still, arguably, the evil queen, this time played by Charlize Theron. But with Chris Hemsworth as The Huntsman and Kristen Stewart as Snow White, it drew audiences to the theater. The film made more than $160 million and talk of a sequel soon began. Last Friday we got that sequel. While The Huntsman and the Evil Queen returned, Snow White — and more precisely Stewart — got the boot from the endeavor entirely. “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” is another love story, but it’s also a story of siblings. It is both a prequel and sequel to the original, telling the tale of before and after the events surrounding Snow White — who is named by never shown in this new film. This follow up features a strong cast and plenty of action. Blunt and Chastain make strong additions to the returning stars Theron and Hemsworth. And the film doesn’t have a bad idea for how to move the story forward. But in the end, it’s just a little boring. Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan makes the most out of some stunning visuals. The film looks beautiful and the colors and costumes pop. But the characters, story and dialogue don’t, and that’s a problem. The film fails to make good use of its gifted cast. And it takes too long to get to where it is so obviously going. This is a film with a good cast and a good look, but it doesn’t translate that into being a good or particularly interesting film. It feels more like a missed opportunity.
Rating: PG-13 for fantasy action violence and some sensuality.
Verdict: Two stars out of four.
Friday, April 29 — "Keanu," "Ratchet and Clank," "Mother's Day," "The Green Room"