Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen | PG-13 |
It’s one thing to pay homage to a monster-movie classic, the 1954 original Godzilla. It’s another to make a reboot that looks like you’re still stuck in the ’50s. Dim-witted and slow, this Godzilla plods along in a thin narrative, over poorly drawn characters and through giant plot holes, only to emerge as something that isn’t even as entertaining as a guy in a dinosaur suit stomping around a miniature Tokyo.
The action starts in 1999 with an accident at a Japanese nuclear plant that turns Joe Brody (Cranston) from a respected scientist into a raving crackpot, certain of a cover-up. His son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) won’t even entertain his father’s insane theories – until, that is, they’re arrested near the old nuclear site, and something awakens.
What emerges isn’t Godzilla; the big guy is in the ocean somewhere. But the new creature is no friend of his, and there will be a fight. Sadly, that battle isn’t long enough to satisfy hardcore fans, and the film dawdles getting there. Precious time is lost sidelining Joe, the sole character with any emotional resonance, only to follow the personality-free Ford around the globe in a quest to get home to his wife, Elle (Olsen, a gifted actress left to do little more than fret). Moving a guy around a map does not a plot make, nor one lumbering beast fighting another a great monster movie. To that “lumbering” point, some fans are complaining that this Godzilla is too porky. I’d agree, but his diet seems the least of this film’s problems.
MILLION DOLLAR ARM
Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Lake Bell | PG |
For a film that’s all about risk, Million Dollar Arm plays it safe. Hamm stars as J.B. Bernstein, a former sports superagent now barely holding on with his partner Ash (Mandvi). Hoping to sign the next great baseball pitcher, J.B. heads to India, where cricket is king and hidden talents abound—or so he thinks. Dinesh (Madhur Mittal) and Rinku (Suraj Sharma) look promising, but can they really become major leaguers overnight? Can J.B. ever see the trusting boys as more than a paycheck? The stakes are high, and there’s plenty of humor and warmth, making Arm easy to like. But you don’t have to be Babe Ruth to see how all of this film’s pitches will land.
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