The Leisure Seeker
⋆½ out of four stars
Rated: R for profanity.
It is difficult to reconcile the loveliness of the performances in "The Leisure Seeker," particularly that of Helen Mirren, with the movie's undeniable failure. Perhaps something was lost in translation.
Italian director Paolo Virzi is one of the best working today, but he struggles while directing his first movie in English. Mirren and Donald Sutherland play a long-married couple on a road trip. They're both strong performers, but most of their casual banter rings false.
The film follows the couple as they take their old recreational vehicle out of the garage and go on an adventure. Apparently this is something they liked to do as young parents, but now things are different. John (Sutherland) is suffering from dementia and goes in and out of mental gear, and Ella (Mirren) is apparently gravely ill, although she looks great. As an hourlong TV drama, this might have worked. But two people sitting around talking about their memories isn't enough to support a full-length feature film.
Mick Lasalle, San Francisco Chronicle
⋆⋆ out of four stars
Rated: R for violence and horror themes.
"The Cured" offers an Irish spin on the familiar scenario of the zombie apocalypse. In writer/director David Freyne's tweak, it's a post-post-apocalypse: A cure has proved successful, and all that remains is figuring out what to do about those who come back.
For once-afflicted Senan (Sam Keeley), just released from the treatment center, it means managing the PTSD of remembering horrific acts he committed, while easing his way into society through the help of his widowed sister-in-law Abbie (Ellen Page). The citizenry's intolerance for medically rehabbed killers, though, is at an all-time high, which spurs one of Senan's fellow "cured" — a to-the-manor-born politician (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) stripped of his ambitions by the virus — to organize the ex-sick into an upstart force.
Freyne finds new prisms of twisty social dysfunction — like this one's IRA allegory — in the concept of crazed people eaters. Stylistically, the muted hues and naturalistic performances even suggest a classic Irish political thriller first, zombie pic second. And yet the confluence of rebellion, personal responsibility and genre violence never quite jells.
Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
⋆⋆ out of four stars
Rated: PG for rude humor.
This sequel to 2011's "Gnomeo and Juliet" is a serviceable animated feature, with a few inspired elements and more than enough gnome puns to go around. Directed by "Kung Fu Panda" director John Stevenson, it's essentially "Toy Story" mashed up with "Sherlock Holmes," along with a dash or two of "Romeo and Juliet."
The garden gnomes and lawn ornaments come to life while their owners are away. When the members of the garden menagerie are kidnapped, Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp) swoops in to investigate with his trusty, long-suffering helper/partner, Dr. Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor), while Gnomeo (James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) join up to help.
Depp's voice performance is unrecognizable and rather uninspired. In fact, with the exception of the villainous Moriarty (Jamie Demetriou), the movie as a whole is largely lacking in personality. There are some fun bits and bobs to be found, but it's missing the wow factor that would make this one stand out from the rest of the pack.
katie walsh, Tribune News Service