EVERYBODY WANTS SOME [R] B+
As tends to happen with directors who settle in for the long haul, we get caught up in their most recent works, the themes and current stylistic choices that dominate our attention at the moment, forgetting earlier signature touches. Richard Linklater is now the go-to guy for smart personal explorations into relationships (the “Before” collaborative trilogy with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke) and his stunning experimental look at a boy’s life in “Boyhood,” but once upon a time, he gave us “Dazed and Confused,” a definite look at the meandering joys of immaturity in the 1970s. Now, with “Everybody Wants Some,” he’s wandered into the 1980s, still gloriously stuck in a state of arrested development that feels perfectly true and worth remaining in for the rest of your life. Buy a ticket, take a seat, and see if it doesn’t make you want to hang around.
THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR [PG-13] D
The title alone would make audiences believe that the follow-up to “Snow White and The Huntsman” intends to focus on the further adventures of, well, The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), right? Truth be told, “Winter’s War” is “Frozen” with real villainy at the center of the tale. This is a battle royale between the evil queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and her younger sister Freya (Emily Blunt). Ravenna had to poke and prod at Freya to trigger her dormant magical powers, but once tapped, boy did Freya become a frigid queen. Somewhere along the way, the Huntsman appears, but he and his warrior lover (Jessica Chastain) barely matter, next to the sisters. In the end, no one can hold a candle to Theron as Ravenna, which Frenchman Cedric Nicolas-Troyan seems to realize too late into his feature debut, which means we’re stuck with a bland hero fighting a losing battle in the blockbuster game.
A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING [PG-13] A-
How easy it is to overlook the understated charms of Tom Hanks. We appreciate his flashy comedic chops, so richly on display early in his career and we recognize his Academy Award-winning pedigree and the gravitas he now brings to any and every project. But it takes a writer-director like Tom Tykwer (“Run Lola Run”) to remind us that Hanks still has a nervy edginess underneath his calm façade and as an American businessman (Tom Hanks) on the decline seeking to reclaim his footing while pitching a proposal to a wealthy monarch in Saudi Arabia, the wit and desperation of this character plays perfectly to the sneaky strengths of Hanks. “A Hologram For the King” from author Dave Eggers, more than likely, reads even darker on the page, but Tykwer and Hanks generate just enough of a flickering spark to highlight the darkness surrounding the character, while allowing him to serve as a beacon for audiences, ready and willing to follow Hanks anywhere.