ME BEFORE YOU [PG-13] C+
Author Jojo Moyes adapts her own novel here, for newbie director Thea Sharrock, and borrows heavily from the Young Adult translation playbook to craft a decided winner, despite the fact that the star-crossed lovers Lou (Emilia Clarke) and Will (Sam Claflin) are a little long in the tooth for such fare. No one’s going to notice much because the pair ooze more than enough charm and goodwill to patch over the rough spots – the roughest being a real downer of a scenario, with Will as a paraplegic man eager to live out the rest of his days on his own terms. Even audiences who haven’t read the book will see what’s coming a mile away, but must begrudgingly respect the fact that the movie doesn’t deviate from its inevitable conclusion.
POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING [R] B-
Sometimes as a critic, I find myself completely at odds with the majority of audiences in ways I simply never expect. I laughed so hard during the screening of “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” I had to brush away tears several times. The movie lacked the sharp and incisive wit that makes for real lasting satire, but Andy Samberg continues to slay with his boyish charms. I assumed he and his homeboys – directors Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone – would rock the house at the multiplexes, but “Popstar” faded like Facebook in the millennial social media scene. I stand by my amusement with the whole affair, knowing full-well that I’m labeling myself as an old loser.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS [PG-13] F
Speaking of old losers, the 1980s nostalgia train went completely off the rails with the latest installment in the creaky “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” franchise reboot. “Out of the Shadows,” from director Dave Green (“Earth to Echo”) cribs too many frames from “The Avengers” (aliens descending on New York) and “X-Men” (warmed over sentiments about failed inclusion concerns) without establishing distinct personalities for it’s turtle heroes. I know they are broad clichés, but you have to make us care about them, and truthfully, I didn’t care one iota about anything going on in these surprisingly muddy frames, except how the filmmakers were able to convince Laura Linney to stoop so low as to make an appearance here.