This week at the movies brings us films about a risk-averse woman cutting loose ("Last Holiday"), a groundbreaking underdog basketball team ("Glory Road"), and an ancient folktale of grand passion ("Tristan & Isolde"). What do the critics have to say?
There are some actors and actresses who are so likable, they can pull off nearly anything, no matter how predictable. Queen Latifah is one of them. "Last Holiday," a remake of the Alec Guinness classic, tells the tale of a woman who, upon hearing dire medical news, decides to live every day as if it’s her last. Critics say a movie that could be a moderately entertaining rom-com about the virtues of believing in oneself becomes something altogether greater in the hands of Latifah, who brings a winning charm to every scene. At 68 percent, this is a "Holiday" to celebrate.
The Kentucky Wildcats were among the dominant programs in college basketball during coach Adolph Rupp’s 42-year tenure. But in 1966, an all-African American starting lineup from Texas Western defeated Rupp’s all-white squad. There is no doubt that this is an inspiring, true-life underdog tale, and many critics say "Glory Road," the big-screen adaptation starring Josh Lucas and Derek Luke, delivers the visceral thrills of our favorite sports flicks without skimping on the social commentary. But others say that inspiring true-life tales don’t necessarily make for exciting cinema; at 53 percent, this "Road" may be a little too well traveled.
Speaking of inspiring, there’s a Celtic folktale that has inspired some of the world’s most monumental artistic works, from "Romeo and Juliet" to one of Wagner’s most influential operas. But critics say the movie treatment of "Tristan & Isolde" isn’t poised to join the pantheon. A tale of romance in the war-torn aftermath of Roman control over England, critics say the film is too tepid and slow to pull off a sweeping romantic vision. At 32 percent on the Tomatometer, this is one love story that could use a little more passion.