This week at the movies, we’ve got a literary fraud (The Words, starring Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana) and a kidnapping plot (The Cold Light of Day, starring Henry Cavill and Bruce Willis). What do the critics have to say?
The Words is an ambitious film with an undeniably intriguing premise: how does someone rationalize reaping the rewards of a big con? Unfortunately, critics say The Words is mostly a missed opportunity – despite the best efforts of its talented cast, the film is elaborately structured but rarely emotionally fulfilling. Bradley Cooper stars as Rory Jansen, a celebrated author with a secret: he passed off someone else’s book as his own. As his star rises, Jansen is intoxicated by fame, but is soon forced to deal with the moral consequences of his deception. The pundits say The Words has enough appealing elements to sustain interest, but it’s undone by its needlessly complex narrative and lack of character development. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down some noteworthy films featuring imposters and fabulists.)
Not all globetrotting spy thrillers are created equal. Take, for example, The Cold Light of Day, which critics say borrows liberally from the Taken and Bourne playbooks without adding such essential elements as comprehensibility and plausibility. Henry Cavill stars as a young man whose parents are kidnapped while on holiday in Spain. The plot thickens when our hero finds himself on the run from shadowy intelligence agents in pursuit of a mysterious briefcase. The pundits say The Cold Light of Day is largely bereft of surprises or even general coherence, and the stars — including Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver — mostly look exhausted.
Beauty Is Embarrassing, a documentary about cartoonist and Pee-wee’s Playhouse co-creator Wayne White, is at 100 percent.
Girl Model, a documentary about the trafficking of underage girls in the modeling industry, is at 89 percent.
Keep the Lights On, a drama about two men in an up-and-down long-term relationship, is at 86 percent.
Detropia, a doc about the crumbling infrastructure of the Motor City, is at 80 percent.
Las Acacias, a drama about an Argentine truck driver who bonds with a mother and her daughter over the course of a long drive, is at 73 percent.
The Eye of the Storm, starring Geoffrey Rush and Charlotte Rampling in a drama about a dying rich woman whose adult children are squabbling over their share of her fortune, is at 66 percent.
The Inbetweeners, a British comedy about four geeky guys who go on a wild Mediterranean vacation, is at 62 percent.
Hello I Must Be Going, a dramedy about a newly-divorced woman who finds romance with a teenager, is at 61 percent.
For Ellen, starring Paul Dano and Jena Malone in a drama about an aspiring musician dealing with a painful divorce, is at 54 percent.
Bachelorette, starring Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fisher in a comedy about three bridesmaids who share a night of debauchery before their friend’s wedding, is at 53 percent.
[REC] 3 Genesis, a horror flick in which zombies rudely crash a wedding, is at 42 percent.
Serving Up Richard, horror film about a married couple who attempt to cannibalize a Wall Street banker, is at 17 percent.