Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Focus is Sleek and Slick But Too Twisty

Plus, The Lazarus Effect could use a jolt of energy, and the latest episode of Better Call Saul is excellent.

by | February 26, 2015 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got con artists (Focus, starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie) and re-animators (The Lazarus Effect, starring Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass). What do the critics have to say?



Right out of the gate, Focus has quite a bit going for it: it’s a slick caper flick that boasts glamorous scenery and magnetic performances from Will Smith and up-and-comer Margot Robbie. But while critics say that’s enough to sustain interest for much of the movie’s runtime, an overabundance of twists and turns may leave viewers feeling a little cheated themselves. Smith stars as Nicky Spurgeon, an experienced con man and pickpocket who takes Jess Barrett (Robbie), a talented grifter in her own right, under his wing. After a big score, however, their relationship takes a dark turn, which raises the question: who’s conning whom? The pundits say Smith is his old likeable self, and Robbie delivers a breakout performance, but Focus runs out of steam by the time it makes its big reveal. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Smith’s best-reviewed movies here.)

The Lazarus Effect


Like a mashup of Frankenstein and Flatliners, The Lazarus Effect is the tale of a team of scientists trying to play God. Unfortunately, critics say the film does remarkably little with its intriguing premise and talented cast, resulting in a sci-fi frightfest with few scares and less-than-credible science. Engaged scientists Frank (Mark Duplass) and Zoe (Olivia Wilde) have discovered a way to bring the dead back to life. But when Zoe is killed in a lab accident, her colleagues re-animate her — and open a can of worms in the process. The pundits say The Lazarus Effect is pretty generic stuff that could use a jolt of electricity itself. (Read our interview with Duplass here here.)

What’s On TV:

“Hero” marks the essential early evolution of Saul’s conning skills, beginning his amusing transformation into the well-known Breaking Bad personality.

Stars Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon make a fine Oscar and Felix, but The Odd Couple‘s flat jokes and canned laughter are pretty old hat.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

NBC crossover Super Bowl Reality Competition doctor who Song of Ice and Fire Superheroes IFC singing competition supernatural crime thriller cancelled TV shows VH1 breaking bad Music blaxploitation canceled TV shows Watching Series Binge Guide Star Wars Pride Month American Society of Cinematographers Marvel vampires cults MSNBC GLAAD USA Network TV Land free movies Box Office Rocketman Esquire Turner Classic Movies Rocky Paramount The Walking Dead Fall TV science fiction TV renewals cinemax anthology Bravo Mindy Kaling Disney Year in Review President witnail A&E tv talk USA zombie Universal Tarantino HBO Max space FXX crime Superheroe Television Academy DC Comics Columbia Pictures RT History social media cancelled TV series hist Comics on TV Biopics TCA Winter TV Crackle Grammys Warner Bros. Ellie Kemper San Diego Comic-Con Elton John Stephen King dc psychological thriller Oscars SXSW children's TV Best and Worst foreign Christmas Thanksgiving hispanic Teen OWN Disney Channel BBC America CBS All Access Set visit NYCC anime Photos 71st Emmy Awards IFC Films award winner Trailer romance video ESPN Film cats WGN based on movie TV MCU true crime SDCC mockumentary dceu spanish language Epix Election GoT ABC Cartoon Network Extras zombies binge First Look biography 24 frames Peacock CBS Premiere Dates PBS 2015 The CW Creative Arts Emmys spain robots Podcast Toys romantic comedy cars Infographic TBS miniseries Countdown Mudbound game of thrones justice league discovery Video Games quibi 007 Reality sitcom stand-up comedy Captain marvel Apple TV+ Masterpiece period drama Pixar National Geographic slashers Anna Paquin nature Rock sequel Winners CW Seed Western YouTube Pet Sematary green book History 45 teaser RT21 Walt Disney Pictures Britbox Nat Geo Mary poppins Logo Star Trek adventure CMT south america spider-man Spike BET Mary Poppins Returns Nickelodeon sports transformers VICE toy story YA Syfy X-Men streaming CNN Valentine's Day Martial Arts Emmys finale AMC Sundance Now Cannes jamie lee curtis Sci-Fi Shudder Lifetime Turner talk show 20th Century Fox Country TruTV joker ABC Family Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TCA 2017 Arrowverse what to watch HBO LGBT Comic Book Hulu medical drama diversity Fox News golden globes DGA Ghostbusters Sundance Comedy Central FX Cosplay zero dark thirty 2019 Trophy Talk Women's History Month Emmy Nominations comiccon Disney Plus The Purge Character Guide cops Rom-Com 2016 Acorn TV Family New York Comic Con Vudu Tumblr unscripted Schedule Mystery strong female leads Brie Larson Dark Horse Comics spinoff GIFs DC Universe animated serial killer Calendar theme song politics thriller TNT elevated horror Lionsgate Shondaland mutant Trivia LGBTQ Opinion Showtime First Reviews movies Marathons The Witch Drama boxoffice E3 psycho natural history Apple war comic DC streaming service aliens technology cancelled television spy thriller APB 2017 batman ghosts kids Amazon Prime Video Horror travel Polls and Games dramedy Sony Pictures Sneak Peek Pop cooking Chilling Adventures of Sabrina cancelled Food Network YouTube Premium El Rey YouTube Red Ovation composers Certified Fresh Mary Tyler Moore Quiz ITV Red Carpet SundanceTV Writers Guild of America Heroines book Summer Awards Tour Musicals renewed TV shows richard e. Grant MTV canceled Chernobyl DirecTV Tomatazos 21st Century Fox Film Festival Fantasy docudrama Netflix disaster Spectrum Originals Amazon Prime Kids & Family latino Musical political drama FOX Crunchyroll series Nominations WarnerMedia 2018 Lucasfilm television Disney streaming service Spring TV Holidays Starz Awards Freeform dragons crime drama Pirates TLC The Arrangement police drama Paramount Network Action festivals ratings adaptation Adult Swim facebook See It Skip It halloween TCM E! Black Mirror Animation Interview harry potter PaleyFest Comedy historical drama revenge BBC TIFF Amazon casting Classic Film game show