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?


Focus

56%

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

16%

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

E! Marvel Song of Ice and Fire YouTube romantic comedy Election Lifetime Christmas movies GoT independent sag awards spain Ghostbusters Academy Awards halloween indiana jones crime thriller Winners OneApp cooking VH1 witnail Classic Film TruTV Disney Channel Holidays Trophy Talk Reality Competition Disney+ Disney Plus Rock Chilling Adventures of Sabrina mutant strong female leads Lionsgate Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Cosplay animated a nightmare on elm street Sci-Fi The Purge based on movie Spike parents jamie lee curtis Captain marvel DC Universe TCA Awards Disney anthology series hispanic President sports comics LGBTQ Opinion crime nature supernatural TNT NYCC First Reviews Mary Tyler Moore Drama Turner Classic Movies classics CMT docudrama San Diego Comic-Con hist natural history YouTube Premium police drama Fantasy Lifetime Tarantino Trivia Travel Channel zombie Musical batman Reality justice league Pop WGN asian-american cats directors Action LGBT talk show ESPN teaser golden globes Film canceled video Red Carpet twilight Valentine's Day Schedule war BBC Toys PlayStation PBS DC streaming service worst 20th Century Fox Anna Paquin critics Pet Sematary Freeform Martial Arts anime Paramount Black History Month New York Comic Con harry potter cancelled television BET green book Comedy movie 2019 facebook cartoon Showtime scary movies Discovery Channel Comedy Central Summer south america breaking bad psychological thriller Vudu news science fiction Mystery werewolf TBS Stephen King cults sitcom ABC Family 24 frames Film Festival Emmy Nominations sequels Comic Book RT History dark universal monsters adaptation Ellie Kemper See It Skip It Universal Biopics YA TIFF Kids & Family stop motion 4/20 TCA 2017 AMC Hallmark Christmas movies DGA Rom-Com space HBO X-Men mission: impossible Apple video on demand 71st Emmy Awards Superheroe Cartoon Network nbcuniversal Paramount Network Food Network APB ghosts Grammys disaster Disney Plus emmy awards child's play CBS All Access latino Apple TV+ blaxploitation Columbia Pictures Oscars RT21 Infographic TCA unscripted ABC Fall TV Starz Sundance TV crossover binge DirecTV true crime aliens Horror Emmys Comics on TV BBC America 007 adventure reviews IFC Films Shudder TV game show casting revenge Sundance History Hulu Nominations Endgame blockbuster Interview CNN best SDCC Marathons travel Heroines HBO Max Awards rotten Teen Super Bowl award winner E3 Extras Pirates cinemax Rocky Avengers television satire Peacock The Walking Dead Watching Series Acorn TV BBC One Creative Arts Emmys The Arrangement 21st Century Fox cancelled TV shows A&E dogs spanish language First Look 2017 BET Awards name the review Arrowverse Premiere Dates Superheroes TCM YouTube Red Baby Yoda The CW Nickelodeon spinoff concert serial killer FXX screen actors guild versus Sony Pictures Epix Awards Tour psycho MCU cancelled 72 Emmy Awards finale comiccon National Geographic theme song renewed TV shows Thanksgiving A24 discovery dramedy boxoffice Hallmark 45 quibi PaleyFest Ovation TLC comedies book Mary Poppins Returns SundanceTV Chernobyl FX Pride Month Crackle richard e. Grant Country Television Critics Association Winter TV Spring TV FOX Netflix doctor who SXSW Musicals Character Guide Fox News Tomatazos GLAAD HBO Go reboot Amazon Prime TV renewals transformers Black Mirror comic Logo hollywood social media Tubi Amazon Studios Marvel Television Star Trek MSNBC singing competition Year in Review Certified Fresh FX on Hulu Cannes Set visit Mindy Kaling Brie Larson Sundance Now what to watch American Society of Cinematographers historical drama indie Amazon Prime Video Tumblr Britbox dragons CW Seed composers Spectrum Originals Television Academy Christmas obituary films Box Office documentary Podcast stand-up comedy period drama biography Crunchyroll franchise Writers Guild of America Dark Horse Comics Rocketman foreign TV Land Mary poppins slashers dceu cancelled TV series documentaries 2020 Shondaland miniseries politics Esquire Holiday NBC spider-man CBS Photos 2015 Elton John laika IFC festivals criterion tv talk Apple TV Plus ITV all-time WarnerMedia zombies OWN robots Syfy El Rey Trailer superhero Warner Bros. 2016 zero dark thirty Masterpiece Quiz Sneak Peek Marvel Studios Bravo canceled TV shows Walt Disney Pictures DC Comics free movies Animation Video Games BAFTA Polls and Games Best and Worst screenings Netflix Christmas movies dc Western kids rotten movies we love sequel Adult Swim technology elevated horror Lucasfilm Turner VOD movies Hear Us Out spy thriller stoner Mudbound Music streaming Pixar Nat Geo chucky Star Wars GIFs children's TV diversity crime drama christmas movies vampires die hard romance Binge Guide Family 2018 TCA Winter 2020 Funimation toy story political drama game of thrones Calendar Women's History Month cars medical drama Countdown The Witch MTV VICE Pop TV ratings USA USA Network cops Amazon thriller fast and furious mockumentary joker Disney streaming service