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

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