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

CBS All Access First Look GLAAD Britbox Lucasfilm TCA Awards cooking sag awards VOD Comedy Lifetime Christmas movies Mary Poppins Returns game of thrones TBS Sneak Peek jamie lee curtis ITV First Reviews true crime spain cartoon movies casting joker Endgame Syfy HBO Go Tomatazos worst movies A24 YouTube Premium concert Pop TV biography New York Comic Con Pop Tumblr Elton John BET Awards social media AMC technology OneApp festivals CMT 99% Film Festival diversity venice Tarantino stoner miniseries a nightmare on elm street talk show Creative Arts Emmys 2017 USA black Stephen King 2020 comic books elevated horror sequel Disney streaming service Photos strong female leads VICE Shudder cults nfl Holidays Masterpiece rotten Fox Searchlight boxing doctor who chucky Pride Month Alien CNN Dark Horse Comics ABC transformers justice league Song of Ice and Fire Martial Arts Classic Film crime Columbia Pictures psycho ABC Family fresh CBS blockbuster Marvel Television romance Warner Bros. political drama Spectrum Originals Rocketman Fantasy Food Network FX on Hulu Polls and Games hispanic Cannes disaster Sony Pictures discovery TIFF Turner Classic Movies 2018 Turner remakes series reviews quibi BBC America Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Marathons documentaries video on demand Premiere Dates DC streaming service Winter TV Lifetime E! Amazon Ellie Kemper french south america films halloween tv 71st Emmy Awards RT History Star Trek 24 frames Avengers TV spinoff cats Pirates tv talk parents Rocky critics blaxploitation slashers Hallmark Pixar toy story archives Action Disney zero dark thirty best Bravo 2019 obituary Marvel renewed TV shows Heroines Sundance TV Paramount Network Disney Plus Music TCA Winter 2020 TV Land Schedule comics Spring TV Opinion Set visit American Society of Cinematographers Black Mirror natural history cinemax revenge GIFs Writers Guild of America Cartoon Network fast and furious witnail Universal Drama The Academy APB Horror nbcuniversal Crunchyroll Watching Series franchise cancelled television japanese SundanceTV Superheroes deadpool kids NYCC latino scary movies Television Academy Hallmark Christmas movies child's play E3 Netflix zombie TCM Reality Competition halloween Film Peacock Reality theme song Academy Awards stop motion Sci-Fi The Witch LGBTQ nature Biopics YouTube romantic comedy History cops BBC supernatural PBS psychological thriller dark SXSW historical drama Television Critics Association Travel Channel Baby Yoda Sundance Character Guide satire The Walking Dead DC Comics football Trophy Talk See It Skip It Apple TV Plus hist National Geographic police drama universal monsters VH1 Comics on TV cancelled TV shows free movies Crackle Emmy Nominations versus Teen binge Podcast Netflix Christmas movies spanish language cancelled TV series ratings mission: impossible space facebook adaptation Best and Worst laika Disney+ Disney Plus Countdown Year in Review 2015 Shondaland Trailer stand-up comedy WGN asian-american Star Wars Pet Sematary sports Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Comedy Central golden globes BAFTA Nickelodeon teaser Ghostbusters dceu werewolf TNT MSNBC FX canceled scorecard thriller Lionsgate Black History Month Spike MCU WarnerMedia Awards Tour sequels spy thriller Super Bowl Rock Paramount Quiz BBC One zombies Sundance Now Starz The CW harry potter 2016 anthology superhero Captain marvel vampires X-Men aliens anime festival Tubi richard e. Grant criterion indie YouTube Red batman screenings Red Carpet comiccon Brie Larson Amazon Prime war award winner hollywood Anna Paquin cars independent indiana jones President breaking bad Box Office animated children's TV Marvel Studios Awards GoT Mary poppins 4/20 Hulu Superheroe 007 Freeform HBO Hear Us Out comic San Diego Comic-Con Showtime Summer streaming Fox News dragons FOX Funimation CW Seed based on movie Family Mary Tyler Moore travel Walt Disney Pictures ghosts television boxoffice MTV Discovery Channel Toys toronto Chernobyl Mindy Kaling IFC dramedy RT21 Logo twilight Kids & Family die hard Vudu christmas movies movie Women's History Month australia Election video comedies Nat Geo Mystery Mudbound dc PlayStation serial killer politics worst TruTV Musicals Apple Animation SDCC crossover foreign Nominations Binge Guide cancelled Extras screen actors guild USA Network Certified Fresh DGA Interview classics spider-man science fiction Valentine's Day DirecTV Epix game show El Rey name the review finale Infographic Apple TV+ OWN Musical Esquire documentary rotten movies we love Christmas medical drama LGBT Amazon Prime Video Trivia unscripted book 21st Century Fox Thanksgiving mutant DC Universe Arrowverse dogs Winners Video Games NBC The Purge sitcom Fall TV emmy awards Oscars TCA 2017 Grammys italian singing competition A&E The Arrangement directors Western Country robots FXX reboot canceled TV shows rt archives crime drama what to watch PaleyFest green book all-time YA Comic Book Rom-Com Calendar Adult Swim 45 ID Cosplay adventure BET james bond crime thriller period drama Disney Channel mockumentary spanish 20th Century Fox docudrama Emmys ESPN TLC TV renewals Holiday composers news Ovation IFC Films Amazon Studios TCA 72 Emmy Awards Acorn TV HBO Max