Depending on who you are, The Age of Adaline is the kind of movie that’s sure to elicit either tears or groans. Critics say that while this magic realist romantic fantasy boasts stellar production values and strong performances from Blake Lively and Harrison Ford, its tonal and narrative inconsistencies keep it from fully cohering. Lively stars as the title character, who, through a supernatural occurrence, has remained 29 for nearly a century. In order to keep her secret, she’s lived a mostly solitary life, but a love-struck suitor unwittingly brings Adaline’s strange state of being to light. The pundits say that if you’re willing to go with it, The Age of Adaline casts a bittersweet spell — though it may be a bit too saccharine for some tastes.
Little Boy is a well-meaning, warm-hearted tale about the dangers of prejudice and the power of faith. Unfortunately, critics say it’s also hopelessly corny, heavy-handed, and dramatically dull, despite the best efforts of a top-notch cast. When his father is taken as a prisoner of war while fighting in the Pacific, seven-year-old Pepper Busbee (Jakob Salvati) is beside himself with heartache. Refusing to give up hope, the oft-bullied Pepper sets out to will his father home through a combination of faith and good deeds. The pundits say Little Boy is earnest but predictable, hammering home its message without an ounce of subtlety. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Watson’s best-reviewed movies, and watch our video interview with Salvati and co-star Michael Rapaport.)
A psychological thriller for an age of runaway technological advancement, critics say Ex Machina is thoughtful, chilling science fiction with a breakout performance from Alicia Vikander. Domhnall Gleeson stars as a computer wiz who’s tasked by his company’s reclusive CEO with testing the artificial intelligence of a remarkably lifelike robot (Vikander); in doing so, our hero begins to question the nature and limits of humanity. Critics say the Certified Fresh Ex Machina is visually striking, emotionally resonant, and deeply unsettling.