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The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
The Tomatometer is 75% or higher, with 40 reviews (movies) or 20 reviews (TV). At least 5 reviews from Top Critics.
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Estranged friends begrudgingly reunite at behest of former leader-cum-has-been for epic bar crawl. Greasy, leather-clad Simon Pegg really sells the once-cool-badass-vibe-now-tinged-with-glory-days-delusion. The rest of the ragtag quintet are charming, especially handsome/nerdy Martin Freeman and blustery Nick Frost as straight men.
When the robot plot starts though, the movie devolves from a hilarious and bittersweet story about friends growing up and apart, to a merely average sci-fi spectacle.
Contract killers from the future are sent back in time to be terminated by their younger selves, but one man is able to escape certain death. Helluva twisty ride, and despite the time travel concept and JGL's ridiculous Bruce Willis make-up, it's much more sensical than Rian Johnson's debut "Brick." The first act still retains Johnson's penchant for quick cool patois, but it's used as straightforward exposition and not verbose McGuffins.
The second act relies on some icky "saved by the love of a good woman" tripe, but the introduction of Emily Blunt's character as a fiercely protective mother of the future's sociopathic despot is surprisingly raw and heartbreaking.
I wouldn't say the ending is predictable, but when it came, I thought, "Oooof cooourse. It's the most logical ending." So yeah, the movie is pretty satisfying as a whole, but the looping quality makes for a Terminator paradox. If "this" never happened, why would "that" need to happen in the future, you know what I mean?
Much credit should be given to this mammoth undertaking: actors committed to a story for twelve years, and the young Ellar Coltrane is indeed magnetic and soulful. However, the movie could have easily been called "Motherhood," or "Fatherhood," or "Girlhood" because any of those characters' stories are equally if not more compelling than Mason's.
Mason is a smart but misunderstood kid who becomes an emo-hipster loner artiste. It's all a bit predictable, and the plot points are somewhat emotionally manipulative. There are so many douchey stepfather figures, but we get some melodramatic Lifetimey moments, then nothing else. What happens to the stepsiblings? The girlfriend drama seems so calculated and random especially since by all accounts, Sheena and Mason seem to really have a mature soul connection. The pale attempt at "Before Sunrise"-esque introspection at the end with new college girl is bland and inarticulate in a millennial way.
A magician con artist is tasked to expose a winsome psychic, and sparks fly! Colin Firth is dashingly aloof, and Emma Stone is blissfully light, but they lack chemistry together. Perhaps it's their age difference; perhaps it's their characters' lack of actual getting to know each other. The central question of the movie seems to be about faith. Does a greater power exist, and if so, is Sophie a real psychic? However, these deep questions are forgotten in favor of Woody Allen's canned "opposites attract" romcom plot.
The most powerful scene of the movie (and a vulnerable piece of acting from Oscar-winner Firth) is the moment when devout atheist Stanley puts his trust in prayer. He prays for his aunt's recovery, but then he stops abruptly, and I expected him (and Woody for that matter) to transcend type to realize the selfishness of his prayer and instead pray for his aunt's peaceful passing.
But no, we get a motivation-less epiphany about Sophie's fraudulent predictions, which is difficult to believe because so much suspense has already been built up around her inexplicable phenomena that the audience is just meant to roll with it, but the movie pulls the rug out from under us in an unmasking that is too deus ex machina.
Tour de force performance from Jenny Slate. She may be the nasally Jewish princess on "Parks & Recreation" and the baby-cute Marcel the Shell, but girl's got range. Slate carries this movie as Donna, a stand-up comedienne who gets pregnant from a one-night stand and decides to have an abortion. Her stand-up is raunchy but candid, her vulnerability is quirky yet tragic, and her "flustration" is sweetly abashed. A cast of adorable supporting characters also lends this quarter-life crisis movie a dash of light optimism.
What's also great about this story is that it's truly unpredictable. Is she going to get the abortion? Is she going to fall in love with this new vanilla bean beau? Some viewers might think Max is unrealistic - too understanding and too patient - but Max and Donna clearly have great chemistry. He likes her; he's not just there to further her story. Everything that needs to happen happens, but none of it is too cooked.