RICKY & THE FANTASTIC SHEEP - Movie of the Week
RICKY & THE FANTASTIC SHEEP
For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Aug. 7, 2015
It must be August. The studios are starting to dump more than the usual number of films into theaters as summer winds down. But they’re not all clunkers. This weekend, there are two the studios hope will make money (“Fantastic Four,” “Shaun the Sheep”) and a couple they hope will hang in there for the upcoming awards season (“Ricki & the Flash,” “Irrational Man”).
“Ricki & the Flash” (PG-13). Once again Meryl Streep reinvents herself, this time as an aging rock ‘n‘ roll star who abandoned her family years earlier and now returns home to try and win over her estranged children. Mamie Gummer, Streep’s real-life daughter, co-stars as one of those children, with Kevin Kline as the ex-husband and Audra McDonald as Kline’s second wife. Rick Springfield is also here. Directed by Jonathan Demme.
“Fantastic Four” (PG-13). After two film versions of these Marvel characters in 2005 and 2007, do we really need a reboot this soon? Shades of “Spider-Man.” This time out, the four are played by Miles Teller as Mr. Fantastic, Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch, Kate Mara as Invisible Woman and Jamie Bell as Thing, and, yes, it’s another origin story.
“Shaun the Sheep Movie” (PG). Stop-motion comedy from the British Aardman Animation studio (“Wallace and Gromit,” “Chicken Run”) relies heavily on sight gags instead of dialogue, using characters from the “Shaun the Sheep” TV series. The plot has the mischievous sheep having to rescue the farmer after he contracts amnesia in the big city.
“Irrational Man” (R). A philosophy professor (Joaquin Phoenix) is depressed and inert until he decides to try and commit the perfect murder, which suddenly reinvigorates him. Written and directed by Woody Allen in what appears to be more “Match Point” or “Crimes and Misdemeanors” mode than “Midnight in Paris” or “Magic in the Moonlight,” despite the presence of Emma Stone, who also starred in the latter. Parker Posey co-stars.
“The Gift” (R). Dark, edgy thriller with Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall as a happily a married couple whose life is disrupted by a strange visitor (Joel Edgerton) from Bateman’s past, and he is the apparent keeper of a terrible secret from their high school days together.
“Dark Places” (R). Adapted from a novel by Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”), this thriller stars Charlize Theron as a woman who has been living unhappily in the shadow of her brother (Corey Stoll), who’s in prison for the murder of their parents. But now some young investigators are reopening the case and casting doubt on his guilt. (Exclusively at the Tower Theater.)
“The Look of Silence” (PG-13). Documentary about genocide in the 1960s in Indonesia, following a member of one affected family as he returns to the scenes of the crimes to confront those who took the life of his older brother. (Exclusively at the Broadway Centre Cinemas.)