Film reviews: new releases from June 30 to July 2

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  • Universal Pictures / DreamWorks Animation
  • The Boss Baby: family business

The Boss Baby: Family business ** 1/2

The original 2017 Boss Baby got away with imitating Toy storythe allegory of sibling rivalry through relentless energy and visual imagination; this sequel seems to double the formula, with diminishing returns. Our imaginative hero Tim Templeton is now an adult (James Marsden) and a father himself with two daughters, and a distant relationship with his younger brother, former Boss Baby / now wealthy businessman Ted (Alec Baldwin). But when Tim’s little Tina (Amy Sedaris) is revealed to be a Baby Corp agent, the Templetons are thrown back into another world-threatening scenario. Naturally, this is all just a facade for Tim to mend the fraying bonds not only with Ted, but with his eldest daughter Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt), in a premise that finds Tim and Ted both grown old. of their childhood. It’s pretty engaging at the moment, with crazy baby ninja and Jeff Goldblum running a possibly spooky Montessori-style school, but it’s hard to know what returning director Tom McGrath is trying to prove by continuing to push. the Toy story comparisons: a toy moaning about being stuck in the attic; an attempted escape from a daycare center; the child version of Tim taking the alias “Lightspeed”. It’s starting to feel like a weird flex, except the manic energy here can’t find a real heart to match. Available July 2 in theaters and via Peacock. (PG)

The God Committee ** 1/2
Some theatrical works simply seem ill-suited to cinematic translation, and that seems to be the case with writer / director Austin Stark’s adaptation of Mark St. Germain’s play. The story is split into two periods, seven years apart, focused on two New York cardiac surgeons, Dr. Jordan Taylor (Julia Stiles) and Dr. Andre Boxer (Kelsey Grammer) – on the transplant committee of ‘organs at their hospital, faced with a decision as to which of the three applicants will get a new heart, as well as the ramifications afterwards. It’s no surprise that money complicates the decision-making process, as well as Taylor and Boxer’s personal relationship, and the text intriguingly grapples with questions of medical ethics, the greater good, and where hard data can’t tell the whole story. But while Stiles and Grammer effectively anchor the cast, Stark never quite makes heavy cinematic history like this, built on thorny philosophical questions, needs to work on a screen, without the in-person passions of the actors. in the room. And there’s a weirdly anti-climate quality to the resolution, which seems to leave people off the hook. Life and death issues can be the subject of great drama, but not always when a camera is on people talking about life and death issues while sitting around a table. Available July 2 in theaters and on VOD. (NR)

No sudden movement *** 1/2
Everything is blurry around the edges here, as Ed Solomon’s script full of double and triple crosses harmonizes perfectly with the fisheye lenses used by director Steven Soderbergh (oops, make that cinematographer “Peter Andrews”) . In 1954, in Detroit, three petty criminals – Curt (Don Cheadle), Ronald (Benicio Del Toro) and Charlie (Kieran Culkin) – take on a seemingly straightforward job involving a bit of commercial espionage, but which almost immediately goes awry. The narrative weaves its way through multiple subplots, providing great moments for a supporting cast including Jon Hamm, Amy Seimetz, Bill Duke, and Ray Liotta, and a premise to follow the theft of what initially seemingly McGuffin-esque quichamacallit. But as entertaining as it is to watch the characters try to outsmart (and survive) each other, Solomon ends up snooping into something perfectly cynical about the wealth and power that manages to conjure up. Chinese district. It is all built around reminders of where people exist in the pecking order, from what they are respectively paid for the same job, to how an incompetent middle class white man can succeed. come out unscathed. A guest cast member might point it out a bit too clearly in what amounts to a “villain speech,” but that doesn’t undermine the way this heist thriller gives its genre pleasures a jerk of relevance. Available July 1 via HBO Max. (D)

The summer of the soul *** 1/2
See the feature review. Available July 2 in theaters and via Hulu. (PG-13)

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Chris Pratt in The Tomorrow War - PARAMOUNT PICTURES / AMAZON PRIME

  • Paramount Pictures / Amazon Prime
  • Chris Pratt in The war of tomorrow

The war of tomorrow ***
Many familiar elements from other movies make up the DNA of this sci-fi show, but the way they’re put together is still very satisfying. In 2022, Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) is a veteran military / scientist dissatisfied with his life as a high school teacher – around the time humans 30 years into the future return to recruit fighters in a losing battle of ‘advance. against alien creatures. Writer Zach Dean builds the narrative around this time-worn disaster movie trope of distant / estranged family members, with a setting that also includes a huge dose of Extraterrestrial, Aliens and Edge of tomorrow. And attempts to incorporate other types of subtext – from the world’s likely reaction to news that the future is doomed, to veterans struggling with PTSD – are not sufficiently developed to give the impression of being more than symbolic efforts. Most of the time, though, it’s a big bug hunt, and director Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman Movie) gives the battle sequences a lot of excitement to match the magnificence of Lorne Balfe’s score, while it’s an interesting surprise to find the third act starting where other films in this genre would have simply ended. It would be nice to have a lead actor with more than just the awesome Pratt presence to anchor the attempts in an emotional core, but sometimes you find you just missed out on the kind of heroic action movie you’d really want. have the chance to play. a theatre. Available July 2 via Amazon Prime. (PG-13)

Tove ***
Real lives are messy, and biopics rarely allow this mess in their typical point-on-a-timeline narratives; this one doesn’t try to fit his main character into a tidy psychological box, for better or for worse. Director Zaida Bergroth portrays Finnish writer / artist Tove Jansson (Alma Pöysti), creator of the “Moomin” books and comics, through several crucial personal and professional moments from the mid 1940s to the early 1950s. Much of this material deals with two key romantic relationships: one with a man, socialist philosopher Atos Wirtanen (Shanti Roney), and the other with a woman, director Vivica Bandler (Krista Kosonen). But the focus is also on Tove’s uncertainty about his career path, as his success in comics clashes with his desire to be taken seriously as a visual artist, in part because of the pressures from his famous sculptor father, Viktor Jansson (Robert Enckell). There is enormous complexity in Tove’s personality, as a free-spirited creator torn between competing desires and societal influences, and Pöysti effectively plays this tension in a way that always feels like he is a coherent and singular person. It makes for a sometimes bumpy journey as fatherly and romantic conflicts intertwine without always being informed, but still worth it for a character study in all the ways someone may need to make peace with whoever. he is really. Available July 2 via (NR)

Zola ***
“Based on the tweet thread of …” sounds like a cruel joke version of storytelling in the social media age, but director Janicza Bravo and her co-writer Jeremy O. Harris go out of their way to provide a spark of punk energy. to this probably somewhat true story. In October 2015, waitress A’Ziah “Zola” King (Taylour Page) met Stefani Jezowski (Riley Keough) at work, and the two instantly became best friends. Stefani invites Zola on a trip to Florida where the two occasional pole dancers can do work, but it’s a different kind of job that Stefani is really up to. Nicholas Braun and Colman Domingo round out the supporting cast, and the main four are terrific for fleshing out this propelling caper tale. It’s really about how Bravo conveys the growing craziness of this story as it was tweeted in real time, from direct address storytelling to sound design highlighting the familiar noises of the digital age. , going through cases of unreliable storytelling. She and Harris never try to push Zola into some sort of grand statement about Who We Are Today, and fittingly for something inspired by a tweet thread, it basically stops rather than having an ending. real. Like Twitter itself, it might not offer a lot of substance, but someone who knows what she’s doing can make it an entertaining diversion. Available June 30 in theaters. (D)

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