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Critical Mass: Free Fire a bullet-riddled joyride, Unforgettable is campy fun

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A24; Warner Bros.; Open Road Films

Brie Larson’s latest movie is hitting theaters Friday, just as Katherine Heigl prepares to go head-to-head with Rosario Dawson in the campy thriller Unforgettable. Both films are gunning for audience affection at the box office in the days ahead, though lower-profile titles like The Promise and The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki are making their mark on domestic screens, too. With so many new and holdover titles to choose from, EW wants you to make good choices at the movies, so consult our Critical Mass reviews guide below before heading to the multiplex this weekend.

Free Fire

Opens April 21 in theaters nationwide.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

What ensues is an hour or so of ultraviolent slapstick, as a dozen or so characters all dig in for cover and squeeze off endless rounds of ammo punctuated by dialogue that’s reminiscent of Elmore Leonard in air quotes. It’s hard to take any of it seriously. Which is what makes it work as well as it does. (Hammer’s and Copley’s hilarious performances don’t hurt either.) Just imagine what an Itchy and Scratchy short directed by Sam Peckinpah would look like. That’s Free Fire. B+

Read the full review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 69%

Metacritic: 61

The Promise

Opens April 21 in theaters nationwide.

EW’s Leah Greenblatt says:

The outbreak of WWI, and the subsequent cleansing of ethnic Armenians — a genocide the Turkish government has still not officially recognized — allows director Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) to pivot to a sort of bloody, compressed history lesson. But even lush set pieces and a raft of prestige players (including Shohreh Aghdashloo, James Cromwell, and Jean Reno) can’t fulfill the movie’s pretty, ultimately empty promise. C+

Read the full review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 41%

Metacritic: 46

Unforgettable

Opens April 21 in theaters nationwide.

EW’s Leah Greenblatt says:

Jessica Walter memorably played a similar type early in her career opposite Clint Eastwood in Play Misty For Me, Alicia Silverstone took her first baby steps on the path to stardom in The Crush, and Glenn Close managed to even snag an Oscar nomination for Fatal Attraction. I’ll go out on a limb and predict that Heigl won’t be feted by the Academy for the otherwise forgettable Unforgettable. But this surprisingly tasty serving of delirious junk food might just get audiences and Hollywood casting directors seeing her in a new light. B–

Read the full review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 42%

Metacritic: 46

The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki

Opens April 21 in limited release.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

Shot verite-style on inky, 16mm black and white, which gives the film the look of a long-lost French New Wave import, The Happiest Day is a small-scale, bittersweet boxing story where boxing seems to be almost beside the point. Instead, it’s the quiet, simple moments between Olli and Raija that stick with you, whether he’s giving her a ride on the handlebars of his bicycle on their way to a country wedding or skipping stones across the smooth surface of a lake. Olli isn’t a blood-thirsty bull who rages; he’s a conflicted young man standing atop a pedestal who happens to be afraid of heights. B

Read the full review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

Metacritic: 84

The Fate of the Furious

Now playing.

EW’s Leah Greenblatt says:

It wouldn’t be a Furious climax if there weren’t inordinately expensive moving objects to destroy (in this case, a military submarine), a remarkably one-sided barrage of high-grade weaponry (bad guys, dead; good guys, ricochet!), and an explosive hail-Mary finale so sublimely ridiculous it defies both good sense and gravity. (It helps, perhaps, that several main players have no hair to singe.) The movie ends with more than one literal bang, but the series’ fate is hardly sealed; it’s merely to be continued: There are two more sequels due by 2021. B

Read the full review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 66%

Metacritic: 56

The Boss Baby

Now playing.

EW’s Darren Franich says:

But there are worst case scenarios, instances where empty cynicism dissolves into sour snark, where the pretense at self-awareness becomes its own retrograde stupidity. Consider the cultural devolution from something like Wicked — a lacerating female-first deconstruction of an old children’s story — to Oz, The Great and Powerful, the story of a money-obsessed con man with a heart of gold who gets the good girl by vanquishing all the bad girls. Consider the whole quotemarky “It’s just a joke!” tone of online discourse, the rise of smirking insincerity as a political mode and an intellectual dialectic. And then there’s The Boss Baby, merely mediocre yet disturbingly familiar, for we are all Boss Babies now. C

Rotten Tomatoes: 53%

Metacritic: 50

Beauty and the Beast

Now playing.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

Once in the castle, Belle and Beast both quickly (too quickly) change: He goes from cruel captor to fellow book lover; she goes from fiery inmate to besotted Stockholm Syndrome victim in time for their love to save the day. Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s musical numbers are peppered throughout along with some new ones by Menken and Tim Rice. Like so much about Condon’s film, the new songs are perfectly fine, but they’re just not transporting. More than movies or theme parks, Disney has always been in the business of selling magic. I wish there was just a little bit more of it in this Beauty and the Beast. B–

Read the full review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%

Metacritic: 65

Smurfs: The Lost Village

Now playing.

EW’s Joey Nolfi says:

For how topical its inclinations are, it’s still wrapped in a ridiculous package hand-delivered by cyan humanoids. Absurdity isn’t always the mark of simplicity, however. Ambitious films like Inside Out and Zootopia — about personified emotions living inside a girl’s brain and a city populated by talking animals — prove sharp wit and kid-friendly appeal don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The Lost Village buckles under the pressure of the bar set by far superior titles that have come before it, skimping on narrative nuances in favor of a showy fireworks display that’s bound to distract the little ones on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but might leave mommy and daddy blue in the face. C-

Read the full review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 38%

Metacritic: 40

Going in Style

Now playing.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

Going in Style is, of course, a remake of a 1979 comedy that starred George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg as a trio of old coots who decide to spice up their Geritol years by sticking up a bank in Groucho schnozzes. It’s a bittersweet, heartfelt, and very funny movie (go rent it instead of seeing this) mainly because the heist is almost beside the point. It’s more about the bedrock friendship between three lonely old men. It’s a character movie, not an action movie. And we’re always laughing with the characters, not at them and how old they are. In the new version, Joe, Willie, and Albert watch The Bachelorette and get really invested the outcome. They smoke pot with a gangster and get the munchies. They attempt a practice heist on a supermarket and get away on a motorized old-folks scooter. Ann-Margret even pops up as a horny, hot-to-trot grandma to lob lusty innuendos at Arkin. I kept waiting for someone to make a joke about the size of his prostate. Thankfully, it never came. C

Read the full review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 46%

Metacritic: 50