By Joey Nolfi
April 28, 2017 at 02:50 PM EDT


  • Movie

The summer movie season is nearly upon us, but April still has one more Friday to win audiences over. Critics, however, have not come around on Emma Watson’s latest, The Circle, which co-stars Tom Hanks as the leader of a shady tech company with nefarious intentions. After a string of high profile underperformers at the domestic box office in recent weeks, EW wants you to make good choices at the movies in the days ahead, so consult our Critical Mass reviews guide below before heading to the multiplex.

The Circle

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

It’s so obvious that Hanks and his second in command at The Circle (Patton Oswalt, who’s ominous character might as well be named Snidely Whiplash) are up to no good that there’s nowhere for the film to go with any shred of surprise. Ponsoldt and Eggers are making a satire, but they don’t seem to understand that good satire requires a light touch rather than a heavy hand. As Mae gets sucked deeper and deeper into The Circle (more Kool-Aid, please!), she becomes less and less convincing and sympathetic. If we can all see how baldly nefarious The Circle is, why can’t she? And if she can’t, then why should we care about her? Naturally, there comes a moment in the film when Mae will wake up and see through the lies and all of Eamon’s pseudo-compassionate visionary doublespeak. But by then, it’s way too late for us to care. The Circle is a movie wrestling with real ideas we should all be concerned about, but it’s doing it with one arm tied behind its back. C–

Rotten Tomatoes: 22%

Metacritic: 43

Casting JonBenét

Now streaming on Netflix.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

It’s a fascinating meditation on acting and empathy. What it’s not is nonfiction. In fact, at times it feels downright exploitative and prurient — a collection of half-baked, uninformed gossip and speculation. After listening to dozens of these hopefuls explain why they think JonBenét’s mother killed her because she wet her bed, or how her young brother did it in a violent accident, or that a local creep did it because he was obsessed with her cotton-candy perfection, you might get the feeling that you’re looking at a mirror broken into a thousand little pieces, none of which on its own reflects the truth. A clever filmmaking experiment? Without a doubt. A satisfying one? Not so much. C+

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%

Metacritic: 74


EW’s Darren Franich says:

Sleight‘s real problem—this could be a spoiler, but it’s all anyone seems to be talking about—is that it isn’t just a cliché crime film. It’s a cliché superhero origin story. Bo’s a street magician, but he’s also got powers. The nature of those powers are initially mysterious and then splendidly absurd—there’s talk of a “feedback oscillator.” Given how corporate and one-percent-ish most superhero movies feel, Sleight earns points for grounding its hero in a real-feeling world. But there’s a sense of contrivance, too, and as the film becomes more about superpowers, it also loses its particularity, and becomes a weirdly expository melodrama. (“How do I get nine grand by midnight tonight?”) You’d hope that a film like this could put a bold new spin on the superhero story. The reverse is true: Here we are in 2017, and even our nifty low-budget crime movies are building a cinematic universe, and saving the best stuff for the sequel.C

Rotten Tomatoes: 68%

Metacritic: 64

The Fate of the Furious

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

Rotten Tomatoes: 66%

Metacritic: 56

The Boss Baby

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

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–

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%

Metacritic: 65

Going in Style

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

Rotten Tomatoes: 45%

Metacritic: 50

Smurfs: The Lost Village

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-

Rotten Tomatoes: 37%

Metacritic: 40


  • Movie
  • R
  • 90 minutes
  • J.D. Dillard