The Movie Guru: Pixar’s “Luca” best of this week’s new movie releases
The Movie Guru gives her reviews on the latest releases
The Movie Guru
Though it starts out as a riff on “The Little Mermaid,” “Luca,” blossoms into something so much richer. The movie, which follows two young sea monster boys who are fascinated by the human world, becomes a big, warm-hearted adventure about friendship, family, the joy of learning, and the importance of crushing one’s enemies. There are some really funny moments, a few heartbreaking ones, and so much love you can’t help but feel warm while you watch it. Top it off with great animation and an Italian seaside locale that makes it feel even more summery, and Pixar has created another classic. (Also, pay attention to the credits. Not only is there a delightfully silly stinger scene, but the art shown throughout features scenes from the entire next year.)
Grade: Four stars
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (theaters)
As a big fan of “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” I really wanted the sequel to be good. Sadly, “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” drains everything even slightly genuine about the original, turning the characters into parodies of their already ridiculous selves. The movie even seems to forget half the plot points of the original movie, which is particularly annoying because screenwriter Tom O’Connor actually wrote the first film and was a major hand in the second. Even the fight scenes aren’t nearly as interesting, which means the movie’s only saving grace is Salma Hayek. She dives into the completely absurd role like she’s at the Olympics, delivering a performance as endearing as it is ridiculous. If there’s any pleasure in this movie, it happens when she’s onscreen. (Note: This movie is rated R)
Grade: One and a half stars
Since “Fatherhood” is the kind of movie that’s entirely dependent on Kevin Hart’s dramatic acting ability, I’ll admit I was nervous at first. But Hart is surprisingly good as a new father who soon finds himself a widower after his wife dies unexpectedly. Struggling to adjust to the demands of fatherhood without the support he’d expected, the movie is a moving, sometimes heartbreaking look at love, overcoming grief, and learning how to be a parent. It’s a quiet film, and sometimes a touch episodic, but this isn’t a movie about big dramatic moments. By the time the credits roll, you’ll appreciate that.
(Note: if you are feeling particularly sensitive about your children, or your father, be prepared to full-on sob at several points while watching this. Hart may not deliver an Oscar-worthy performance, but it’s clear he’s poured his own feelings about being a father into the role. On top of that, his chemistry with young Melanie Hurd is the most endearing thing about the movie. Heartstrings will be tugged.)
Grade: Three stars
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.