Donald Glover film

Some Movies to See This Weekend, February 27, 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015 Rob Samuelson

Only two new wide releases reach theaters this weekend, but with March becoming a reality on Sunday, these movies are part of a larger Hollywood trend in recent years. It's lately been in vogue for studios to release untested, “original” (re: properties that are not already huge money makers in other forms of entertainment) material to see what sticks. Younger filmmakers are given some more shots, oddball ideas are greenlighted, and we end up with some interesting movies – and usually very good ones – like Watchmen, How to Train Your Dragon, and an Oscar nominee from just last week, The Grand Budapest Hotel.





Focus
Directors: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Writers: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Adrian Martinez



Will Smith hasn't done a movie geared toward adults in a while. It's been almost exclusively blockbuster work for him since Ali in 2001, albeit with a couple detours here and there. So it's exciting to see him take on the con man genre with a hint of sleaze attached. Smith plays Nicky, a schemer and grifter who seems pretty adept at his job. An old flame, played by The Wolf of Wall Street's Margot Robbie, comes back into his life and things get wacky. It's well-worn stuff, sure, but there's a breezy gloss to the trailer that recalls Michael Mann and even The Sting. People get beat up and bleed here, they have a bit more snarl to them, they are a tiny bit rougher around the edges. This could be a solid entertainment for people who don't just want Smith's gargantuan charisma in movies where he has to save the world from aliens.

The Lazarus Effect
Director: David Gelb
Writers: Luke Dawson, Jeremy Slater
Starring: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, Donald Glover



The premise of The Lazarus Effect suggests a cheapie horror flick, but its cast is so wonderfully weird and talented. Duplass and Glover come from the comedy world and Wilde is one of the better dramatic actresses of our day. Wilde plays Duplass's wife/lover who suffers an accident in their Frankenstein-esque life regeneration lab. In his grief over her death, he hooks her up to the untested machine and poof, she comes back to life. But things are different about her. Stuff goes wrong. Her eyes turn ink black, which isn't good. There has to be something to this script or director Gelb's pitch to them that elevates this to something special, because it's rare for everyone in a cast like this to be slumming it just for a paycheck.

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