Jersey Boys (SSSSS): Director Clint Eastwood is a musician who loves music and pays it the deference it is due by playing each song in full, filmed live with no lip-syncing. The result is a Four Seasons concert combined with no-holds-barred story of the rise and travails of the group, three of whom were small time criminals.
Third Person (SSSS): Writer/director Paul Haggis used Michelangelo Antonioni’s germinal 1966 Blow Up as a touchstone in making this film, because both provide an exposition of the relationship of reality to illusion. The finale is exceptionally thought-provoking for those who have not been lost by the almost two and a half hour runtime. Mila Kunis sparkles above the outstanding ensemble cast, all of whom give fine performances.
22 Jump Street (S): Reminiscent of John McEnroe’s memorable rant, “You cannot be serious!,” some might claim that this is a really subtle “inside baseball” satire mocking buddy movies and male bonding, that Channing Tatum’s typically wooden performance is brilliantly camp, and that it’s all a big joke. That’s a meager excuse for a film that is inexcusably coarse, philistine, and excruciatingly unfunny.
Edge of Tomorrow (SSSS): This is a gripping, humorous time-travel movie that starts out on a high note with a fine confrontation between Major Tom Cruise, a smarmy PR man, and General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson), that lets Tom know what the army is all about. Thoroughly engrossing, it’s extremely well-directed with humor and pace by Doug Liman, who doesn’t allow the special effects to overshadow the story. Cruise does a terrific job of acting and his comedic talent makes the film something I wasn’t expecting at all.