God’s Pocket (SSSS): Veteran actor John Slattery makes his feature film directorial debut impressively by converting Pete Dexter’s 1983 novel into a dark, dark film highlighted by wonderful acting by a terrific cast, headlined by Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his last roles. The people in God’s Pocket live drab lives with almost nothing to look forward to. It’ not a happy story, but the acting is memorable.
Neighbors (S): This unfunny film is filled with scenes to appeal to 15 year old boys to try to make them titter in embarrassment with sexual themes, relying on cheap sex jokes and foul language as a substitute for humor. Aimed at a high school intellect that has just discovered sex, this has little appeal for anyone who can qualify as an adult. There are a lot of rutting scenes as well as hordes of college kids partying. This is entertainment? Zac Efron (now a shirtless hunk) has really gone downhill since he made such an auspicious appearance in Me and Orson Welles (2008) when he was 21.
For No Good Reason (SSSS): This is a fascinating, revealing documentary about artist Ralph Steadman, who “Rolling Stone’s” Jann Wenner says “was crazier than (gonzo journalist) Hunter S. Thompson” with whom Steadman worked. It shows Steadman creating one of his paintings from scratch, which emphasizes his bizarre work habits. Be warned, Johnny Depp adds exactly zero to the film, just following Steadman around like an adoring lapdog.
The Amazing Spiderman 2 (SS): The most preposterous of the superhero genre, this one is lowlighted by a complete lack of chemistry between putative lovers, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield. Except for the opening titles, the 3D is pretty much unnoticeable except for the few times that explosions cause particles to fly out in the audience’s faces, a passé trick first foisted on audiences back at the dawn of 3D in Bwana Devil (1952), which, as I recall, was more enjoyable than this.