John Leguizamo

Winning ‘American Ultra’ let’s its freak flag fly

As entertaining as it is flawed, ‘American Ultra’ is sure to divide audiences with its haphazard mix of ultra-violence and heartfelt romance. A gleefully-belligerent experiment in style that thumbs its nose at your expectations.

Rubble Kings 01

‘Rubble Kings’ explores the explosion of NYC gang culture and the birth of Hip-Hop

Draped in graffiti, a rickety old subway train makes its way across a rugged slice of New York that looks more like Mad Max than Mad Men. Only seconds into director Shan Nicholson’s documentary Rubble Kings, the audience understands that the residents on display in the film’s South Bronx ghettos live in a place that barely qualifies as America.

‘Cymbeline’ is an admirable Shakespeare adaptation, but far too convoluted

Cymbeline is director Michael Almereyda’s second Shakespeare adaptation set in modern day, his last being 2000’s Hamlet, also starring Ethan Hawke. The Bard’s late work tragedy, previously set in the Royal Court of Olde England, receives a face-lift, updated to a war between the Roman police force and the Briton Motorcycle Club ran by Cymbeline (Ed Harris). The King trades in a crown for an Uzi and a leather jacket as a drug kingpin troubled by familial strife. His second wife (the serpentine Mila Jovovich) despises Cymbeline’s daughter, Imogen (Dakota Johnson, proving she has acting chops that viewers may not find in Fifty Shades of Grey), for not marrying her son, Cloten (Anton Yelchin). In secret, Imogen has pledged herself to Posthumus (Penn Badgley), much to Cymbeline’s displeasure.

‘Kick-Ass 2’ a smirky, incoherent, unpleasant jumble of a superhero satire

Kick-Ass 2 is a rare film, one that is so messy and unpleasant that it makes one wonder if its predecessor was actually any good. The cast has, mostly, returned, but director Matthew Vaughn has stepped back into the producer’s chair. Maybe that’s the issue, or maybe the graphic novel series on which this sequel is based is just too mean-spirited and nasty to make a satisfying transition to the big screen. Whatever the case, Kick-Ass 2 is a misguided, uncomfortable, cartoonish, and gratuitously violent affair that’s best ignored.

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