“She’s Funny That Way”: Peter Bogdanovich’s wobbly screwball barely makes it to the plate


“She’s Funny That Way” opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles, and is available on iTunes and video-on-demand. R, 1:33, two stars out of four.

Be wary of a great cast. That might seem counterintuitive — more good actors should make for a better movie, right? — but salting the credits with too many big names runs the risk of a celebrity pile-up on screen. That’s what happened with, for example, George Clooney’s “Monuments Men,” where the A-listers were so polite in making sure they didn’t outshine each other that they forgot to make a good movie.

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“Tomorrowland”: The future sure ain’t what it used to be


“Tomorrowland” opens Friday at Point, Palace, Star Cinema and Sundance. PG, 2:10, two stars out of four.

Brad Bird’s “Tomorrowland” may be directly inspired by the Disneyland theme park, but it may be more emotionally connected to the name of a Scottish rock band called We Were Promised Jetpacks. Back in the optimistic prognostications of the 1964 World’s Fair (where “Tomorrowland” begis), the future was a bright and peaceful place, without war, hunger or ignorance. Now it’s 2015, and the future belongs to drone strikes, crumbling Antarctic ice shelves and selfie sticks. Where’s our friggin’ jetpacks?

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“Gravity”: Still want to be an astronaut when you grow up, Susie?


“Gravity” opens Friday at Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema and Sundance. PG-13, 1:31, four stars out of four.

Below, the Earth slowly turns, lovely and unreachable. Above, an inky void of nothingness beckons. For 90 minutes Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” suspends its characters between the two, building unbearable tension in a tale of survival at 366,000 feet.

There are quibbles to  be made about some of the more pedestrian aspects of “Gravity” — the characters are a little simply drawn, the dialogue sometimes too on the nose. But as an experience of pure cinema, an appreciation of its ability to show terrible and wonderful things, I can’t think of its equal in 2013.

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