All Eyez on Me
★★ out of four stars
Rated: R for language throughout, drug use, violence, some nudity and sexuality.
Revolutionary rapper Tupac Shakur was a controversial, brilliant artist cut down in his prime, who only became more iconic after his death, and his life story has been overdue for the biopic treatment. But this disorganized effort isn’t worthy of its subject’s remarkable life.
The first 45 minutes of the film never jell, with bizarre transitions and characters that are scarcely introduced. It feels like much was left on the editing room floor, though even more could have gone. The film only finds its legs in the second half, as Tupac becomes caught up in drama with Death Row Records, Suge Knight and the East Coast/West Coast rap beef.
Playing Shakur is newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr., who does an eerily good job of mimicking the rapper. But the script is shallow. Tupac was a complicated, nuanced person, and that complexity is missing. While it’s a delight to watch Shipp channel Tupac, ultimately, the imitation doesn’t come close to the real thing.
Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
47 Meters Down
★★ out of four stars
Rated: PG-13 for sequences of intense peril, bloody images and strong language. In English and Spanish.
What is the difference between a film and a panic attack? When it’s a movie about two young women who go shark-watching in a scuba cage and become marooned on the ocean floor as their air runs out and great whites circle, well, there’s not much difference at all.
Mandy Moore and Claire Holt play sisters who decide, with some misgivings, to go underwater sightseeing off the Mexican coast, a choice that sets in motion nonstop danger. Brilliant plotting, character development and cinematography aren’t just unnecessary in this sort of project, they’re counterproductive. What it gives us instead are murky, barely visible areas possibly hiding toothy maws, life-threatening escape strategies and scuba speakers allowing the pair to assure each other, “We’re going to get out of here!”
The chills and shocks are passably effective, though repetitive, as is much of the stars’ histrionic dialogue. Still, it is frightening. The film functions less as a great thriller than as a good pitch to shift vacation travelers away from ocean trips toward ski holidays.
★★★ out of four stars
Rated: PG-13 for sexual references.
This is a clear-eyed movie about a clear-eyed woman trying to break through her malaise through decisive action. Indie writer/director/star Zoe Lister-Jones (TV’s “Life in Pieces”) has assembled an intriguing portrait of a stressed marriage that is also emblematic of this particular cultural and economic moment.
Anna (Lister-Jones) and Ben (Adam Pally, “The Mindy Project”) are struggling musicians who also are coping with a miscarriage, which has devastated them, and they keep getting into arguments about stupid things. Lister-Jones has a light touch with this, but the audience is aware that we’re seeing something serious. As a way of solving two problems at once — their artistic stagnation and their marital discord — they decide to put together a band and start turning their arguments into songs. The movie suffers from some slow spots, but it also makes us believe in this couple.
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle