½ out of four stars
Rated: PG-13 for brief language and some thematic material.
TV comedy stars enjoy dropping the smiley face and grabbing film roles that offer an opportunity to demonstrate their dramatic range. Having gone all military in Michael Bay’s “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” John Krasinski (“The Office”) moves a little easier in this semi-serious starring/directing effort. Here he’s a meek, blocked cartoonist coping with the life-threatening brain tumor of his hospitalized mom (Margo Martindale) and a case of the breakup blues with his rich, emotionally needy and pregnant girlfriend (Anna Kendrick).
The movie has a choice cast, with Richard Jenkins as his difficult (but funny) father, Sharlto Copley as his maddening, racist (but silly) brother, and Charlie Day as his mother’s annoying (but zany) nurse. But the script spins far too many plates in the air as each disturbing character’s dull story arc of petty grievances boomerangs its way back to Krasinski’s man-child problems. It is a perfect storm of boredom.
The People vs. Fritz Bauer
⋆⋆⋆ out of four stars
Rated: R for sexual innuendo. In subtitled German
This absorbing historical drama radiates suspense, often recalling “Munich.” It doesn’t have the range of that movie, but it has the mood. Bauer (masterfully played by Burghart Klaussner) is a Jewish attorney general in West Germany in 1957. He’s tracking down former Nazi officials when he gets word that Adolf Eichmann may be in Argentina, setting off an intense investigation. Everyone — ally or enemy — has an agenda, a motive, a secret and an excuse.
Ken Jaworowski, New York Times