*Focus lets Will Smith rehab his image by playing the familiar part of the smooth-talking, streetwise charmer, but the con game genre also offers him an opportunity to investigate and penetrate the facade of celebrity. Unfortunately, Ficarra and Requa are all about facades, and Focus is a film that exists entirely on its enticing surfaces. In the moment, it’s an entertaining enough hustle, but scratch the paint and a lot of formulaic chintz starts to show.
*Capsule version HERE.
*The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a two-hour long catnap, affable and picturesque and well-lit enough to remain watchable between long, slow blinks, but also about as pointless and dull as a movie can get. Madden and screenwriter Ol Parker spell out every dramatic problem and its obvious solution in the film’s pre-credits sequence, and then they spend 122 minutes obstinately sticking to that plan, laying only the most hackneyed narrative roadblocks in the path.