Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Focus is Sleek and Slick But Too Twisty

Plus, The Lazarus Effect could use a jolt of energy, and the latest episode of Better Call Saul is excellent.

by | February 26, 2015 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got con artists (Focus, starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie) and re-animators (The Lazarus Effect, starring Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass). What do the critics have to say?


Focus

56%

Right out of the gate, Focus has quite a bit going for it: it’s a slick caper flick that boasts glamorous scenery and magnetic performances from Will Smith and up-and-comer Margot Robbie. But while critics say that’s enough to sustain interest for much of the movie’s runtime, an overabundance of twists and turns may leave viewers feeling a little cheated themselves. Smith stars as Nicky Spurgeon, an experienced con man and pickpocket who takes Jess Barrett (Robbie), a talented grifter in her own right, under his wing. After a big score, however, their relationship takes a dark turn, which raises the question: who’s conning whom? The pundits say Smith is his old likeable self, and Robbie delivers a breakout performance, but Focus runs out of steam by the time it makes its big reveal. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Smith’s best-reviewed movies here.)



The Lazarus Effect

15%

Like a mashup of Frankenstein and Flatliners, The Lazarus Effect is the tale of a team of scientists trying to play God. Unfortunately, critics say the film does remarkably little with its intriguing premise and talented cast, resulting in a sci-fi frightfest with few scares and less-than-credible science. Engaged scientists Frank (Mark Duplass) and Zoe (Olivia Wilde) have discovered a way to bring the dead back to life. But when Zoe is killed in a lab accident, her colleagues re-animate her — and open a can of worms in the process. The pundits say The Lazarus Effect is pretty generic stuff that could use a jolt of electricity itself. (Read our interview with Duplass here here.)

What’s On TV:


“Hero” marks the essential early evolution of Saul’s conning skills, beginning his amusing transformation into the well-known Breaking Bad personality.

Stars Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon make a fine Oscar and Felix, but The Odd Couple‘s flat jokes and canned laughter are pretty old hat.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

Comic Book zombies independent Mystery BBC One award winner 2017 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards asian-american thriller streamig A&E Creative Arts Emmys dogs parents spider-verse BBC America Legendary Emmys green book Lucasfilm Ovation Best Picture Cartoon Network psycho Film Festival Television Critics Association cancelled TV series Sony Pictures new zealand Certified Fresh WGN 2020 remakes what to watch Superheroes TV Land dc Paramount Network free movies nbcuniversal tv talk Awards Hollywood Foreign Press Association Neflix Biopics Syfy Turner Classic Movies Lionsgate BET Showtime SXSW 2022 hispanic heritage month comic books Pop TV CNN Crackle scorecard posters art house japan foreign SXSW Sundance TV supernatural NYCC Oscars unscripted crime boxoffice debate Crunchyroll ghosts Apple Paramount Pictures OneApp Elton John TBS Kids & Family zero dark thirty heist movie feel good franchise mutant Mary Poppins Returns scary wonder woman sag awards concert rotten movies we love CW Seed halloween tv 45 crime thriller Thanksgiving FX werewolf reviews canceled italian critics gangster criterion Hallmark Christmas movies technology Toys slasher El Rey AMC crossover japanese Apple TV Plus vampires Family comedies Trivia documentaries Television Academy kong Masterpiece Lifetime Holiday Cannes harry potter TCA Awards Photos cars Universal doctor who Disney Channel aapi Musical The Academy breaking bad golden globe awards Travel Channel TV movies young adult leaderboard chucky halloween monster movies Best and Worst 93rd Oscars live action Food Network new york TCM DirecTV 71st Emmy Awards obituary South by Southwest Film Festival talk show Wes Anderson basketball joker E! 2015 Animation telelvision WarnerMedia video Sundance VH1 true crime black BAFTA target 90s movie critic resources cancelled television Nickelodeon french TCA Winter 2020 20th Century Fox CBS All Access Song of Ice and Fire series Tokyo Olympics CMT HFPA serial killer indie First Reviews Columbia Pictures popular dark scene in color film series dceu Interview batman OWN Avengers GIFs films Walt Disney Pictures book king kong Fargo miniseries marvel comics screen actors guild nature biography Opinion New York Comic Con stop motion genre BBC Prime Video FX on Hulu best 2021 mob LGBTQ scene in color Schedule PBS cooking cats comic San Diego Comic-Con elevated horror australia Polls and Games lord of the rings Mary Tyler Moore Writers Guild of America dexter RT21 south america blockbusters Box Office History Awards Tour emmy awards spider-man DC streaming service AMC Plus international festival Star Trek Calendar finale archives Image Comics legend casting USA Network crime drama Holidays slashers Apple TV+ HBO Sony Superheroe Brie Larson Chilling Adventures of Sabrina political drama obi wan Ghostbusters Freeform dreamworks psychological thriller suspense Baby Yoda mcc IFC action-comedy laika Disney+ Disney Plus black comedy spanish DC Comics know your critic mission: impossible Chernobyl satire Hallmark The Purge Bravo jamie lee curtis TLC docudrama Nat Geo Peacock prank Podcast Western IMDb TV name the review 007 HBO Go Trailer children's TV 2019 Sundance Now fresh X-Men transformers spinoff deadpool sopranos 21st Century Fox 72 Emmy Awards VOD Rocketman APB FOX TruTV Tomatazos based on movie romantic comedy Funimation Binge Guide Country festivals Comic-Con@Home 2021 adaptation fast and furious 73rd Emmy Awards canceled TV shows Fox News TV One Native PlayStation stand-up comedy marvel cinematic universe ESPN ViacomCBS broadcast superhero Pixar Fantasy Comics on TV anthology Exclusive Video Spring TV Fox Searchlight 1990s TV Mudbound sports Premiere Dates blockbuster Adult Swim MCU Tags: Comedy animated docuseries USA travel See It Skip It Tumblr Best Actress target scene in color rt archives diversity period drama Marvel comic book movies Heroines Esquire Indigenous summer TV preview olympics 79th Golden Globes Awards Disney comic book movie Mary poppins 2016 disaster DC Universe IFC Films science fiction cancelled TV shows james bond politics documentary Spike CBS NBA Paramount Tarantino HBO Max Horror Drama christmas movies singing competition Lifetime Christmas movies adenture Black History Month Sneak Peek SDCC football game of thrones directors Oscar Paramount Plus Reality Competition romance LGBT royal family spy thriller scary movies Film comics dramedy 94th Oscars sequels Grammys Netflix Christmas movies book adaptation Pride Month Hulu GLAAD superman NBC hollywood Black Mirror golden globes rotten movies Alien The Witch robots aliens The Walt Disney Company anime Marathons Best Director Mindy Kaling Set visit cops hispanic Comedy Central Reality twilight Classic Film kaiju Vudu TCA ABC mockumentary toy story cinemax 99% ID Shudder Shondaland medical drama FXX universal monsters all-time SundanceTV Comedy Amazon Prime Sci-Fi MTV Pet Sematary indiana jones Watching Series streaming Rom-Com GoT ratings summer TV YA godzilla spanish language The Walking Dead Academy Awards Turner Trophy Talk Red Carpet king arthur dragons Action kids Countdown Geeked Week Acorn TV discovery richard e. Grant game show video on demand streaming movies Tubi YouTube Premium First Look strong female leads Best Actor hist worst BET Awards television facebook reboot Starz Anna Paquin war rt labs MSNBC justice league VICE Pirates Christmas Stephen King Disney Plus trailers nfl Cosplay Focus Features theme song revenge cartoon ABC Family spain Amazon TIFF ITV 2018 24 frames E3 comiccon biopic DGA Britbox Music Fall TV Universal Pictures PaleyFest scene in color series sequel National Geographic Character Guide rt labs critics edition Extras MGM saw YouTube Ellie Kemper venice razzies Rock The CW Marvel Studios A24 space Star Wars Celebration worst movies toronto Musicals die hard TCA 2017 child's play Super Bowl Warner Bros. a nightmare on elm street vs. cancelled sitcom screenings TV renewals Infographic Netflix latino boxing Pop social media 4/20 high school police drama quibi trophy Nominations summer preview Hear Us Out pirates of the caribbean American Society of Cinematographers Video Games news adventure stoner Valentine's Day RT History Broadway jurassic park Election cults Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Pacific Islander composers Logo interviews Amazon Studios women Instagram Live Year in Review teaser Spectrum Originals renewed TV shows witnail classics President zombie Disney streaming service YouTube Red Winners Summer hidden camera Amazon Prime Video Dark Horse Comics Teen ABC Signature Rocky live event Star Wars blaxploitation historical drama Epix Arrowverse new star wars movies Winter TV Emmy Nominations Endgame natural history Captain marvel Martial Arts Women's History Month binge Quiz rom-coms TNT The Arrangement versus Discovery Channel Marvel Television