Hit the Road with Tom Cruise and the Griswolds

This weekend, one of the summer’s best action flicks and a big, loud comedic disappointment share the multiplex with a brilliantly understated study of writers and the perils of genius.


  Designates a Movies for Grownups Critic’s Choice


Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation
After parsing the title’s tricky punctuation, taking down an international terror group should be easy for Tom Cruise & Co. We’ve seen this nonstop whirl of double agents, impossible stunts and (literally) breathtaking challenges before, but nobody does it like Tom and the IMF.


Those who fondly recall the raucous-but-soft-hearted 1983 Chevy Chase original may want to skip this return trip. Ed Helms is fun as a grown-up Rusty Griswold retracing his family’s disastrous car ride, and there are some clever gags en route. But the nastiness pervading the film should have been kicked to the curb.


 The End of the Tour
Jason Segel” and “cerebral”: I’ve never used those two phrases in one sentence, but the former gross-out guru is a delightfully thoughtful revelation in this meaty true story of a five-day interview that Infinite Jest author David Foster Wallace gave Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) in 1996. Don’t miss it.


New on DVD, Blu-ray and Video on Demand

First-time director  Russell Crowe stars as an Australian farmer who travels to Turkey after World War I to learn what became of his three sons, reportedly among the Battle of Gallipoli’s 150,000 casualties.

White God
A thrilling heart-tugger from Hungary, this Oscar nominee follows a 13-year-old girl as she sets out to find her beloved dog after her father abandons it to the streets — and the pooch amasses an army of fellow strays.







Still in theaters

A lovable cat burglar ( Paul Rudd) dons a suit that shrinks him to the size of an ant and endows him with superhuman strength. It’s really just a far-out heist film, and as the suit’s inventor, Michael Douglas is delightfully in on the joke.


In his final screen role, Robin Williams plays a banker, long married to a devoted wife (Kathy Baker), who has repressed his true sexuality his entire life — until the night he tries to befriend a young street hustler (Roberto Aguire).


I’ll See You in My Dreams
The latest star in a welcome string of grownup-movie love stories,  Blythe Danner shines as a long-widowed woman who finds herself in a late-life romance with charming, wealthy retiree  Sam Elliott.


 Infinitely Polar Bear
Mark Ruffalo is irresistible as a Boston father struggling with  bipolar disorder while raising two spirited daughters. Zoe Saldana brings unexpected warmth to the role of the girls’ absent mother, who loves her man despite his mercurial manner. ( FULL REVIEW)


Meru Expedition, Garwhal, India

SLIDESHOW: Six new documentaries to spark up your summer






 Inside Out
This Disney/Pixar animated film burrows into the mind of a tween girl, where we meet her emotions, voiced by Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, Lewis Black and Phyllis Smith. Besides a great adventure story, it’s a meditation on how memories shape our lives. (FULL REVIEW)


Irrational Man
Woody Allen lets us down with this slogging story of a schlubby philosophy professor (Joaquin Phoenix) who finds midlife renewal in the arms of a married fellow teacher (Parker Posey) and a comely student (Emma Stone). (FULL REVIEW)


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Jurassic World
Twenty-two years have passed since the unfortunate events on  Isla Nublar, and a new generation has finally opened a brand-new dinosaur theme park there. Humanity’s hubris, it seems, never goes extinct.  (FULL REVIEW)


 Love & Mercy
Paul Dano and  John Cusack both star as  Beach Boy Brian Wilson — at different stages of his troubled life — in this heartfelt and tuneful biopic. Paul Giamatti breathes fire as the evil shrink who nearly ruined Wilson’s life. (FULL REVIEW)


 Mr. Holmes
Now 93, a retired Sherlock Holmes ( Ian McKellen) reopens the one case he could never solve, at the same time befriending the young son of his housekeeper ( Laura Linney). McKellen is fun as a man abashed by the legend that has grown up around him.  (FULL REVIEW)


When 1980s video-game characters try to destroy the world, only a team of middle-age former gamers can save us.  Adam Sandler, Josh Gad,  Peter Dinklage, and Kevin James (as the President!) try to evoke  Ghostbusters, but we ain’t afraid of new ghosts.


A dying New York real estate mogul ( Ben Kingsley) has his consciousness exported into the body of a young man (Ryan Reynolds). Is there enough room in there for the two of them? From visionary director Tarsem Singh ( The Fall and  Mirror Mirror).


Set Fire to the Stars
Elijah Wood stars as John Malcolm Brinnin, the New York academic who worshiped poet  Dylan Thomas — until he brought the hard-drinking, hell-raising writer to America. Director Andy Goddard starkly captures the perils of coming face-to-face with your idol.

Southpaw yearns to be  On the Waterfront or  Raging Bull, but it could never be a contenduh. Though Jake Gyllenhaal transforms himself to play Billy “The Great” Hope, his scarred muscle mass and punch-drunk slurring can’t save the predictable script and derivative characters. (FULL REVIEW)  

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