A few not-so-shocking giveaways about this week’s new movie releases, including Justice League and Frank Serpico
Matthew Lickona 6 p.m., Nov. 17
Ryan Reynolds is very good at layering a hard candy shell of wisecracks over a gooey caramel center of emotion. Samuel L. Jackson is very good at snapping between glowering menace and cackling affability. And director Patrick Hughes is very good at letting the viewer know he’s hip to his own action movie absurdities. Those are the virtues on display here. Perhaps for some, they will be enough to overcome its stars’ halfhearted debate over relative moralities and softheaded argument over whether it’s better to plan for life or just let it happen. Perhaps they’ll even be enough to cover over the godawful, bleary-smeary, washed-out visuals; the Frankenstein of a blues/hard-rock/kitsch-pop soundtrack; and the slumming schtick of Gary Oldman as a dumb dictator from Belarus and Salma Hayek as a foulmouthed and expertly lethal cocktail waitress at La Cucaracha. As 48 hours, Lethal Weapon, et alia have demonstrated, people love a good black and white buddy comedy. And who knows? They may even love a not so good one. 2017.