Movie Reviews: Fantastic Four, Ricki and the Flash, Dark Places | Buzz Blog
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Movie Reviews: Fantastic Four, Ricki and the Flash, Dark Places

also: Irrational Man, Shaun the Sheep, The Gift, The Look of Silence

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A documentary sequel is the best new release in a week that also features clay-mation sheep, Marvel super-heroes and Meryl Streep rocking out.

Joshua Oppenheimer follows up his stunning Oscar-nominated documentary The Act of Killing with The Look of Silence, another haunting exploration of the 1965 Indonesian genocide, but this time from the point of view of the survivors rather than the perpetrators. The latest movie incarnation of Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four finds a potentially interesting character-based story smothered by compromises that blow it up into comic-book movie cliches. Meryl Streep (pictured) is solid in Ricki and the Flash as a woman trying to re-connect with the family she left behind to pursue a music career, but it's strongest when director Jonathan Demme uses performances to convey music's power to connect. Dark Places adapts a novel by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn into a thriller that misses the potentially strong character study at its core. Woody Allen returns with another tiresome recycling of his obsession with philosophy, morality and inappropriate relationships in Irrational Man. And Aardman Animation returns to showcase more of their distinctive Plasticine charm with Shaun the Sheep Movie's wordless delights.

In this week's feature review, MaryAnn Johanson laments The Gift fumbling its approach to both relationship drama and salacious thriller.