Movie Reviews: New Releases for May 27 | Buzz Blog
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Movie Reviews: New Releases for May 27

The Bob's Burgers Movie, Top Gun: Maverick, Montana Story and more

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20TH CENTURY STUDIOS
  • 20th Century Studios
The Bob’s Burgers Movie ***1/2
What has two thumbs and can provide a test case for whether this long-running Fox animated sitcom works as a feature for someone who’s never seen a single episode? This guy! The Belcher family—Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda (John Roberts) and their children Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman) and Louise (Kristen Schaal)—take to the big screen in a story that finds Bob and Linda worrying over whether they can make the loan payment for their burger payment after a sinkhole appears on their street, and the kids trying to solve a murder mystery. At the outset, and at odd intervals thereafter, it looks like creator/co-director Loren Bouchard and company are going to make a full-on musical, and the primary awkwardness comes from not committing one way or the other. Otherwise, it’s a terrific fusillade of jokes, of both the verbal and visual variety, hitting at a rate that should make other so-called comedies embarrassed to be making claim to the genre. And it’s possible that a long-standing investment in these characters and their quirks could make some of the subplots—particularly those involving the kids and their anxieties, like Louise's ever-present bunny ears—even more satisfying to regular viewers. All I know is that I just kept laughing and laughing and laughing, and that my streak of never having seen a single episode is going to end real soon. Available May 27 in theaters. (PG-13)

Montana Story ***
Someone is going to need to make a very convincing case for why the best American actress under the age of 30 is literally anyone besides Haley Lu Richardson. This offering from indie veterans Scott McGehee and David Siegel (Suture, The Deep End) opens with Cal Thorne (Owen Teague) returning to the family ranch in Montana when his widowed father is on life support after a severe stroke. Also unexpectedly arriving is Cal’s half-sister Erin (Richardson), who has been long-estranged from the family after a traumatic event. The nature of that event is revealed in bits and pieces, including giving Teague a lengthy monologue to share with his father’s Kenyan hospice nurse, Ace (Gilbert Owuor). McGehee and Siegel are kind of clunky with some of the narrative elements, including making the non-white supporting characters generally blank slates to help move the narrative forward. They do, however, have two rock-solid leads: Teague, who effectively captures someone trying to do hard grown-up things while still trapped in childhood guilt; and Richardson, whose gifts seemingly have no limit at this point. With a dip of the mouth or a setting of the jaw, she’s able to evoke all the complexity in Erin’s unclear-to-herself need to find closure. Some actors nail the parts of the script designed to give them standout emotional scenes; Montana Story hits its stride every time Richardson reminds us that she can make any scene a standout emotional scene. Available May 27 in theaters. (R)

Top Gun: Maverick ***1/2
See feature review. Available May 27 in theaters. (PG-13)

¡Viva Maestro! ***
We Feed People ***
I’m not sure there’s an easy way to make great documentaries about people who do selfless work under difficult circumstances, but the simple process of getting to know those people can offer enough inspiration to make them worthwhile. The higher-profile subject among this week’s two entries in that category (celebrity chef José Andrés) also has the higher-profile filmmaker (Ron Howard, continuing to spend a lot of time in the documentary world these days), primarily exploring Andrés’ work as founder of World Central Kitchen, which races to locations of global disasters to provide food. Howard keeps the (pardon the pun) table-setting to a minimum, providing only a bit of background on Andrés’ upbringing in Spain and this early career, before he was inspired by Robert Egger’s D.C. Central Kitchen to use his culinary gifts to help people. And at its most interesting, We Feed People does make it clear that work running a restaurant does provide some of the logistical training required to make an undertaking of this kind successful. Andrés himself is a colorful enough character, and Howard is willing enough to show him losing his cool at times, that the film isn’t simply a work of hagiography, giving the act of doing good in the world a little nuts-and-bolts reality. Meanwhile, Theodore Braun’s profile of Gustavo Dudamel—the Venezuelan-born musical director of the L.A. Philharmonic—also shines a light on behind-the-scenes work, though in this case it’s more related to the subject’s primary occupation. ¡Viva Maestro!’s primary time frame of 2017-2018 finds Dudamel dealing with the impact on his work with El Sistema, a Venezuelan program for instructing youth in the arts, of Dudamel’s choice to speak out against Venezuela’s autocratic government. There’s some solid material there, conveying Dudamel’s commitment to continuing the program of which he himself was a product, but the movie is actually more compelling at showing the uninitiated what a conductor really does in guiding a symphonic performance beyond waving a baton. Energetic, good-hearted subjects can certainly make for interesting documentaries, but it does help when we see how being deserving of a documentary profile involves not just good intentions, but plenty of hard work. ¡Viva Maestro! available May 27 via SLFSatHome.org; We Feed People available May 27 via Disney+. (NR)