What should I see this weekend?: 1/27-2/29


January, a notoriously lackluster month for movies, winds down with one last crop of new releases.

(SR)=Specialty Release

The Good

A Dog’s Purpose: “Warm, emotionally effective film for dog lovers of all ages traces the many lives of one canine on its soul’s journey through different bodies, breeds, generations and owners. But an off-screen controversy, which will strike many as overblown, may, uh, dog the movie and impact box office.”

Gold: “Suspenseful zigzagging adventure drama inspired by true events has a top-of-his-game Matthew McConaughey as a wired 1980s Reno mining company dreamer salivating for and maybe getting the big strike.”

Midsummer in Newtown (SR): “The actual name of the Sandy Hook child killer is barely mentioned, and that is typical of the graceful sensitivity and care which inform this heartbreaking but ultimately radiant doc about the aftermath of an unthinkable tragedy.”

Confidential Assignment (SR): “This adrenaline-filled cop caper, featuring an unlikely Mutt-and-Jeff pair from two Koreas, delivers solid entertainment and lovable characters.”

The Salesman (SR): “A classic whodunit with Asghar Farhadi’s characteristically impeccable plotting and buildup of suspense. Despite its somewhat outdated gender dynamics, this is a fine addition to the auteur’s filmography.”

Behemoth (SR): “An elegant lament.”

The Age of Consequences (SR): “A persuasive eco-doc in which conservative voices are the ones crying in the wilderness.”

The Blah

I Am Michael (SR): “James Franco plays a gay-rights activist turned anti-gay Christian preacher in Justin Kelly’s thoughtful and searching but somewhat rootless drama based on a true story.”

Kung Fu Yoga (SR): “The film should do well in Asian markets, but viewers here may find Chan and his moviemaking philosophy a little too soft and old-fashioned. Chan remains an icon of cinema, and he's helped elevate Kung Fu Yoga above the run-of-the-mill.”

Massacre on Aisle 12 (SR): “Disgruntled hardware-store employees are trapped after hours with a killer in this formulaic horror picture enlivened by some clever dialogue.”

The Daughter (SR): “Well-acted but unconvincing.”

The Ugly

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter: "This installment provides a fitting finale for the series, inasmuch as it’s as mediocre as all the ones preceding it."

Get the Girl (SR): “Ridiculous dark-comedy thriller, about a man who helps stage a fake kidnapping in order to win over a woman, tries to subvert rom-com clichés. Instead it just subverts good moviemaking.”

The King (SR): “[A] cheap, gaudy imitation.”

Lost in Florence (SR): “Dull, slow-moving film about a young man in Florence trying to find himself.”

S is for Stanley (SR): “It will take a dedicated Kubrick completist to find inspiration in the director's fondness for pets, bad driving habits and poor typing. S Is for Stanley manages the difficult feat of circling around both of its subjects without saying much interesting about either of them.”