Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to February

“Focus”

Who: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro and Gerald McRaney
What: A veteran grifter takes a young, attractive woman under his wing, but things get complicated when they become romantically involved.
When: February 27th
Why: Generic title aside, “Focus” has a couple things going for it that have kept me cautiously optimistic. For starters, it boasts a pair of great actors in Will Smith and new “it” girl Margot Robbie, and although Smith is the bigger box office draw, Robbie has proven herself as one of the brighter female talents in Hollywood. The movie was also written and directed by longtime collaborators Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, whose previous two films – “I Love You Phillip Morris” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love” – were both very solid dramedies. The duo’s latest effort appears to be more serious in tone, but their track record is nothing if not encouraging. Plus, who doesn’t love a good con film?

“The Lazarus Effect”

Who: Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Evan Peters, Sarah Bolger and Donald Glover
What: A group of medical students discover a way to bring dead patients back to life.
When: February 27th
Why: You know that a movie is going to be terrible when you can’t find a single positive thing to say about it. Well, that’s not entirely true, because it does feature a good cast, but it’s a little sad to see actors like Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass resorting to a low-budget horror flick. Producer Jason Blum has had plenty of success in recent years within the genre, but for every hit like “Paranormal Activity” and “Insidious,” there’s a flop (see: “Dark Skies,” “13 Sins”) that no one talks about, and unfortunately, “The Lazarus Effect” seems poised to follow in the footsteps of the latter group. Surely the director of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” deserved a better Hollywood debut than this.

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