Capsule reviews for June 16

47 Meters Down

Such depth is lacking in this shallow thriller about two sibling damsels in distress who encounter trouble on a Mexican vacation. Specifically, adventurous Kate (Claire Holt) talks her timid sister, Lisa (Mandy Moore), into a scuba adventure in which they descend in a cage to see Great White sharks up close. The cable breaks, the oxygen is depleting, and the sharks are circling — you know where this is going. Despite some stylish touches from director Johannes Roberts (The Other Side of the Door), the formulaic film requires an outrageous suspension of disbelief, ultimately failing to generate consistent suspense or sufficient sympathy for its dimwitted divers. (Rated PG-13, 89 minutes).


The Journey

Strong performances bolster this intriguing and even-handed historical drama about the meeting that ended “the troubles” plaguing Northern Ireland politics for decades. Specifically, the film offers a speculative re-creation of the talks between two bitter enemies — conservative religious leader Ian Paisley (Timothy Spall) and fiery IRA chief Martin McGuinness (Colm Meaney). Their contentious sit-down started in the back of a limo on the way to the airport and ended with a shared agreement for peace. Although narrative contrivances seem to oversimplify the specifics, which might irk those for whom the story hits close to home, both lead actors bring depth and complexity to their roles. (Rated PG-13, 94 minutes).


Kill Switch

Some intriguing concepts never come together in this incoherent science-fiction thriller trying to drum up paranoia about an impending energy crisis. It takes place in a European metropolis in the near future, and tracks the efforts of an American pilot (Dan Stevens) to deal with the chaotic aftermath of an apocalyptic accident involving his employer, a high-tech energy firm that tries to create clean energy from intergalactic matter. Through visual trickery (including excessive first-person point of view) and a jumbled chronology, the muddled film is structured as a puzzle about corporate greed, socioeconomic class and technological overreach that most moviegoers won’t care enough to solve. (Rated R, 91 minutes).



A committed performance by Sally Hawkins in the title role elevates this otherwise uneven biopic about Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis. She was a self-taught painter whose severe arthritis rendered her an outsider even in her own family. After finding work as a maid in Nova Scotia, she falls in love with Everett (Ethan Hawke), a stern fish salesman whose tiny house becomes her favorite canvas. Their romance is the least intriguing part of Maud’s story, yet it tends to overwhelm a fascinating character study. Still, while rough around the edges, Hawkins earns sympathy in a film that never panders or trivializes her character’s afflictions. (Rated PG-13, 115 minutes).


Once Upon a Time in Venice

Not funny enough as a comedy and not exciting enough as a thriller, this cut-rate Tarantino knockoff instead features chase scenes with Bruce Willis cross-dressing and skateboarding naked. It’s not set in Italy, but instead along the beaches of California, where fledgling private investigator Steve (Willis) becomes involved with drug dealers, loan sharks, and a host of other lowlifes while trying to recover his stolen dog. The resulting hijinks are amusing only in small doses, and are compromised by a convoluted plot and grating narration by Steve’s wannabe sidekick (Thomas Middleditch). The film squanders a supporting cast that includes John Goodman, Jason Momoa and Adam Goldberg. (Not rated, 94 minutes).