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Patricia Puentes

The 27 Most Anticipated Movies of 2022

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We can’t believe it’s already almost April either. But there’s still a lot of 2022 ahead of us and we thought about taking a renewed look at our selection of some of 2022’s most anticipated films, especially considering the calendar of releases has changed a lot in the last few weeks. 

Bear in mind that nothing is set in stone, so this isn’t a comprehensive selection. New titles will pop up as the new year unfolds. Plus, most of these titles are tentpole movies and/or sequels or adaptations from pre-existing franchises. Expect the year 2022 to be full of those, but also keep in mind that there’ll also be a fair share of must-see indie movies as the year progresses. It’s hard to know if 2022 will be the year that cinema-going returns to normal, or if we’ll all still be doing a lot of streaming at home for certain titles, while opting for the big screen for others. 

And yes, some of the titles on this list are movies that we were already looking forward to watching back in 2019 — ahem, Top Gun: Maverick .

Winter 2022: Movies That Have Already Premiered

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The 355 (January 7): This action-espionage ensemble stars Jessica Chastain as a CIA agent who joins forces with a German agent (Diane Kruger), a former MI6 ally who specializes in computers (Lupita Nyong’o) and a Colombian psychologist (Penélope Cruz) on a mission to recover a top-secret weapon. Bingbing Fan plays the mysterious woman who follows their every move. The 355 is now available on Peacock and on video on demand (VOD).

Scream (January 14): This is the fifth installment of the Scream franchise. Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette return to their iconic roles alongside newcomers Melissa Barrera, Kyle Gallner, Mason Gooding and Jenna Ortega. Twenty-five years after the brutal murders that terrified the small town of Woodsboro, a new killer dons the Ghostface mask and targets a group of teenagers. Scream is now available on Paramount+ and VOD.

Moonfall (February 4): Master of disaster and climate change advocate Roland Emmerich co-writes and directs this film that sees the Moon on the brink of colliding with Earth and annihilating our world. Halle Berry plays a former astronaut who partners with another astronaut (Patrick Wilson) and a conspiracy theorist (John Bradley from Game of Thrones ). Together they’ll try to save humanity as they discover our Moon is not what we think it is.

Death on the Nile (February 11): This new adaptation of a classic Agatha Christie novel has Kenneth Branagh directing and playing the lead detective, Hercule Poirot — the Irish filmmaker already starred in and directed Murder on the Orient Express (2017). This one has been postponed several times due not only to the pandemic but also because a prominent role in the movie is played by Armie Hammer. The movie debuts on Hulu and HBO Max on March 29. 

Uncharted (February 18): Based on the eponymous action-adventure video game series , the movie stars Tom Holland ( Spider-Man: Homecoming ) as Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as Victor Sullivan. They both embark on an epic international adventure — Barcelona is prominently featured in the trailer — in the pursuit of “the greatest treasure never found.” Meanwhile, Nathan starts discovering new details about his long-lost brother.

The Batman (March 4): Robert Pattinson dons the cape and the pointy-eared mask in this new reboot of the bat franchise. Matt Reeves ( Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ) co-writes and directs the movie, which also stars Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Peter Sarsgaard, Andy Serkis, Jeffrey Wright and John Turturro. Don’t miss our article on the hidden details in The Batman ’s first trailer and the movie’s inception and our full review of The Batman . 

Turning Red (March 11): Pixar’s first 2022 title is directed by Domee Shi, who won an Oscar for her short film Bao (2018). The movie follows the story of 13-year-old Mei Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang), who turns into a giant red panda every time she gets excited. Sandra Oh voices Mei Lee’s overbearing mom, Ming. Read our review of Turning Red here . 

Deep Water (March 18): Based on the novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith and starring Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck, this is one of the titles that has been postponed several times because of COVID-19. De Armas and Affleck play a married couple who have an arrangement to keep their marriage afloat. But when their games turn into murder, things get messier. Highsmith’s source material offers a portrayal of the fake veneer covering American suburbia — let’s hope the film does too.

The Lost City (March 25): Sandra Bullock returns to her comedy roots starring in this action-adventure where she plays Loretta Sage. She’s a popular romance-adventure writer on a promotional tour with Alan (Channing Tatum), the model who has always portrayed Loretta’s main character: the hero Dash. When Loretta is kidnapped by a billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who wants to find an ancient lost city’s treasure from one of her novels, Alan decides to take the lead and rescue her as Dash would do. They end up in the middle of the jungle needing to work together to stay alive and find the ancient treasure before it’s lost forever.

Spring Movies 2022

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Morbius (April 1): Set in the same universe as Venom , Morbius stars the chameleonic Jared Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius. He suffers from a rare blood disease and, while trying to find a cure for himself and others, he ends up transformed into someone with an urge for blood and other vampiric tendencies. Watching the method actor Leto transform himself into a mindless creature may prove to be one of the most appealing aspects of the film.

Ambulance (April 8): Michael Bay produces and directs this film starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II ( Candyman ) as Will, a vet desperate to pay for his wife’s medical bills. His adoptive brother, Dany (Jake Gyllenhaal), is a professional criminal. When Will asks him for help, Dany enlists Will in a $32 million bank robbery. The two of them end up in an adrenaline-fueled chase through the streets of Los Angeles, inside of an ambulance driven by EMT Cam (Eiza González).

Downton Abbey: A New Era (May 20): First there were the six seasons of the television drama about a family of British aristocrats, their estate and the servants who allowed for everything to run smoothly. Then there was a 2019 movie too, and now it’s time for a film sequel: A New Era . Julian Fellowes, the creator of the show, returns once more here as the writer. And yes, the good news is that despite the dire health diagnosis the Dowager Countess revealed to her granddaughter Mary (Michelle Dockery) at the end of the previous movie, Maggie Smith returns to A New Era to hopefully dispense fresh doses of perfectly delivered puns. 

Top Gun: Maverick (May 27): The original Top Gun opened in 1986. Now, this sequel that’s been decades in the making follows Tom Cruise’s Maverick after he’s served more than 30 years as a pilot in the Navy. When he has to train a group of Top Gun graduates for an impossible mission, Maverick meets Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of his long-lost friend Goose. Expect spectacular aerial sequences and a lot of need for speed.

Jurassic World: Dominion (June 10): Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return for this sixth installment of the Jurassic Park franchise and sequel to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018). Franchise originals Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern also star in this movie. Lightyear (June 17): Who was the Space Ranger who inspired the Buzz Lightyear toy from the Toy Story franchise? Chris Evans voices Buzz in this origin story that Pixar describes as a sci-fi action-adventure film.

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Elvis (June 24): Musical heavy-weight Baz Luhrmann ( Moulin Rouge ) directs and co-writes this biopic starring Austin Butler ( The Carrie Diaries ) as music legend Elvis Presley. The film also stars Tom Hanks as Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker. “The story delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America,” reads Warner Bros.’ official synopsis of the film.

Summer Movies 2022

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Minions: The Rise of Gru (July 1): Allow me the yellow indulgence since I’ve been a fan of these adorable polyglot creatures since I first saw Despicable Me in a movie theater back in 2010. This second prequel of the Minions origin story — and fifth installment of the Despicable Me franchise — is set in the 1970s and follows a 12-year-old Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and his faithful army of yellow sidekick followers. 

Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8): This fourth Thor movie — the second one helmed by the New Zealander Taika Waititi — sees Natalie Portman returning as astrophysicist and Thor’s ex, Jane Foster. Waititi, who’s also taken writing duties for this film, has teased at its romantic components . The movie will also feature Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Christian Bale.

Nope (July 22): After Get Out and Us , here comes the next psychological horror film written and directed by Academy Award-winner Jordan Peele. Details are still very much under wraps for this movie, which stars Academy Award-winner Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Oscar nominee Steven Yeun . You can read more about Nope and its enigmatic first trailer here . 

Fall Movies 2022

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Don’t Worry Darling (September 23): Olivia Wilde’s second feature film after she directed the outstanding Booksmart (2019) stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles as a married couple living in a utopian experimental community in the 1950s. Pugh plays a housewife and someone who fears that the company her husband works for may be hiding something. The movie also stars Wilde alongside Chris Pine, Gemma Chan and Kiki Layne.

Spider-Man: Across Spider-Verse (Part One) (October 7): After the multiverse-set Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film and was lauded for its diverse representation — the movie stars Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) as an Afro-Latino kid who also happens to be Spider-Man — we really are looking forward to this Spider-Verse sequel. Not to mention, it’s one of several animated films we’re most excited about seeing this year. 

Black Adam (October 21): This eleventh installment in the DC Extended Universe is directed by the Catalan filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra and stars Dwayne Johnson as the titular villain. Pierce Brosnan and Aldis Hodge also appear in this Johnson-starring vehicle that could see him become Shazam’s archenemy. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11): Ryan Coogler returns as co-writer and director of the much-anticipated sequel to his Black Panther (2018), the first superhero film to be nominated for a coveted Best Picture nod at the Oscars. Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba and Angela Bassett reprise their roles from the original movie. The multi-talented Michaela Coel ( I May Destroy You ) will play a new role in this sequel. To honor the memory of the late Chadwick Boseman, who played Black Panther in the original film, Marvel has announced that this movie won’t recast the titular role . Also, Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever aren’t the only two Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to be released in 2022. There’ll also be Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 6).

She Said (November 18): Maria Schrader ( Unorthodox ) directs this adaptation of Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor’s book in which they relate their New York Times investigation into Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and abuse behavior. The exposé helped further the #MeToo movement. The film stars Zoe Kazan, Carey Mulligan, Patricia Clarkson and Andre Braugher.

Avatar 2 (December 16): Thirteen years after James Cameron introduced us to Pandora in Avatar , here comes the second installment of this story. Zoe Saldaña, Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver all return to Avatar 2 , alongside newcomers Kate Winslet, Vin Diesel and Michelle Yeoh. The franchise is expected to have five installments in total, with each new movie being released two years apart.

I Wanna Dance with Somebody (December 21): Naomi Ackie ( Small Axe ) plays the late singer Whitney Houston in this musical biopic that’s directed by Kasie Lemons ( Harriet ) and also stars Clarke Peters, Stanley Tucci and Nafessa Williams.


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Where to Go for Specialized Movies

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If you’re interested in the latest blockbuster from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm or anyone else making great popcorn flicks, you can go to your local theater and find a screening coming up very soon. That’s not the same if you’re interested in arthouse movies, independent films or foreign pictures. Those sorts of movies don’t get wide releases so they’re not so easy to catch at movie theaters. Don’t wait for the movie to turn up on a streaming service like Netflix if you’d like to see it on release as there are lots of places across the country where low budget or marginalized movies are shown on a regular basis.

It’s definitely true to say that movie lovers in major cities like New York have more choice than those living in other areas of the country. Places like the Angelika Film Center, that opened in 1989, Landmark Sunshine Cinema in Manhattan, Film Forum, a non-profit indie cinema that’s been operating since 1970, and the Angelika Film Center are just four examples of great places you can visit in New York if you’d like to see independent, foreign language or limited release movies.

Where else would you expect to be able to catch the best independent movies than California? Cinopolis is one of the obvious choices. Why not purchase a ticket through Fandango and then head to Whittier Boulevard to catch the showing? Laemmle’s Royal Theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard is another great place to catch a movie. You’ll only be able to see foreign language movies there but they have one of the best selections of new movies in the country. You should also check out New Beverly Cinema. This place is definitely for the enthusiasts as its run by one. Quentin Tarantino’s the owner so no wonder it shows a lot of double features in 35mm.

Logan Theatre in Logan Square is one of the best places to go in Chicago for a mixture of second run studio pictures and indie movies. They run midnight showings each weekend in a theater that was recently upgraded with a new sound system, better screens, and projectors. You should also check out Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema if you’re in the area. You’ll get studio financed small movies, indie flicks and other obscure movies there, many of which can be watched during a midnight showing.

If you don’t live in California or New York or Chicago, you can still catch great independent movies through the Landmark chain of theaters. They have 56 theaters in 27 markets that have a combined 268 screens. As well as a great selection of movies you won’t find in other major chains, you’ll also find that Landmark tends to run movies that have finished their runs in other theaters. The occasional well published major movie will be showing but don’t expect to see the sort of mass appeal movies that are shown in other theaters.

What to Watch?

If you like the idea of seeing something different but you’re not sure what to see, head to Fandango or Rotten Tomatoes to get an idea of what’s out there at the moment. There’s nothing better than a personal recommendation so talk to people who know and love movies too. The foreign language Oscar nominees list for 2019 that contains Capernaum, Cold War, Never Look Away, Roma and Shoplifters look interesting. Perhaps you could start with one of those movies.


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2015, Comedy/Drama, 1h 45m

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Critics consensus.

Focus may have a few too many twists and turns, but it nearly skates by on its glamorous setting and the charm of its stars. Read critic reviews

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Common Sense says

Charming but uneven heist film is too sexy for young teens.

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Focus is a heist flick about Nicky ( Will Smith ), a master con artist who meets and falls for the beautiful young Jess ( Margot Robbie ), who wants him to mentor her in the art of scamming people. With superstar Smith and the gorgeous Robbie as the leads, expect even middle schoolers to show an interest, but the content is more appropriate for older teens. There's plenty of strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch") and raunchy innuendo, as well as several sex scenes, though they're limited to kissing and shots of bare shoulders, backs, and the sides of breasts (no frontal nudity). The con artists drink frequently, and a couple of times the main characters have to deal with private bodyguards who take their guns out, crash into them, and take them hostage. One character is shot.

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Ages 16 and up, what's the story.

In FOCUS, Nicky ( Will Smith ) is a renowned third-generation con artist who can convince anyone of anything. He has a vetted network of cons working for him, and he can work jobs big or small. One day at a posh hotel restaurant, he meets Jess ( Margot Robbie ), a young blond who unsuccessfully tries to run a con on him. Instead of getting angry, Nicky gives her some professional advice. Later, during a Super Bowl weekend in New Orleans, Jess tracks Nicky down and begs him to mentor her. He agrees, and he's amazed at her skills: She's a criminal genius. As he integrates her into his weekend of coordinated cons, they become lovers. He tells her his father's rule that "love has no part in the game" and lets her go without a real goodbye. But three years later, they bump into each other again in Buenos Aires, where Nicky's working on a huge con with the billionaire owner of a car racing team, Garriga ( Rodrigo Santoro ) -- who happens to be Jess' boyfriend.

Is It Any Good?

Focus isn't going to join Ocean's Eleven in the pantheon of great caper films, but that doesn't mean it's not a lot of fun. That's mostly due to the leads' ridiculous charm and the funny supporting characters who make several scenes appropriately tense but comical. It's easy to forget how good Smith is at comedy, and Robbie's timing is better than you might expect. But it's the scenes with their marks or their colleagues that are the best -- whether it's Nicky's hilarious right-hand man, Farhad (Adrian Martinez), or a rich gambling addict deliciously played by B.D. Wong . When the cons are doing their work, the movie is like a pick pocket's version of the Wolf of Wall Street -- you can't help but laugh as they steal bags, watches, wallets, and identities.

Ironically, the movie's biggest flaw is its own lack of focus, and the various twists and turns start getting a bit old and almost predictable by the climactic ending (if the audience "focuses" enough themselves, they'll figure out a key plot point). As Jess tells Nicky, "you saw what I wanted you to see" -- and in this case, it's a couple of "aha" moments too many. This is a fast-moving, shiny movie where you find out very little beneath the surface about any character or any theme. But, hey, it's still entertaining enough to make it watchable.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about movies that humanize criminals. Do movies like these make you root for criminals? Is that OK? What makes a character sympathetic?

Do you think Focus glamorizes the lives of con artists? What does Nicky mean by quoting his father's edict that "love has no place in the game"?

Why is it so common for older men to have relationships with much younger women in movies? Smith and Robbie are 22 years apart. Conversely, why do so few movies show relationships between much older women and younger men?

Movie Details

Our Editors Recommend

Ocean's Eleven Poster Image

Ocean's Eleven

Fun heist movie for older kids and their families.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Poster Image

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Martin and Caine scam women in sly '80s comedy.

Matchstick Men Poster Image

Matchstick Men

This is a movie about con games at every level.

For kids who love comedies

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But co-stars Will Smith and Margot Robbie remain consistently charismatic, even once the script for this heist caper collapses in a punishing pile of its own twists and double-crosses.

For Smith, “Focus” functions as a return to form, which admittedly sounds odd in describing a box-office titan who hasn’t really gone anywhere in the past quarter-century. But recent years haven’t treated him so kindly, between the ponderous “ Seven Pounds ,” the forgettable “Men in Black 3” and the disastrous “ After Earth .” Here, as a veteran con man, Smith seems looser—charming as ever but also broken, commanding yet vulnerable. It’s as if he’s finally shifted into the right gear as he settles into middle age—good lord, is the eternally boyish and buoyant Smith approaching 50?—and he’s comfortable there.

For Robbie, “Focus” cements her status as a major star. After a hilarious and head-turning supporting performance in 2013’s “ The Wolf of Wall Street ”—where she nearly stole the whole behemoth of a film out from underneath a larger-than-life Leonardo DiCaprio —the Australian actress proves she’s just as fierce as a leading lady. It’s not just that she’s stunningly beautiful and impossibly photogenic (which she is). She also has great instincts and a flair for comic timing, with a playfulness that’s as powerful as her sex appeal.

The film from the writing-directing duo of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa gives these actors plenty of brisk and snappy material to work with, both individually and as a team in various forms. But, like Ficarra and Requa’s 2011 comedy “Crazy Stupid Love,” “Focus” begins promisingly and bops along enjoyably for a while, only to run out of steam in the third act.

At the start, though, Smith’s Nicky and Robbie’s Jess enjoy crackling chemistry as strangers trying to outsmart each other over wine and candlelight at an upscale Manhattan restaurant. (The way cinematographer Xavier Perez Grobet often shoots them—sitting opposite each other at a table in an opulent setting, bathed in sultry light—is reminiscent of the Steven Soderbergh classic “ Out of Sight ” in ways that surely can’t be a coincidence.) She’s a small-time hustler trying to weasel her way into more lucrative gigs. He’s been at this game his whole life and has major operations down to a science.

Once each of them realizes the truth about the other—if such a thing as truth is possible in a movie about con artists—she begs him to teach her everything he knows. This leads to a scene that’s one of the film’s highlights as they flirtatiously dance around each other in a snowy Lincoln Center, with Nicky preaching the importance of taking away a mark’s focus while pocketing every last one of Jess’ belongings.

Then it’s off to New Orleans, where Nicky reluctantly lets Jess join the massive team he’s assembled to snatch watches and wallets from the unsuspecting revelers who’ve gathered for a Major Professional Football Championship. (Whatever you do, don’t call it the Super Bowl.) Turns out, she’s a natural—a massive distraction in a tight dress with a light touch—as revealed in a beautifully edited sequence amid the crowds of Bourbon Street. And Jess distracts Nicky, too, as the thrill of the wrongness of it all gives way to (not-entirely convincing) romance.

The Superdome itself provides the setting for the film’s tour de force sequence in which Nicky’s gambling habits put him in serious peril with a high roller (an amusing BD Wong) in a luxury suite. This section of the movie could function as its own freestanding short film, it has such a strong arc and it provides such a heady mix of tension and laughs. I wouldn’t dream of giving away its many surprises, but I will say this: You will never listen to the Rolling Stones’ overused “Sympathy for the Devil” in a film the same way ever again.

If “Focus” could have ended there, it would have been a dazzling little gem. But it keeps going, traveling to Buenos Aires three years later. There, Nicky is running another scheme for wealthy race-team owner Garriga ( Rodrigo Santoro ) involving duping his competitors with some high-tech thingy that makes cars go faster. What the device does isn’t important, but the way Nicky uses it to manipulate everyone around him is what sets up the film’s climax, albeit in rather flimsy fashion.

( Gerald McRaney does get to enjoy some truly lacerating language as Garriga’s gruff and mistrustful right-hand man, though. Similarly, Adrian Martinez supplies his share of laugh-out-loud lines as Nicky’s lewd longtime sidekick.)

More importantly, Buenos Aires is where Nicky reunites with Jess, who’s now enjoying a life of wealth and comfort as Garriga’s girlfriend. Of all the gin joints in all the world, right? But while Jess insists she’s left her life of crime behind, nothing in “Focus” is ever that easy.

As vibrant as these characters are, there’s not much to them beneath their glossy surfaces, which makes it difficult to become emotionally invested in whether they end up together—or whether that sort of ordinary human connection is even possible in this extraordinary world. Nicky at least has a backstory about a cold-hearted father, which is intended to explain his inherent cynicism. Jess isn’t even afforded that much characterization.

We know in a movie like this that we in the audience are being played just as much as the poor fools on screen. In theory, that’s part of the fun—trying to stay a step ahead of the action, and often failing. But “Focus” is all surface, all artifice, to the point where we can’t help but expect the duplicity. And the twists come so fast and furious toward the end, they feel more like overkill than a shock. The trick that makes Robbie’s character such an expert thief—her light touch—is the very thing the movie loses toward the end.

Christy Lemire

Christy Lemire

Christy Lemire is a longtime film critic who has written for RogerEbert.com since 2013. Before that, she was the film critic for The Associated Press for nearly 15 years and co-hosted the public television series "Ebert Presents At the Movies" opposite Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, with Roger Ebert serving as managing editor. Read her answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here .

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Film Credits

Focus movie poster

Focus (2015)

Rated R for language, some sexual content and brief violence

104 minutes

Will Smith as Nicky

Margot Robbie as Jess Barrett

Rodrigo Santoro as Gárriga

Robert Taylor as McEwen

Gerald McRaney as Ownes

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Will Smith and Margot Robbie in Focus (2015)

In the midst of veteran con man Nicky's latest scheme, a woman from his past - now an accomplished femme fatale - shows up and throws his plans for a loop. In the midst of veteran con man Nicky's latest scheme, a woman from his past - now an accomplished femme fatale - shows up and throws his plans for a loop. In the midst of veteran con man Nicky's latest scheme, a woman from his past - now an accomplished femme fatale - shows up and throws his plans for a loop.

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Nicky : It's about distraction. It's about focus. The brain is slow and it can't multitask. Tap him here, take from there.

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Never trust a con artist..

Release date February 27, 2015

Nicky (Will Smith) is an experienced con artist who is persuaded by a beautiful woman (Margot Robbie) to take her on as an apprentice -- but will she prove too much of a distraction for him to keep his focus?

Run Time: 104 minutes

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Focus Rating & Content Info

Why is Focus rated R? Focus is rated R by the MPAA for language, some sexual content and brief violence.

This additional information about the movie’s content is taken from the notes of various Canadian Film Classification boards:

Violence: - Infrequent portrayals of violence depicting beating and shooting, with some blood. - Brief explicit violence shown in a realistic manner, with detail, blood and tissue damage. - Torture.

Sexual Content: - Implied sexual activity. - Infrequent portrayals of sexual activity, with breast nudity and some detail. - Crude, detailed sexual language, references and innuendo. - Embracing and kissing.

Language: Approximately 110 instances of coarse language, including: - Frequent use of the sexual expletive, sometimes in a sexual context. - Frequent use of scatological slang, cursing, profanity and vulgar expressions. - Slurs and sexual references.

Alcohol / Drug Use: - Smoking. - Alcohol Abuse.

Page last updated July 17, 2017

News About "Focus"

Cast and crew.

Focus is directed by Glenn Ficarra, John Requa and stars Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Rodrigo Santoro.

The most recent home video release of Focus movie is June 2, 2015. Here are some details…

Focus releases to home video on June 2, 2015.

Related home video titles:

Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa also worked together on Crazy, Stupid, Love . Another con artist is endanger of become too emotionally invoved in his own game in Matchstick Men .

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 Will Smith and Margot Robbie in Focus

Focus review – Will Smith and Margot Robbie in the perfect con movie, almost

Gorgeous actors? Check. Extraordinarily furnished interiors? Check. This could have been a defining grifter flick – if they had cut the final third

H eist movies come and go, but a good con film is little different. Trouble in Paradise , The Sting, The Spanish Prisoner – these are films more about manipulating people than just stealing something. Focus, which stars Will Smith as a master con man and Margot Robbie as his new apprentice, spends much of its running time convincing you it is the best entry into the genre in years. Alas, this is merely a setup, as the film’s second half eventually reveals that it’s all been a facade. Once the scaffolding crumbles, we’re left on a limping getaway. We didn’t land the big score, but we did come away with a few sparkly trinkets.

Focus opens in a swank New York restaurant where small-time grifter Jess (Robbie) thinks she’s spotted a mark in Nicky (Smith). He plays along out of curiosity, then takes pity. As the coloured lights of midtown Manhattan shimmer against Lincoln Center’s snow-topped campus, Nicky playfully educates Jess in the art of the psychological grift. It is one of many remarkable scenes that directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa shoot in a very straightforward manner, taking advantage of the obvious beauty right in front of them. Usually the phrase “very visual” is critics’ code for complex camera moves or unusual angles, but it can just as well mean casting gorgeous actors in breathtaking costumes and plopping them in a great urban or interior setting. The hotels and high-end clubs in Focus are extraordinarily furnished, and Smith and Robbie look splendid gallivanting among them. They are both terrific in this, especially relative newcomer Robbie who shows tremendous comedic range.

The film’s action soon heads to New Orleans where a “big football game” (not the Super Bowl , though, should lawyers be watching) has the town swimming in easy money. Jess fits in nicely with Nicky’s crew as they bop around the French Quarter boosting wallets and watches. They do brisk business, gobbling up every bag and briefcase they can find. That is, until the twist comes and Nicky manipulates Jess into helping him pull off an enormous (and, admittedly, ludicrous) con inside the Superdome.

If the projector broke after the New Orleans job and I stopped watching there, I’d be over the moon about this picture. Unfortunately, after a “three years later” card we meet up with Nicky in Buenos Aires as he starts planning a con involving a car race. He isn’t trying to steal, but to infiltrate an opposing team and slip them a thingamajig that will lead them to think they have an edge, but will actually do just the opposite. It’s a little confusing, and gets more so when characters from the past keep showing up.

Even in this second half, which has considerably less steam than the first, Focus must be applauded for sticking to its mission. There’s not a wisp of moralising within 50 feet of this film. Theft on a large and small scale is considered a noble art. There’s also a sense of sexual candour wafting throughout. Jess doesn’t exactly encourage lechery, but she seems somewhat at peace with the chauvinism of her chosen profession. (“Hello?!? I’m right here!” she cries out in one of the funnier moments when one of Nicky’s colleagues makes a lewd remark.) Like a Bond villainess, the power of feminine wiles is presented as a piece of equipment. Men have upper-body strength, women have batted eyelashes. The final third is obviously building to some rug-from-under-you reveal, and all I’ll say is that while I knew something was coming, it’s a twist that no one will be able to predict. This is partially why it is somewhat disappointing, as it feels like Ficarra and Requa went so far afield as a mandate. Hard to get too upset, though. When you rerun certain scenes in your head, it all checks out. Plus, Margot Robbie looks so damn beautiful with her hair backlit by the streetlamps in the final scenes you’ll realize that’s more interesting than any far-fetched plot pretzels. It’s almost as if the movie is trying to focus your attention elsewhere.

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Focus (United States, 2015)

Focus Poster

With a lighthearted caper movie, the formula is easy to understand if not execute. It's all about conning the viewer as effectively as the on-screen marks while camouflaging enough of the unavoidable plot holes to make things hold up on a second viewing. Although Focus , a comedy/thriller that plays to star Will Smith's strengths, succeeds at the former, it's on thin ice with the latter. The movie is mostly entertaining, although there are times when the pacing flags, but several scenes (one in particular) are designed for in-the-moment sleight-of-hand without being overly concerned about whether they'll make any sense in retrospect.

focus movie rating and review

The movie travels from New York City to New Orleans to Buenos Aries with the stakes becoming higher with each stop. The second half of the film doesn't work as well as the first half, but it's got a snarling Gerald McRaney (the veteran TV star who may still be best known for starring roles in "Major Dad" and "Simon & Simon") to provide an enjoyable diversion.

focus movie rating and review

As so-called "refrigerator films" go, this one doesn't boast the smartest of scripts but it's clever enough to offer a few surprises and the likeability factor for the protagonists is high. The film's tone, like its pacing, is uneven, but that's not a major drawback. It doesn't overstay its welcome although it comes perilously close during a lackluster denouement. Focus is uncommonly good for a February release (damning with faint praise?) but may not clear the bar of being worthy of a trip through snow and ice to reach the multiplex. Star power, actor chemistry, and caper movie twists make for a nice diversion… but not much more.

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focus movie rating and review

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‘focus’: what the critics are saying.

Will Smith stars as a seasoned con man opposite Margot Robbie in the heist flick, directed and written by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.

By Meena Jang

Focus  stars  Will Smith  as Nicky, a master con man who falls in love with his apprentice, Jess ( Margot Robbie ), while teaching her the tricks of his trade. Both put their skills (and romance) to the test when they aim to swindle the same target.

Directed and written by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa ( Crazy, Stupid, Love ), the romantic caper is expected to debut in the $20 million-to-$22 million range and claim the top spot at the domestic box office, which is currently held by Sam Taylor-Johnson ‘s  Fifty Shades of Grey.

See what top critics are saying about  Focus :

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The Hollywood Reporter ‘s Todd McCarthy writes: “Unfortunately, since the major players’ salient character traits are insincerity, opaqueness and untruthfulness, it’s hard to invest much interest in any of them. The film is all but a feature-length commercial for high living in nothing but the most luxurious hotels, the best restaurants and the most expensive clothes, and yet it’s not exactly a goof or cartoon of glamorous people committing crimes against those who can live with it, a la the Ocean ‘s films, nor a sophisticated battle of equals, as in Lubitsch’s immortal  Trouble in Paradise .”

Additionally, the film “occupies an uncertain middle ground between a lark and a caper with serious underpinnings. The writers trot out sordid backstory about Nicky’s father and grandfather that’s supposed to explain his go-his-own-way behavior, but the baggage seems to oppress Smith as well, to keep him from being as funny and fun to be around as before; here, the actor feels older, less spirited. This also diminishes any desire one might have for Jess to end up with Nicky, no matter what the script may intend. Nicky might be the zen master of con artists and believably becomes an awe-inspiring combination teacher-lover for Jess. But a good prospect for a long-term mate? One would bet against it.”

The New York Observer ‘s Rex Reed calls it “beautifully photographed and entertaining, with charming performances by Will Smith and newcomer Margot Robbie that tease and tantalize. You won’t be bored. … The film is complex, with more curves than a carnival midway ride, but every character is written with a twist that pays off by the writing and directing team Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who made another underrated romantic comedy,  Crazy, Stupid, Love , that deserves to be seen again. The wonderful cinematography by Xavier Grobet is so consistently good that you never want to look away, and it feels terrific to hear a score full of Latin jazz instead of pedestrian rock songs like the horrors on display at last week’s mind-numbing Oscar show. Gerald McRaney , BD Wong and dashing Rodrigo Santoro from the  300  films make riveting tertiary contributions.”

The Guardian ‘s Jordan Hoffman says the film “spends much of its running time convincing you it is the best entry into the genre in years. Alas, this is merely a setup, as the film’s second half eventually reveals that it’s all been a facade. Once the scaffolding crumbles, we’re left on a limping getaway.” Still, “even in this second half, which has considerably less steam than the first, Focus must be applauded for sticking to its mission. There’s not a wisp of moralising within 50 feet of this film. Theft on a large and small scale is considered a noble art. There’s also a sense of sexual candour wafting throughout.”

New York Daily News ‘ Joe Neumaier  says that Robbie is the “one to watch,” while Smith “looks tired, bored and, even worse, uninspired. He dials down his famous charm so much in this lame caper, the biggest scam perpetrated is the one that makes audiences think they’ll have a good time. … What we want from Smith — aside from no more movies like After Earth — is to feel like he’s invested. He’s great fighting aliens and robots, as a real-life father dealing with homelessness and even as a disagreeable superhero in the underrated Hancock . But here, Smith is detached. When he’s swirling around and flirting with Robbie, his lethargy is embarrassing compared to her spark and enthusiasm.”

The Chicago Tribune ‘s Michael Phillips notes that “the action is barely trackable, and the editing, while functionally flashy, is no help. … Some will take Focus in the intended spirit, that of a casual, eye-candy throwback to older Hollywood. Many found the same creative team’s Crazy, Stupid, Love a disarming romantic comedy (me, less so), and clearly the team has a gift for zigzag plotting. But the setup of Focus feels hasty and insufficient, and quite apart from their respective levels of talent, Smith and Robbie are required mainly to swan around in what the child-development experts call ‘parallel play.’ Even in a lark about con artists working through their trust issues, we need more.”

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