Movie Reviews: New Releases for March 25 | Buzz Blog

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Movie Reviews: New Releases for March 25

The Lost City, Infinite Storm, Compartment No. 6 and more

Posted By on March 24, 2022, 9:00 AM

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click to enlarge Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum in The Lost City - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
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  • Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum in The Lost City
Compartment No. 6 **
Like Planes, Trains & Automobiles, this drama is built around a reluctantly-shared journey between a tightly-wound protagonist and boisterous traveling companion where a friendship gradually blossoms—except in this case, the transition is so abrupt that it doesn’t entirely work. The pair in question here are sharing a sleeping car on a train ride from Moscow to Murmansk in the Arctic Circle: Laura (Seidi Haarla), a Finnish student reluctantly separating from her girlfriend to visit an archaeological site; and Ljoha (Yuriy Borisov), on his way to work in a mining operation. The antagonistic sparks fly quickly, as a drunken Ljoha insults and gropes Laura, though it’s structurally evident that co-writer/director Juho Kuosmanen—adapting a novel by Rosa Liksom—will eventually have them learn to tolerate and even like one another. The problem is that Ljoha is such an asshole from the outset that there’s never a chance to wonder if Laura’s own issues are part of the problem, nor does it feel particularly convincing that after one night of seeing Ljoha being kind to someone, Laura would suddenly behave as though they’re best buddies. While Laura’s loneliness certainly plays a role in her behavior—and Haarla’s performance has some interesting sharp edges—too many of the developments feel like writerly contrivance, rather than the natural evolution of two people thanks to how they’ve affected one another. Available March 25 at Broadway Centre Cinemas. (R)

Infinite Storm **1/2
See feature review. Available March 25 in theaters. (R)

The Lost City ***
Nearly 40 years after the delightful Romancing the Stone, someone finally attempted a de facto remake, realizing that a certain formula—an introverted romance novelist, a love/hate relationship, a treasure hunt in the jungle—still works if you serve it up with light-hearted charm. The novelist in question is Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock), burned out on her work while still grieving the death of her archaeologist husband. While launching a tour for her possibly-last book with her Fabio-esque cover model, Alan (Channing Tatum), Loretta is kidnapped by a millionaire fail-son (Daniel Radcliffe) who believes Loretta can help him find a storied treasure, inspiring Alan to plot a rescue with a hired soldier-of-fortune (Brad Pitt). The director/co-screenwriting pairing of Aaron and Adam Nee detour occasionally to focus on Loretta’s harried publisher (Da’vine Joy Randolph), but mostly they stick with the action on the remote island where Loretta has been taken, and it’s kind of a blast as long as it’s there—goofy, charming and enthusiastically acted by everyone involved. The romantic angle is a bit tricky, mostly because it’s built on Loretta’s years-long disdain of Alan that we don’t get much chance to see. But that’s a lot easier to overlook when the narrative is filled with lively action, solid jokes and appealing chemistry between the leads. Like so many kinds of genre stories, it shows how much fun you can have when everyone involved isn’t behaving as though they’re slumming. Available March 25 in theaters. (PG-13)

You Are Not My Mother ***
The horror genre once again comes through as potent allegory in this Irish tale from writer/director Kate Dolan. In a North Dublin neighborhood, teenager Char Delaney (Hazel Doupe) faces a difficult home life living with her grandmother (Ingrid Craigie) and often-depressed mother (Carolyn Bracken). But things get even stranger when Mom goes missing one day, only to return seeming just a bit too … different. Dolan’s filmmaking choices are primally effective, from the terrific cold opening focusing on a baby in a stroller in the middle of a street, to leaning into the creepiness of out-of-focus figures in the background, or understanding when a hard cut can give audiences the jitters. Mostly, though, she understands how to use her genre elements—including Ireland’s pagan history, and a setting right before Halloween—in service of how isolating it can feel to have a parent struggling with mental illness, and how frightening it can be for that person to seem to change from one day to the next. Doupe’s performance helps to make Char an ideal sympathetic protagonist, and while some of the peripheral stuff involving bullying classmates doesn’t quite connect with the main story, You Are Not My Mother allows eerie folklore to represent the sheer terror of the person who should make you feel safest instead seeming to you like a monster. Available March 25 at Broadway Centre Cinemas. (NR)

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