FILM NEWS: AUG. 15-21 | Cinema Clips | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

FILM NEWS: AUG. 15-21 

New This Week, Special Screenings, and Current Releases

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NEW THIS WEEK

Film release schedules are subject to change. Reviews online at cityweekly.net

47 Meters Down: Uncaged
[not yet reviewed]
Young divers face a man-eating threat in an underwater cave system. Opens Aug. 16 at theaters valleywide. (PG-13)

The Angry Birds Movie 2 1 Star
Why an Angry Birds 2? Because the first one made some money, and there's built-in name recognition thanks to the popular mobile game. That's the only reason. This time out, the Birds That Don't Fly (except by catapult) join forces with the enemy green pigs from another remote island—seriously, don't ask—to repel an assault by the eagles of yet another island none of them knew about before. This assault is led by Zeta (Leslie Jones), for no apparent reason other than a jilted romance that left her bitter. Just like a woman! Angry bird Red (Jason Sudeikis) will lead the attack, the entire purpose of which is, apparently, to prove that he should have, in fact, left all leadership duties to smart, capable Silver (Rachel Bloom). But never fear! Male-coded animated characters remain resolutely at the center of this faux-woke narrative, which wants to have its male protagonist and its nods to feminism at the same time. Speedy bird Chuck (Josh Gad), even gets to police his sister Silver's romantic access to Red. Hoo-freakin'-ray. Opens Aug. 14 at theaters valleywide. (PG)—MaryAnn Johanson

Blinded By the Light 2.5 Stars
Opens Aug. 16 at theaters valleywide. (PG-13)

Good Boys 3 Stars
A decade-plus after the distasteful celebration of toxic male teenhood that was Superbad, here's a Seth Rogen-driven movie (he's a producer) that's supergood—an unexpectedly sweet, surprisingly edge-of-innocence celebration of modern ascendant malehood. (Rogen's recent wokeness seems genuine. Folks can learn!) Three sixth-grade boys (Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon) spend a day ditching school to vie against older teen girls (Midori Francis and Molly Gordon)—whom, thankfully, they are not middle-school-romantically interested in—in a plot involving drones, the mildest sort of party drugs and making their way toward a grade-school "kissing party." Mostly it's about worrying that, at the tender age of 11, one might become a "social piranha," about securing consent to engage in any physical contact with another kid, and about ensuring that nothing one is doing constitutes bullying. These kids today, with their concrete physical and psychological boundaries! "We're not kids, we're tweens!" they declare, staking a claim on a developmental boundary that we adults never even realized existed. Opens Aug. 16 at theaters valleywide. (R)—MAJ

Honeyland 3.5 Stars
Hatidze is the only female beekeeper in Europe (specifically, Macedonia), and honey supply outstrips demand. Plus, she looks after her invalid mother. The abandoned town they live in has no electricity or running water, so when itinerant Hussein and his large family arrive, Hatidze is keen to welcome them and give them the inside dope on survival. Hussein, unfortunately, is something of a bastard: After Hatidze shows him how to keep bees and harvest honey, he does everything in his power to screw her out of her living. Of course, things aren't so simple; the word "destitute" falls well short in describing Hatidze's and Hussein's living situations, so perhaps it's unfair to call him a bastard because he has to provide for his family (though they all clearly hate him). Directors Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska make him sympathetic even as you want to strangle him—or at least be stung repeatedly. But this is Hatidze's story, a fascinating document of a tough, resilient woman. Her ultimate reaction to Hussein's underhanded behavior is priceless, just like Honeyland. Opens Aug. 16 at Broadway Centre Cinemas. (NR)—David Riedel

Mike Wallace Is Here 3.5 Stars
Avi Belkin's documentary about the legendary TV newsman takes an approach that easily could have come off as forced, but instead makes for a terrifically entertaining profile. He frames the narrative almost entirely through interviews—not just Wallace's own infamously probing interrogations of political figures and celebrities, but occasions when Wallace himself (who died in 2012) was in the hot seat, fielding questions from fellow journalists. The result is revealing, as we often see Wallace dodging the same tough queries he'd put to his own subjects, which makes it even more surprising when he does let his guard down about personal struggles, like his failures as a parent or his experience with depression. Mostly, it's a revealing look at a man always trying to prove himself as a legit journalist after an early career doing commercials, and whose legacy is a complex mix of hard-hitting investigation and turning journalism into dramatic theater. If he remains a bit enigmatic, it's only because he never stopped being better at asking questions than answering them. Opens Aug. 16 at Broadway Centre Cinemas. (PG-13)—Scott Renshaw

Ode to Joy 2.5 Stars
I'm not sure my first choice for adapting an NPR story about a rare neurological disorder would be turning it into a romantic comedy, but the result is at least moderately effective. Martin Freeman plays Charlie, a man whose condition, called cataplexy, short-circuits his brain and renders him unconscious when he feels strong emotions—including joy. As a result, he's purposefully organized a bland, tame life for himself—which is complicated when he meets and falls for the effervescent Francesca (Morena Baccarin). An odd romantic square forms when Francesca instead begins dating Charlie's brother, Cooper, (Jake Lacy), while Charlie hooks up with a more low-key woman (Melissa Rauch, by far the movie's MVP), and there's some solid material as director Jason Winer juxtaposes Charlie's sedate dates with those of his rambunctious bro. It all just feels more built on the quirkiness of the condition rather than its profound impact, despite the best intention of the performances; if it's supposed to seem tragic that Charlie needs to avoid babies and cute puppies, here it plays strictly as a punch line. Opens Aug. 16 at Megaplex Jordan Commons. (R)—SR

Where'd You Go, Bernadette
[not yet reviewed]
Opens Aug. 16 at theaters valleywide. (PG-13)

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

And With Him Came the West
At Main Library, Aug. 20, 7 p.m. (NR)

Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements
At Rose Wagner Center, Aug. 21, 7 p.m. (NR)

Multiple Maniacs
At Tower Theater, Aug. 16-17, 11 p.m. & Aug. 18, noon. (R)

CURRENT RELEASES

Dora and the Lost City of Gold 2 Stars
This live-action adaptation of the kiddie cartoon is ... fine. Raiders of the Lost Ark lite, for kids? Nothing wrong with that. But it takes Lost City a solid 35 minutes to get there, first indulging in a pointless detour with the teenaged Dora (Isabela Moner) forced to attend high school in Los Angeles, where she doesn't fit in at all. Then it's back to her South American jungle home to rescue her explorer parents (Michael Peña and Eva Longoria) from treasure-hunter kidnappers bent on finding a fabled lost Incan city. Even once Lost City settles into itself, it's still poop and fart jokes and kiddie-style slapstick that drives grownup viewers to distraction, though kids might not notice or care. This live-action Dora remains a great role model for girls and boys alike, but her movie should better. (PG)—MAJ

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw 2.5 Stars
Two supporting tough guys from the Fast & Furious franchise get a blithe spinoff that keeps with the F&F aesthetic by disregarding the laws of physics and ultimately declaring itself to be about "family." The CIA recruits government agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and British ex-spy Shaw (Jason Statham) to work together—though they ostensibly hate each other—along with Shaw's siter/rogue MI6 agent (Vanessa Kirby) to stop a deadly virus from falling into the hands of a semi-bionic bad guy (Idris Elba). Shaw used to be a villain, but all is forgiven now, I guess. He and Hobbs squabble amusingly, and director David Leitch carries off well-choreographed fight sequences and chases. But everything in between, especially Hobbs' tacked-on family issues, is tedious, and it overstays its welcome by a good 30 minutes. Like I said, it's a Fast & Furious movie. (PG-13)—Eric D. Snider

The Kitchen 2 Stars
The 2014-15 graphic-novel series becomes writer-director Andrea Berloff's story of three wives of late-1970s Irish mobsters in Hell's Kitchen—Kathy (Melissa McCarthy), Ruby (Tiffany Haddish) and Claire (Elisabeth Moss)—who decide to run the operation themselves. There's certainly a kick of energy in watching the previously put-upon trio take charge, though the moments of you-go-girl sentiment are rarely subtle. But none of the three leads feel particularly like ideal casting choices, resulting in a narrative that often just barely escapes the most obvious gangster clichés. More frustrating still, there's rarely a chance for the key character beats or narrative arcs to breathe in the rush from one key plot point to another. Instead of a stand-alone feature, this feels more like a breathlessly-paced pilot for a series—one that might have had a chance to pack more of a wallop. (R)—SR

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