FILM NEWS: MAR. 21-27 | Cinema Clips | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

FILM NEWS: MAR. 21-27 

New This Week, Special Screenings, and Current Realeases

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NEW THIS WEEK

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

Gloria Bell 3 Stars
See review on p. 35. Opens March 22 at theaters valleywide. (R)

Us
[not yet reviewed]
Jordan Peele's Get Out follow-up, about a family terrorized by doppelgangers. Opens March 22 at theaters valleywide. (R)

The Wedding Guest 2 Stars
Dev Patel nails the slow burn in writer and director Michael Winterbottom's thriller; the real problem is how slowly the rest of the movie around him burns. Patel plays a mysterious character called Jay who travels from England to Pakistan, ostensibly for a wedding, but purchases of items like duct tape and guns hint at his plan to abduct the bride-to-be, Samira (Radhika Apte). The details behind the abduction unfold gradually over the course of the next hour, with the relationship between Jay and Samira getting complicated in a variety of ways. But they just aren't interesting enough to justify a narrative that gets stuck in a loop of "drive somewhere, check in at hotel under assumed name, make a phone call, maybe obtain new false ID, drive to next place"—all with plenty of footage of exotic local color. It's especially frustrating when Winterbottom seems to be building to a shift in the dynamic between his two main characters that simply never comes. The enigmatic intensity Patel brings to his character deserves a payoff more substantial than this wispy story is prepared to support. Opens March 22 at Broadway Centre Cinemas. (R)—Scott Renshaw

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

If Beale Street Could Talk
At Park City Film Series, March 22-23, 8 p.m.; March 24, 6 p.m. (R)

The Martian
At Main Library, March 26, 7 p.m. (PG-13)

CURRENT RELEASES

Captain Marvel 2 Stars
Indie drama/episodic TV veterans Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck attempt to humanize a cosmic-level Marvel hero: a powerful woman called Vers (Brie Larson) who lost her memory and is now serving as a soldier for the intergalactic Kree empire, fighting shape-shifting Skrulls. Initially, there's an impressive efficiency in structuring the story as a mystery of identity, allowing us to dive right into the action. Unfortunately, Boden and Fleck aren't up to the task of the action sequences, and even their theoretical strength as directors of actors comes up short. Larson generally seems adrift between the grinning self-confidence of her past self and the stolidness of a warrior lost in space and time. She's a powerful, resilient role model in a movie that wrestles unsuccessfully with the tension between basic humanity and cosmic laserblasts. (PG-13)—SR

Captive State 3 Stars
A few missteps and the whole thing could have become a campy laughingstock, but director Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) defies his cheap budget with a docudrama style that thrusts us into the urgency of the situation. Nine years after Earth surrendered to alien invaders aided by law enforcement, members of the anti-alien resistance are viewed as terrorist insurgents. John Goodman plays a dutiful federal agent trying to find the cell of resistance fighters that his young acquaintance, Gabriel (Moonlight's Ashton Sanders), is affiliated with. While the plot features shocking moments, the thoughtful screenplay isn't built on twists or pyrotechnics, but on the machinations of both sides of this war. Parallels to real-world propagandists and their collaborators are clear without being heavy-handed. It's a bit long, but Wyatt's earnest intensity generally had me hooked. (PG-13)—Eric D. Snider

Everybody Knows 2 Stars
In Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi's first Spanish-language film, Laura (Penélope Cruz) visits her small Spanish village for her sister's wedding, encountering extended family and friends, including local winemaker Paco (Javier Bardem). It's a bit tricky keeping track of how everyone is related, but we do see that deep interconnections between all these people make them reliant on one another for favors big and small in unquestioning ways. But after the wedding sequence early on, Everybody Knows takes a turn it never recovers from. Farhadi indulges in more "plot" this time around than he has before, but he flounders with the stuff of a melodramatic thriller. He attempts to meld potboiler with his usual slow-burning humanistic drama, but there's little space for either cinematic impulse to be satisfied. His mystery undermines the humanity, and his humanity undermines the mystery. (R)—MaryAnn Johanson

Five Feet Apart 2.5 Stars
It's 2019's tragic romance, about adolescents falling in love while dying prettily; the malady this time is—spins wheel of misfortune—cystic fibrosis. When 17-year-old Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) meets hospital-cute, floppy-haired bad boy, sensitive artist and fellow CF patient Will (Cole Sprouse), it's doomed romance at first sight: They cannot touch because of the high probability of cross-infecting each other's susceptible lungs. They must remain 5 feet apart—though it really should be 6 feet—and their decision to "take back a foot" from the disease is rather reckless, especially since the movie hopes to engage in valuable awareness-raising about cystic fibrosis (which it certainly does). Still, as tragic-teen romances go, this one is inoffensive enough, and Richardson in particular is thoroughly charming. Someday, a teen girl might not even need to be dying to warrant her own movie. (PG-13)—MAJ

Ruben Brandt, Collector 3 Stars
The animated feature debut from Milorad Krstic bursts out of the screen like a surrealist psychological thriller crossed with Ocean's Eleven. Art therapist Ruben Brandt (Iván Kamarás) tries to address his vivid nightmares about great artworks by having those works stolen by his patients, who also happen to be thieves. The heists themselves might be little more than an afterthought, but Krstic proves to have a deft touch as a choreographer of animated action. The real draw, though, is his wildly inventive approach to illustration, with characters stylized as cubist creations and shots dense with background detail. It would have been nice to have a narrative as engaging as the aesthetics, but this movie reminds us there are an infinite number of ways to use the unique properties of animation in service of a story. (R)—SR

Wonder ParK 1 Star
In this goopy pile of trash from a third-tier animation studio, a girl named June (voiced by Brianna Denski) has invented an imaginary theme park with her mom (Jennifer Garner), pretending it's run by her stuffed animals. But when Mom falls ill, June stops playing pretend, which is disastrous for the park's inhabitants. Via magic or something, June finds herself in a declining Wonderland, with the animals struggling to prevent the park from being dismantled by an army of Peanut plush toys from the gift shop. Unsurprisingly, a story set in a pretend place with low stakes and no real-world consequences yields unsatisfying results. The threats are nebulous, the objectives unclear and there's no wit or cleverness in the light-hearted shenanigans. It exists mainly to set up an upcoming Nickelodeon TV series—and it shows. (PG)—EDS

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