FILM NEWS: MAY 9-15 | Cinema Clips | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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FILM NEWS: MAY 9-15 

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

Hail Satan? 3 Stars
Perhaps it's not ideal to lionize a group for what amounts to masterful trolling, but Penny Lane's documentary conveys what underlies this prodding of delicate sensibilities. Her subject is the Satanic Temple, and its activities challenging the assumption that American government is fundamentally Christian, including public protests of Ten Commandments monuments on government property. Lane provides useful historical context—including the generally groundless "satanic panic" of the 1980s—while providing an enigmatic character study of the Satanic Temple's puckish leader, Lucien Greaves. There's also material involving internal dissent within the organization, which serves to make them more normal than their provocative name would suggest, and bumps up against stunts like performing a "conversion to gay" ritual at the gravesite of notoriously homophobic pastor Fred Phelps' mother. But mostly, it's an entertaining, engaging look at whether the principles underlying an organization—tenets upholding reason, compassion and individual liberty—are more important than whatever button-pushing name that organization might bear. Opens May 10 at Broadway Centre Cinemas. (R)—Scott Renshaw

The Hustle
[not yet reviewed]
Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star as con artists in a gender-swapped remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Opens May 10 at theaters valleywide. (PG-13)

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 3.5 Stars
Rarely—perhaps never?—has a clear cashing-in movie turned out so charming, so genuinely sweet, so downright adorable, even. A very obvious response to the enormous popularity of the Pokémon Go augmented-reality game, this kiddie noir posits a truly lovely world where Pokémon—friendly, cute "pocket monsters"—and humans live in companionable harmony in "Ryme City" (a fantasy alt-London). But intrigue has struck! Human Tim's (Justice Smith) cop dad has gone missing, so he teams up with Dad's Pokémon partner, a fuzzy yellow Pikachu (the voice of Ryan Reynolds, reining his usual smarm way in), to find him. Their task is made somewhat easier by the strange fact that Tim and the Pikachu can understand each other, which is not usually the case with humans and Pokémon. The ensuing mystery is gentle enough for little'uns, but with enough satirical bite for imaginative grownups to appreciate it, too. And it all works even if you don't know the first thing about Pokémon. As Detective Pikachu himself might say, you will feel it in your jellies. Opens May 10 at theaters valleywide. (PG)—MaryAnn Johanson

Poms
[not yet reviewed]
Residents of a retirement community—including Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver and Pam Grier—start a geriatric cheerleading squad. Opens May 10 at theaters valleywide. (PG-13)

Red Joan 2 Stars
In 2000, Joan Stanley (Judi Dench) is arrested by MI5 as a longtime KGB spy. Extended flashbacks explain why: During her work on Britain's atomic-bomb project during and after World War II, young Joan (Sophie Cookson) passed scientific secrets on to the Soviets, convinced it was the way to keep the postwar peace. Loosely based on a true story, Red Joan features some terrific undercutting of entrenched sexism, from the feminist-ally support young Joan gets from her A-bomb boss (Stephen Campbell Moore) to the reasons women make great spies; "Nobody would suspect us," a co-conspirator (Tereza Srbova) snarks. Savvy performances from Dench and Cookson ensure that Joan is never depicted a as patsy, but as a woman always fully aware of what she is doing, someone for whom the personal, the professional and the political are all tied up together. Yet this is a surprisingly inert film; you'd barely know that the fate of the world is at stake. This is solid filmmaking but stolid, too, afraid to give full-throated voice to the emotion and the intellect it just barely touches on and instead lets slip coolly by. Opens May 10 at theaters valleywide. (R)—MAJ

Tolkien 2 Stars
Opens May 10 at theaters valleywide. (PG-13)

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

HEADING HOME: THE TALE OF TEAM ISRAEL
At Main Library, May 14, 7 p.m. (NR)

The mustang
At Park City Film Series, May 10-11, 8 p.m.; May 12, 6 p.m. (R)

UNION PACIFIC
At Rose Wagner Center, May 15, 7 p.m. (NR)

CURRENT RELEASES

Avengers: Endgame 3 Stars
Joe and Anthony Russo get to deliver what no other Marvel film has been able to offer: an actual ending. In the aftermath of Thanos' (Josh Brolin) big snap that erased half of all creation, the surviving Avengers—including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans)—are left to pick up the pieces and maybe even try to set things right. The first act shows an impressive willingness to let an elegiac tone settle in before it's time for the big action stuff. It's an awfully busy center section, bouncing between characters and locations in a way that isn't always graceful. Yes, there's a climactic battle, but it's really about what happens after that battle. Those satisfying epilogues are for viewers who have stuck with the franchise for 11 years. (PG-13)—SR

The Intruder 1.5 Stars
After purchasing their Napa dream home, a suitable-for-framing couple (Meagan Good and Michael Ealy) begin to suspect that the previous owner (a perma-grinning Dennis Quaid) might have an unhealthy attachment to the place—he keeps popping up in their blind spots with a variety of sharpened garden tools. The Home Invasion genre carries a primal charge at its core that's tough to squelch, but danged if this listless thriller doesn't give it a try, quickly burying any creepy potential with laughable dialogue, whisper-thin characterizations and baldly telegraphed scares. Still, though the rest of the movie is by-the-numbers, you can't say the same about Quaid, who blends a baker's dozen of villainous archetypes—and possibly a smidge of brother Randy—into one roiling, alarmingly jolly package. He gives it his all, even when he probably shouldn't. (R)—Andrew Wright

Long Shot 3.5 Stars
It's not just another rom-com about a doofus pursuing a goddess because he's an idiot deluded enough to think he has a chance with her—then getting rewarded by being right about that. This is a politics-meets-pop-culture satire about a smart, principled but scruffy journalist (Seth Rogen) getting hired by an Amazonian goddess (Charlize Theron) to be her speechwriter as she attempts to move up from [checks notes] U.S. Secretary of State to the Oval Office. Then they embark on an unlikely but really-not-that-unlikely romance, because they are both really cool and have a lot in common, like wanting to save the world from terrible leaders. Bonus: This sweet, angry-but-gentle movie features perhaps the funniest, most realistic, most human sex scene ever. It's truly a romantic comedy for our horrible-but-let's-stay-hopeful times. (R)—SR

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