New Releases for the Week of February 11, 2022


DEATH ON THE NILE

(20th Century) Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, Annette Bening, Armie Hammer, Letitia Wright, Russell Brand, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders. Directed by Kenneth Branagh

Master detective Hercule Poirot is on vacation, taking a leisurely river cruise along the Nile in Egypt when murder strikes. With a rogue’s gallery of suspects on the boat, Poirot will have to navigate a raging torrent of passion, lies and secrets in order to solve the case.<

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Mystery
Now Playing: Wide
Rating: PG-13 (for violence, some bloody images, and sexual material)

Badhaai Do

(ZEE) Rajkummar Rao, Bhumi Pednekar, Harshavandhar Kulkarni, Akshat Ghildial. A police officer and a school teacher enter into a marriage of convenience in order to escape the demands their respective families are putting on them to get married. However, the unexpected then happens – the two confirmed non-romantics fall in love.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Dramedy
Now Playing: AMC Altamonte Mall, Cinemark Universal Citywalk
Rating: NR

Blacklight

(United Artists) Liam Neeson, Emmy Raver Lampman, Taylor John Smith, Aidan Quinn. A government fixer discovers a horrifying program that is targeting ordinary citizens. Now, in order to save his daughter and granddaughter, he’ll enlist the aid of an intrepid reporter to take down a corrupt government official – his own boss.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Action
Now Playing: Wide
Rating: PG-13 (for strong violence, action and language)

Breaking Bread

(Cohen Media Group) Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, Shlomo Meir, Ali Khattib, Osama Dalal. Arab and Jewish chefs in Haifa collaborate to help celebrate their individual cuisines and cultures, and try to promote mutual understanding.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Documentary
Now Playing: Cinematique Daytona
Rating: NR

Here Before

(Saban) Andrea Riseborough, Jonjo O’Neill, Niamh Dornan, Eileen O’Higgins. A grieving mother begins to suspect that the little girl who has moved in with her family next door may be the reincarnation of her departed daughter.

=See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Now Playing: Studio Movie Grille Sunset Walk
Rating: (for language)

Marry Me

(Universal) Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Maluma, John Bradley. As a power pop music couple undergoes their major online event wedding, Kat discovers Bastian has been cheating on her with her assistant. Impulsively, she decides to marry the divorced math teacher she spots in the crowd instead. However, the unexpected happens – the two people from completely different worlds fall in love.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Now Playing: Wide
(also on Peacock)
Rating: PG-13 (for some language and suggestive material)

Rookie Season

(Adventure Entertainment) Adrian Bonvento. In their inaugural IMSA season, the Rebel Rock Racing team suffers setbacks and triumphs as we are placed in the driver’s seat of this young team’s dreams.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Sports Documentary
Now Playing: CMX Daytona Beach
Rating: NR

Supercool

(Vertical) Jake Short, Miles J. Harvey, Damon Wayans Jr., Iliza Shlesinger. A high school nerd, depressed that the girl of his dreams won’t even consider going out with him because he’s not cool enough, wakes up one morning with the face and body of a teen idol. With a shot at acquiring his crush, with the help of a helpful neighbor and a convenient Porsche he learns how to be cool and discovers that coolness comes with its own set of pitfalls.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Action Comedy
Now Playing: Studio Movie Grille Sunset Walk
Rating: NR

The Worst Person in the World

(Neon) Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Maria Grazia Di Meo, Herbert Nordrum. Four years in the life of Julie, a young woman who like many young women, has made some disastrous decisions in her love life and longs to find the right career path for her. As she struggles with the cards life has dealt her, she begins to get a firmer picture of who she really is and who she was meant to be.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website

Genre: Comedy
Now Playing: Enzian
Rating: R (for sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and some language)

COMING TO VIRTUAL CINEMA/VOD:

All the Moons (Thursday)
Bigbug (Friday)
Catch the Fair One (Friday)
Flee the Light (Tuesday)
Help (Tuesday)
Homestay (Friday)
I Want You Back (Friday)
The In-Between (Friday)
Indemnity (Friday)
Kimi (Thursday)
Line Sisters (Saturday)
The Sky is Everywhere (Friday)
Somewhere With No Bridges (Tuesday)
Tall Girl 2 (Friday)
Until We Meet Again (Tuesday)

SCHEDULED FOR REVIEW:

Bigbug
Blacklight
Catch the Fair One
Here Before
The In-Between
Kimi
Marry Me



Lights Out (2016)


Attention Teresa Palmer: there's a blue light special in the basement.

Attention Teresa Palmer: there’s a blue light special in the basement.

(2016) Horror (New Line) Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Billy Burke, Maria Bello, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Andi Osho, Rolando Boyce, Maria Russell, Elizabeth Pan, Lotta Losten, Amiah Miller, Ava Cantrell, Ariel Dupin. Directed by David F. Sandberg

 

As humans, we are conditioned to fear the unknown and what can be more unknown than darkness? We can’t see what’s in the dark – our eyes aren’t built for it. In the dark, anything can happen and not all of it is pleasant. Sometimes, that which lives in darkness can be downright terrifying.

Rebecca (Palmer) is a metal-loving young woman who has a – I hesitate to call him a boyfriend but he does have sex with her and they’ve been dating for several years – friend with benefits named Bret (DiPersia) who is a musician who plays metal. She lives on her own in an apartment over a tattoo parlor. She left home the moment she could pack her bags; hallucinations and nightmares had driven her to the brink of madness.

This is where her mother Sophie (Bello) dwells as a matter of course. Sophie was committed to a mental institution as a little girl and came out fragile, but her issues seemed to be under control with medication, and her second husband Paul (Burke) – not Rebecca’s dad by the way – has watched with some alarm as his wife’s mental condition starts to deteriorate rapidly. When Paul meets a tragic end, Sophie pretty much slides off into the deep end.

Rebecca’s half-brother Martin (Bateman) has now begun to have the same kinds of nightmares and hallucinations that just about destroyed Rebecca’s sanity. Concerned that Sophie is terrorizing her little half-brother, Rebecca moves to take Martin over to her apartment and out of Sophie’s influence. Sophie, who not only hears voices but has conversations with them, seems to be talking to a presence named Diana. Diana, as it turns out, was a friend who brutalized her in the asylum but had met a gruesome end. Some ends, as it turns out, are not as permanent as others.

Sandberg based this movie on a short movie – less than three minutes long – based on the same creature. With the feature clocking in at just a hair over 80 minutes, he certainly knows how to keep his stories compact which is laudable these days when movies routinely hit the two hour mark. He also uses a very interesting trope for his demonic presence; it only becomes visible and physical in darkness. Shine a light on Diana and she becomes incorporeal and harmless. When that light goes out…well, Diana raises havoc with those unfortunate to fall under her crosshairs.

This isn’t a particularly gory movie, nor are there a ton of murders (although a couple of hapless cops do get Diana’s special attention near the end of the movie). Most of the film is spent basically running away from Diana who is apparently very possessive of Sophie and doesn’t want to share her with anyone, even (and maybe especially) her own children.

It is refreshing to have characters in horror movies not act like utter and complete idiots, doing things that no rational sane human being would ever do. Say what you want about the leads here, they act like you and I would probably act in a similar situation, although to be fair I’d probably be a screaming wreck about a third of the way into the movie were it my life story.

The acting isn’t particularly outstanding; Bello is one of my favorite actresses but she makes some odd choices as Sophie – no pun intended. The part is a little bit of a caricature of a crazy person and if you don’t get the jitters watching Sophie for any length of time, you’ve probably taken some Valium recently. That or you drink enough coffee to make you permanently immune to the jitters. Palmer is beautiful and has some facial resemblance to Bello, but at the end of the day this isn’t a performance I would put into a star-making category; the success of the film will likely give her career quite a boost however.

Sandberg relies mainly on practical effects here, believe it or not. The CGI is kept to a minimum, although I’m certain that there is some optical trickery going on to make Diane visible and invisible so smoothly. I’m sure a computer or two were employed in that essential process.

All in all, this is a solid, scary movie that is going to make you think twice about turning out the lights when you go to sleep. I’m usually immune to such things, but I have to admit that when I went to bed after seeing the movie earlier that day, I did feel a good deal of apprehension as I shut out the lights. When a horror movie can do that to you, you know that you’re watching a director who knows what he’s about. I’ll be looking forward to his future work with more than a little bit of interest.

REASONS TO GO: You’ll want to sleep with the lights on afterwards. The demonic presence in the film has a nifty conceit.
REASONS TO STAY: Bello is wasted in a caricature of a performance and none of the actors really stand out. There are only so many ways you can make the lights flicker.
FAMILY VALUES: Plenty of disturbing images and terror, a fair amount of violence, some adult themes and a brief drug reference.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: The house in this movie is the same one used in Ouija and its upcoming follow-up Ouija: Origin of Evil.
CRITICAL MASS: As of 8/18/16: Rotten Tomatoes: 77% positive reviews. Metacritic: 58/100.
COMPARISON SHOPPING: Darkness
FINAL RATING: 6.5/10
NEXT: Jason Bourne