New Releases for the Week of July 30, 2021


JUNGLE CRUISE

(Disney) Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemmons, Paul Giamatti. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Based on a beloved Disney parks ride (which were themselves loosely inspired by The African Queen), a plucky young researcher hires a wise-cracking riverboat captain to help her find a mystical tree deep in the heart of the jungle that may change the face of medicine forever. This will be simultaneously available on Disney Plus premium – subscribers will pay an additional cost of $29.99.

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

Genre: Adventure
Now Playing: Wide
Rating: PG-13 (for adventure violence)

Broken Diamonds

(FilmRise) Lynda Boyd, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ben Platt, Lola Kirke. A writer’s dream of moving to Paris is temporarily put on hold when, following his father’s unexpected death, he is given the task of caring for his wildly predictable mentally ill sister.

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

Genre: Dramedy
Now Playing: Enzian On-Demand
Rating: PG-13 (for a crude gesture and thematic elements)

Charlatan

(Strand) Ivan Trojan, Josef Trojan, Juraj Loj, Jaroslava Pokorná. The story of Jan Mikolásek, a Czech herbal healer whose seeming miracle cures hid a dark side that came to life during the repressive totalitarian Fifties behind the Iron Curtain.

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

Genre: Historical Drama
Now Playing: Enzian On-Demand
Rating: NR

The Green Knight

(A24) Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Santa Choudhury. Sir Gawain, a Knight of the Round Table, is tasked with facing the Green Knight, an emerald-skinned giant. His quest will have him face all manner of challenges and supernatural creatures as he struggles to prove his worth to his family, his King and ultimately, himself.

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

Genre: Fantasy
Now Playing: Wide
Rating: R (for graphic nudity, violence and some sexuality)

Masquerade

(Shout!) Bella Throne, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Mircea Monroe, Skyler Samuels. An eleven-year-old girl faces off against a group of thieves who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the priceless collection of artwork that hangs in her home.

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

Genre: Thriller
Now Playing: Studio Movie Grill Sunset Walk
Rating: NR

Stillwater

(Focus) Matt Damon, Camille Cottin, Abigail Breslin, Lilou Siauvaud. A blue-collar man from Oklahoma travels to France to try and prove his estranged daughter did not commit the murder she has been imprisoned for.

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

Genre: Drama
Now Playing: Wide
Rating: R (for language)

Twist

(Saban) Michael Caine, Lena Headey, Franz Drameh, Jade Alleyne. A modern take on the Dickens classic Oliver Twist.

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

Genre: Action
Now Playing: Wide
Rating: R (for some violence and language)

COMING TO VIRTUAL CINEMA/VOD:

A Savage Nature (Tuesday)
Enemies of the State
The Exchange
Fireboys
(Tuesday)
Fully Realized Humans
Hum
(Tuesday)
The Last Mercenary
Lorelei
Mondo Hollywoodland
(Tuesday)
On the Trail of UFOs: Dark Sky
(Tuesday)
Pooling to Paradise
(Tuesday)
Ride the Eagle
Tailgate

SCHEDULED FOR REVIEW:

Enemies of the State
Fireboys
The Green Knight
Jungle Cruise
The Last Mercenary
Masquerade
Pooling to Paradise
Stillwater

Max Cloud


A Max Cloud family Christmas portrait.

(2020) Science Fiction (Well Go USAIsabelle Allen, Scott Adkins, John Hannah, Lashana Lynch, Eliot James Langridge, Franz Drameh, Sally Collett, Jason Maza, Tommy Flanagan, Sam Hazeldine, Andi Osho, Shirin Daryale, Martyn Ford, Finley Pearson, Geraldine Sharrock, Craig Lambert, Nigel Black, Ruth Horrocks, Lois-Amber Toole.  Directed by Martin Owen

 

There is something innocent about old-time 16-bit videogames. Maybe because we were so much younger when we played them; or perhaps it was because the games themselves were simple, good versus evil types of things, uncomplicated and perfect escape from whatever was troubling us, be it school, parents, girlfriends, jobs, or lack thereof.

Sarah (Allen) is an obsessive gamer. Her favorite game du jour is The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, featuring the titular character (Adkins), a cocky lantern-jawed space hero saving the galaxy from nefarious master criminals with his trusty sidekick Jake (Langridge), the ship’s cook. However, Sarah’s dad (Hazeldine) thinks Sarah shouldn’t be playing videogames quite so much and it is a source of conflict between them.

As Sarah plays the game, she finds a hidden character, the Space Witch (Maza) – who is more accurately a space wizard, but to each his own – who somehow zaps Sarah from the real world into the game – into the body of Jake. Sarah’s best friend Cowboy (Drameh) – who is most assuredly not a competent gamer – stumbles onto the girl-within-a-game scenario and the two of them figure that the way to get Sarah back into reality is to win the game. That’s not as easy as it sounds, since Cowboy pretty much sucks at gaming and has to take frequent pee breaks. Coming after Max and Jake/Sarah is the Revenger (Hannah), a ruthless villain trying to escape from the prison world that Max crash landed on, and his right-hand flunky Shee (Lynch) who has plans of her own. Together, the two of them could end Sarah’s game permanently if she’s not careful – and if Cowboy doesn’t come through.

\There is just enough chutzpah here to carry the movie through, for the most part. Adkins has been a talented, underrated action star for the latter half of the last decade, and he proves to have some pretty solid comedy chops. Overall, with it’s primary color palette and sly shout-outs to the games of our misspent youths (or those of our parents), the movie retains a kind of goofy charm that is truly insidious. You might find yourself liking the movie in spite of its flaws.

The production values aren’t too bad when you consider that they are deliberately going for a certain retro-videogame look. The cast is strong and I’m not just talking about Adkins; Drameh and Hannah both have solid genre pedigrees and many of the rest of the cast cut their teeth on some impressive projects. There is a good deal of scenery chewing going on here, but the situation kind of calls for it, you know?

And there are flaws galore. The movie is overburdened with subplots, and underutilizes Adkins who has a physical presence that the movie could have used. There are also a few too many cliches and the cheese factor here is off-the-scale. Still in all, the movie is mindless, harmless good fun, just like the video games of yore – you Millennial whippersnappers have no idea what you missed.

REASONS TO SEE: Possessed of its own offbeat charm.
REASONS TO AVOID: You may end up overdosing on the cheese.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Ike White’s father played keyboards for Ella Fitzgerald.
BEYOND THE THEATERS: Amazon, AppleTV, DirecTV, Fandango Now, Google Play, Microsoft, Redbox, Vudu, YouTube
FAMILY VALUES: There is some profanity and sci-fi video game violence.
CRITICAL MASS: As of 12/23/20: Rotten Tomatoes: 64% positive reviews, Metacritic: No score yet.
COMPARISON SHOPPING: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
FINAL RATING: 5.5/10
NEXT:
Girl Lost: A Hollywood Story