New Releases for the Week of August 13, 2021


FREE GUY

(20th Century) Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi, Channing Tatum, Camille Kostek, Alex Trebek, Lil Rel Howley. Directed by Shawn Levy

A bank employee who is happy in his job and his life? Despite the fact that he is surrounded by violence, mayhem and odd happnings, he is content. However, it turns out he is a non-player character in a video game whose world is about to be shattered. He decides to be the hero he knows he can be – and change everything.

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

Genre: Action Comedy
Now Playing: Wide
Rating: PG-13 (for strong fantasy violence throughout, language and crude/suggestive references)

About Us

(Self-Released) Ross McCall, Allison Miller, Alessandra Mastronardi. A young couple whose marriage is in peril decide to return to the bucolic place where they spent their honeymoon eight years earlier in a last-ditch effort to save their relationship.

There is no trailer available online currently.
For more on the movie this is the website

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

Buckley’s Chance

(Greenwich) Bill Nighy, Victoria Hill, Martin Sacks, Milan Burch. After his father passes away, Ridley and his mom move from New York City to Western Australia to live with his estranged grandfather. Ridley promptly gets lost and while his grandfather and mother desperately search for him in the outback, Ridley befriends a dingo he released from a leg trap and the two will rely on each other to survive.

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

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

Charming the Hearts of Men

(Gravitas) Sean Astin, Anna Friel, Kelsey Grammer, Diane Ladd. A sophisticated woman returns to her Southern hometown in the Sixties to discover her options limited but discrimination is plentiful. With the help of a friend in Congress, she inspires historic legislation which gives women protection and freedom they hadn’t had up to then.

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

Genre: Drama
Now Playing: CMX Merritt Square
Rating: NR

Crime Story

(Saban) Mira Sorvino, Richard Dreyfuss, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Cress Williams. An elderly man suffering from cancer decides to spend his remaining days exacting revenge on the criminals who destroyed his family.

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

Genre: Crime Drama
Now Playing: Studio Movie Grill Sunset Walk
Rating: R (for violence, language and some sexual content)

Don’t Breathe 2

(Screen Gems) Stephen Lang, Brendan Sexton III, Madelyn Grace, Rocci Williams. Set years after the events of the first film, blind Norman Nordstrom lives a quiet life, keeping to himself until his past sins inevitably catch up with him.

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

Genre: Horror
Now Playing: Wide
Rating: R (for strong bloody violence, gruesome images, and language)

The Meaning of Hitler

(IFC) Matilda Tucker, Martin Amis, David Irving, Deborah Lipstadt. With white supremacy, anti-Semitism, fascism and authoritarianism on the rise globally, this film traces the roots of Nazism and traces the path that led directly from Hitler to Charlottesville and beyond.

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

Genre: Documentary
Now Playing: CMX Plaza Orlando
Rating: NR

Naked Singularity

(Screen Media) John Boyega, Olivia Cooke, Bill Skarsgård, Ed Skrein. An idealistic young public defender in New York City is becoming burned out and beaten down by the system. With his universe collapsing around him, he decides to take part in a daring robbery of a drug deal by one of his clients.

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

Genre: Crime Comedy
Now Playing: Cinemark Universal Citywalk
Rating: R (for language throughout, some violence, sexual references and drug use)

Never Gonna Snow Again

(Kino Lorber) Alec Utgoff, Maja Ostraszewska, Agata Kulesza, Weronika Rosati. A charming but mysterious masseuse comes to work in a toney upper class neighborhood in a Polish suburb and changes the lives of his mostly middle aged female clients.

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

Genre: Dramedy
Now Playing: Enzian On-Demand
Rating: NR

Respect

(MGM) Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Marc Maron. A biography of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul whose music changed popular culture forever.

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

Genre: Musical Biography
Now Playing: Wide
Rating: PG-13 (for mature thematic content, strong language including racial epithets, violence, suggestive material, and smoking)

Searching for Mr. Rugoff

(Self-Released) Robert Downey Sr., Costa-Gravas, Lina Wertmuller, Ira Deutchmann. Donald Rugoff was one of the most important figures in art and foreign cinema in the mid-60s to 70s. His Cinema 5 chain distributed films from Europe and independent directors that remain, to this day, essential cinema. A man who was equally reviled for his temperament and self-destructive personality, he eventually left the scene and disappeared. One of his former employees, Ira Deutchmann, sets out to discover what became of him and why he withdrew so completely. This kicks off a new Meet the Filmmaker series for the Enzian in which Deutchmann will conduct a Q&A session after the film via Zoom.

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

Genre: Documentary
Now Playing: Enzian (Sunday only)
Rating: NR

Sublet

(Greenwich) John Benjamin Hickey, Lev Nissim, Lihi Kornowski, Mickey Kam. A New York Times writer, who is recovering from tragic events, is sent to Tel Aviv for coverage of the Middle East. There, the city’s youthful energy – and the presence of an intriguing, much younger man – serve to bring him back to life.

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

Genre: Comedy
Now Playing: Cinematique
Rating: NR

Swan Song

(Magnolia) Udo Kier, Jennifer Coolidge, Linda Evans, Michael Urie. It is the last wish of a dying elderly woman that her now-retired hairdresser style her hair for her funeral. For the hairdresser, it is a chance to confront the ghosts of his past as he collects the supplies he needs to do the job properly.

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

Genre: Drama
Now Playing: Enzian
Rating: NR

What We Left Unfinished

(Dekanalog) Lasif Ahmadi, Sherindad Dakkoi, Said Miran Farhad, Wall Latafi. During the communist era in Afghanistan (1978-1991), five filmmakers risked censure, imprisonment and even death to make five films which were left uncompleted and unreleased, either due to the State pulling the plug or the filmmakers abandoning the projects. With the footage recently discovered and newly restored, the filmmakers take a look back at a pre-Taliban era and at the energy of a filmmaking community that believed they could effect change through art.

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

Genre: Documentary
Now Playing: Enzian On-Demand
Rating: NR

Witch: We Intend to Cause Havoc

(Utopia) Jagari, Emmanuel Chanda, Jacco Gardner, Nic Mauskoviç. Witch was the name of the biggest rock band in Zambia – and one of the most popular in Africa during the 1970s. Largely forgotten and mostly unheard of in the West, the group is enjoying a resurgence of popularity as Western tastemakers are discovering their powerful music.

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

Genre: Music Documentary
Now Playing: Enzian (Monday only)
Rating: NR

COMING TO VIRTUAL CINEMA/VOD:

After the End (Tuesday)
Beckett
CODA
Curiosa
Evangelion: Thrice Upon a Time
The Land of Owls
(Tuesday)
Overrun
(Tuesday)
The Smartest Kids in the World
(Monday)

SCHEDULED FOR REVIEW:

Beckett
CODA
Don’t Breathe
Free Guy
Naked Singularity
Never Gonna Snow Again
Respect
The Smartest Kids in the World

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Never Gonna Snow Again (Sniegu juz nigdy nie bedzie)


Zhnia knows where his massages rank.

(2020) Dramedy (Kino Lorber) Alec Utgoff, Maja Ostraszewska, Agata Kulesza, Veronika Rosati, Katarzyna Figura, Lukasz Simlat, Andrzej Chyra, Krzyfsztof Czeczot, Maciej Drosio, Olaf Marchwicki, Astrid Nanowska, Wojciech Starostecki, Jerzy Nasierowski, Konstantin Solowiow, Blanka Burzynska, Adrian Podlaski, Lena Wochal, Casper Richard Petersen, Maria Seweryn. Directed by Malgorzata Szumowska and Michal Englert

 

Remember when it seemed as if everyone in the movies was wealthy and white? The pendulum has swung in a differing direction and now it feels like movies tend to be about marginalized groups more often than not, superhero movies notwithstanding.

Into a toney, gated community on the edge of a big Polish city, comes Zhenia (Utgoff), a handsome, enigmatic young man from the Ukraine with a serene smile and the magic hands of a trained masseuse. He speaks Russian, and as he gets a residents permit for plying his trade in the development he informs the bureaucrat that he lived in Pripyat, the village just outside of Chernobyl. Zhenia was just seven years old when the reactors blew.

He is accepted in the community as not only a wonderful masseuse but an excellent listener, even if some of the residents are concerned that he might be radioactive. He does seem to have some supernatural ability to take away pain and anxiety, even for a little while. He also can hypnotize his clients and from time to time move objects with the power of his mind.

Several of the middle-aged women in the community have become infatuated with Zhenia, including Maria (Ostraszewska), an exhausted mother whose children are contemptuous of her, Wika (Rosati) whose husband (Simlat) is dying of cancer although with almost blind optimism he assures everyone around him that he is indeed getting better, and a woman (Figura) whose devotion to her bulldogs approaches a kind of mania. But who is Zhenia, why is he there, and what does he hope to accomplish before the demons of his past catch up with him?

Movies like this can go one of two ways; one is the mythic, which is not the way Never Gonna Snow Again goes. The filmmakers, veteran Polish auteur Szumowska and her longtime cinematographer Englert, who shares directing credit with her here. While Zhenia has at times some Christ-like qualities, this really isn’t a Christian parable. Instead, there is a lovely bittersweet feeling here, almost elegiac in places. The greys and blues that are the bulk of the palate that Englert uses make this ideal rainy-day viewing.

\Utgoff is tremendous here. Zhenia is a bit of a cypher, releasing information about himself in dribs and drabs, but Utgoff makes him compelling. He moves with a dancer’s grace (and in fact, Zhenia dances a ballet at a couple of points in the movie) and with an impressive physique is bound to make a few hearts of those who find such men attractive go pitter pat. Utgoff has a good deal of charisma, but wisely knows when to use it and when to be less forthcoming. The end result is that Zhenia turns out to be something of a blank slate that the other characters (and the viewers) project their own interpretations on.

And Englert is nothing less than spectacular as a cinematographer here. If he toiled in Hollywood, he’d be getting regular Oscar nominations – his shot compositions are some of the finest you’ll ever see in a movie. Szumowska has the experience to know when to let the images speak for themselves and doesn’t always clutter them with dialogue. It makes for an almost spiritual feeling in certain places.

The one criticism I’d make about the movie is that the plotting sometimes feels too static; we get these wonderful images and some compelling business but it doesn’t always take us anywhere. In that sense, this is a movie that is better experienced than watched passively. Let it wash over you and make you a part of it rather than trying to figure it out might be the best way to go, because if you choose the latter course, you may end up feeling frustrated at several points in the movie.

There is some satire here, and some pointed, sharp humor as well as some social commentary (the title itself is a reference to climate change) and some thoughts about Polish nationalism – a trend which seems to be running in a number of Western nations lately, including our own. However, the points are rarely made more than gently and subtly, and while some characters appear to be taking stands in favor or against one cause or another, we are never preached to, at least overtly.

\All in all, this is the kind of movie that weaves its own magic and you’ll either be enchanted by it, or you won’t. I do think you need to be in the right frame of mind for it (which, I suppose, is true for any movie) but it is worth the effort. This is the kind of movie that will stay with you for a long while afterwards.

REASONS TO SEE: Utgoff is compelling. Beautiful shot composition. A wonderfully bittersweet tone.
REASONS TO AVOID: The story is kind of static in places.
FAMILY VALUES: There is nudity, some profanity, sexual overtones, and plenty of smoking.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: This was Poland’s official submission for the most recent Best International Feature Oscar.
BEYOND THE THEATERS: Virtual Cinema
CRITICAL MASS:As of 8/3/2021: Rotten Tomatoes: 94% positive reviews; Metacritic: 70/100.
COMPARISON SHOPPING: Teorema
FINAL RATING: 8/10
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Who Are You, Charlie Brown?