New Releases for the Week of February 4, 2022


MOONFALL

(Lionsgate) Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Michael Peña, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, Donald Sutherland, Carolina Bartczak. Directed by Roland Emmerich

When the moon is discovered to have fallen out of orbit and is on a collision course with Earth, the world prepares for annihilation. One former astronaut thinks she might have the solution, only nobody believes her. She and a motley crew of three embark on a dangerous, last-ditch effort to save the planet – only to discover that the moon isn’t what they think it is. The latest from disaster Meister Roland Emmerich.

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

Genre: Science Fiction
Now Playing: Wide
Rating: PG-13 (for violence, disaster action, strong language, and some drug use)

Jackass Forever

(Paramount) Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Jason “Wee Man” Acuna, Chris Pontius. The original cast of idiots reunites for a celebration of friendship and getting nailed in the gonads.

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

Genre: Comedy
Now Playing: Wide
Rating: R (for strong crude material and dangerous stunts, graphic nudity and language throughout)

Sundown

(Bleecker Street) Tim Roth, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jazua Lanios, Henry Godman. A wealthy family on vacation in Mexico find their vacation interrupted by a distant emergency. When the family’s tight-knit order is disrupted by a relative, the tensions percolating below the surface begin to show.

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

Genre: Drama
Now Playing: AMC Disney Springs
Rating: R (for sexual content, violence, language and some graphic nudity)

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America

(Sony Classics) Jeffrey Robinson. Criminal defense and civil rights lawyer Robinson draws a stark timeline of racism in America, going back from slavery to Black Lives Matter, through academic lectures, interviews, and personal revelations.

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

Genre: Documentary
Now Playing: AMC Altamonte Mall, AMC Avenue 16 Melbourne, AMC Disney Springs, Regal Waterford Lakes, Regal Winter Park Village
Rating: PG-13 (for thematic content, disturbing images, violence and strong language – all involving racism)

The Wolf and the Lion

(Blue Fox) Molly Kunz, Graham Greene, Charlie Carrick, Derek Johns. A young woman who grew up in the Canadian wilderness returns home after a death in the family. In the woods, she discovers two abandoned cubs – a wolf and a lion. She rescues them and they form a familial bond, but after a forest ranger discovers the situation and removes the two animals from her home, the wolf and the lion escape to reunite themselves with each other and the woman who saved them.

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

Genre: Family
Now Playing: AMC Altamonte Mall, AMC Avenue 16 Melbourne, AMC Disney Springs, AMC West Oaks, Cinemark Orlando, CMX Merritt Square, Fashion Square Premiere, Regal Oviedo Marketplace, Regal The Loop, Regal Waterford Lakes
Rating: PG (for thematic elements, language and some peril)

COMING TO VIRTUAL CINEMA/VOD:

Alone With You (Tuesday)
Book of Love (Friday)
The Fabulous Filipino Brothers (Tuesday)
Ghosts of the Ozarks (Thursday)
Just Swipe (Tuesday)
Last Looks (Friday)
Listen Out for Love (Sunday)
Single Black Female (Saturday)
Slapface (Thursday)
The Wrong High School Sweetheart (Friday)

SCHEDULED FOR REVIEW:

The Fabulous Filipino Brothers
Just Swipe
Moonfall

Sunset (2018)


Patricia (Barbara Bleier) peers out at a bleak future.

(2018) Drama (Random Media) Barbara Bleier, Austin Pendleton, Liam Mitchell, David Johnson, Juri Henley-Cohn, Suzette Gunn, Erin Bruch, Tom Coughlin, Amanda Rae Dodson, Cameron Berner, Faith Bruch, Anthony LoCascio, Michael Pacyna, Erika Rademaker, Susan Feinman. Directed by Jamison M. LoCascio

 

For a very long time the human race has lived with the idea of its own extinction. Whether brought down by the wrath of God or by the hubris of science, there has been a constant Damoclean sword hanging over our heads. For the most part, we try not to think about it, going about our daily lives. How would things change if we knew that end was imminent?

Patricia (Bleier) is given a surprise birthday party by her longtime husband Henry (Mitchell). All of their friends are there, from Henry’s former partner Ayden (Henley-Cohn) who has a successful financial business of his own and Ayden’s girlfriend Breyanna (Gunn). Also in attendance is Henry’s current employee Chris (Johnson), a mentally challenged young man that Patricia and Henry have more or less adopted (he lives in their home), and Patricia’s former colleague Julian (Pendleton). It should be an occasion of joy but hanging over their head was the recent nuclear attack on Los Angeles. They live in New York so they are well aware there’s a huge target painted on their home.

The pall on the occasion is further lengthened by an argument between Henry and Julian regarding the government’s handling of the L.A. situation; Henry believes that retaliation should be part of policy while Julian believes that the government’s conventional weapon attacks have only made matters worse. Patricia, who has mobility issues after an accident permanently damaged her spine and ended her dancing – and dance teaching – careers, decides to call an early night. There is tension between Henry and Julian beyond the argument; it seems that Julian has some strong feelings for Patricia, feelings that Henry is well-aware of.

The next day, the news comes that an attack on New York City is expected and that the city is to be evacuated. That leads to mass panic; looting and worse are the orders of the day. The news provokes different reactions in all of them; some of fear, some of anger, some of confusion but all have decisions to make: where do you go when the world has gone mad?

This is the second feature from LoCascio and there are a lot of good things here. This isn’t a movie that dwells on the geopolitical implications of a nuclear conflict, nor does it get wrapped up in special effects or barrel-chested heroes saving the world from annihilation at the very last possible moment. This is a movie about people, people who are facing the unthinkable and trying to cope. In many ways this is the most real movie about nuclear holocaust that’s ever been made.

But there are flaws here. At times the acting feels stiff; Johnson in particular tries a little too hard and it shows. While Bleier and Mitchell make a believable couple, Bleier doesn’t quite carry off the role the way perhaps it should have been. She needed to be a little more fragile, especially in light of what happens in the last third of the film. Henley-Cohn acquits himself the best here; he has some screen presence and a kind of Mark Harmon-like rugged boyishness that is appealing.

The movie’s main strength – its intelligence – does also lead into something that may prevent audiences from connecting; it’s very talky. Most of the movie is made up of conversations between various characters as they discuss the impending attack and what their plans are. There’s not a lot of action here and I don’t mean in the Arnold Schwarzenegger sense; I mean that the characters are curiously inert. They’re waiting for something to happen rather than making things happen. American audiences tend not to respond to that very well.

The ending though is a hum-dinger. I won’t go much further than that other than to say that you may not find a better one in a movie this year. LoCascio gets points for sticking the landing; that’s not an easy task and a lot of filmmakers these days fail to do so which can take a great movie and turn it into a mediocre one. On the contrary, the last few minutes of the movie are truly magic.

Right now the movie is preparing for a July 3rd release date on most of the major VOD and streaming platforms. Given the interesting premise I imagine that a lot of people looking for something new to watch may end up clicking on it. While I can only muster up a qualified recommendation, the movie does at least not spoil a great premise. If the performances were a little bit better, this might have been one of those sleeper movies that comes up and takes you by surprise, pleasantly so. Still, I can’t honestly say “skip it” either.

REASONS TO GO: Henley-Cohn has a Mark Harmon-like quality. The ending is really terrific.
REASONS TO STAY: Some of the performances are stiff or way over-the-top. Some may find it a little too talky.
FAMILY VALUES: There is some profanity and a brief scene of sexual content.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Veteran film lovers will recognize Pendleton as Dr. Larrabee from What’s Up Doc.
CRITICAL MASS: As of 6/4/18: Rotten Tomatoes: No score yet: Metacritic: No score yet.
COMPARISON SHOPPING: Miracle Mile
FINAL RATING: 5.5/10
NEXT:
The Cakemaker