What should I see this weekend?, 10/7-10/9
This week, our reviewers are on board with The Girl on the Train but think Terrence Malick's Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience isn't entirely worth the trip.
The Girl on the Train: “Even before it became an international best-seller, The Girl on the Train, with its echoes of Rear Window and Gaslight, was a natural for the screen, and now Tate Taylor’s psychologically acute film adaptation has arrived, with a fearless Emily Blunt in the lead, delivering chills and catharsis.”
The Birth of a Nation: “In the year of Black Lives Matter, this Sundance-heralded slave-rebellion drama arrives as a raging clarion call.”
Thank You for Your Service (SR): “An outrage-inciting documentary about the lack of mental-health support offered to American military veterans.”
Being 17 (SR): “This quiet stunner represents a return to peak form for André Téchiné.”
Under the Shadow (SR): “British-Iranian writer-director Babak Anvari's assured first feature is a gripping thriller about a mother and daughter under supernatural siege, which also doubles as a potent allegory for the insidious and very real anxieties of war, political turmoil and a society that oppresses women.”
The Great Gilly Hopkins (SR): “The Great Gilly Hopkins is a surprisingly well-written, directed and acted family film. Darn it, it’s actually engaging.”
Blinky Bill: The Movie (SR): “The cartoon character of Blinky Bill, an adventurous koala, has been a huge hit in Australia since 1933, when he first appeared there as a character in a children’s book. American kids (and their parents) may well ask why it took so long to bring Blinky and his environmentally aware (and truly hilarious) Aussie pals to the U.S.”
Mirzya (SR): “Lush, romantic Bollywood drama joins the ranks of the year’s most beautiful films.”
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life: "Channeling the spirit of John Hughes and playing like a tween version of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life delivers an easily digestible and amusing portrait of youthful hijinks that should well please its target audience."
Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience (SR): “Visually sumptuous, but prone to overstatement, it's the opposite of a kid-friendly IMAX nature documentary.”
Newtown (SR): “While Newtown conveys the confusion of that terrible morning, and the shock and grief that followed, through archival footage and interviews with parents, a police official, and teachers and staff members, the documentary offers no insight into the shooting in which twenty first-graders and six adults were killed inside the school. Its other great shortcoming is a lack of reporting.”
Theo Who Lived (SR): "That pretentious title kinda says it all about this well-meaning but rather narcissistic doc about a kidnapping victim’s experiences in Syria."
The Lennon Report (SR): “The Lennon Report is compelling filmmaking, but it's hard not to think that its audience is limited.”
’37’ (SR): “…[S]hort on convincing drama and long on one-dimensional characters who stand for things, a kaleidoscope of issues rather than an ensemble of voices. …'37' is earnest and handsomely self-aware, its shots of nondescript apartment-building hallways and stairwells fluid and clearly influenced by The Shining. But it's viscerally inert and it's a hard to imagine who the audience is for this piece of historical reenactment.”
Blue Jay (SR): “Small but stirring, thanks mostly to Sarah Paulson.”
Asura: The City of Madness (SR): “Stylish if derivative, it's bloody enough for action fans, and moody enough for niche venues. A compelling performance by Jung Woo-sung helps elevate it slightly above run-of-the-mill thrillers.”
Ovation (SR): “With its story of backstage dramas going haywire, Ovation, yet another light comedy trifle from notably prolific West Coast writer/filmmaker/distributor Henry Jaglom, won’t get one from this seat.”
Better Off Single (SR): “The world’s not exactly hurting for generic rom-coms about attractive young professionals navigating the New York dating scene from the comfort of their unrealistically large apartments (I blame the last one on ‘Friends’), but if it were, writer-director Benjamin Cox’s Better Off Single still wouldn’t be worth the time it takes to watch it.”
The Greasy Strangler (SR): “A movie that begs you to hate it but doesn't merit that much psychic energy.”
London Town (SR): “Jonathan Rhys Meyers is cool as Joe Strummer, but his few appearances and the use of The Clash’s music isn’t enough to save a generally bland coming-of-age story with poorly written characters.”