What should I see this weekend?, 12/16-12/18

ScreenerBlog

This week, Rogue One shoots for the stars! Fences aims for the fences! Collateral Beauty... is bad.

(SR)=Specialty Release

The Good

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: “Though pacing and character issues keep this Star Wars spinoff from reaching its full potential, director Gareth Edwards still turns in a more-than-worthy addition to the galaxy far far away.”

Fences: “Denzel Washington is sensational as an angry father grappling with his family and his past in this beautifully realized adaptation of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play.”

Passengers: “A slow-moving, heady twist on the space travel sci-fi subgenre that benefits more from Chris Pratt’s dynamic range than Jennifer Lawrence’s performance.”

Neruda (SR): “Gael García Bernal plays a make-believe police inspector hunting fugitive poet and politician Pablo Neruda during Chile’s 1948 right-wing crackdown in Pablo Larraín’s handsome, thoughtful and wisecracking metafictional lark.”

The Hollow Point (SR): “An over-the-top, heavily stylized B-movie-ish mash-up of modern western and bloody thriller, The Hollow Point sees U.S.-based Spanish director Gonzalo López Gallego (The King of the Hill) seeking to bring a new angle to the bad-men-in-the-badlands genre.”

Short Stay (SR): “Simple yet effective in its naturalistic portrait of a man who can’t really fit in anywhere (nor does he seem to want to), this understated slice of East Coast life will mostly please fans of Andrew Bujalski, Joe Swanberg and other low-fi DIY directors when they first started out.”

The Blah

Collateral Beauty: “A top-notch cast shines through the murk of an ill-conceived movie about loss and grief and finding a way to move on.”

Solace (SR): “The intriguing but uninspired Solace can’t escape the clutches of ’90s serial-killer thriller déjà vu.”

A Kind of Murder (SR): “A period mystery with little of the psychological tension associated with Patricia Highsmith's stories.”

Ghostland (SR): “Simon Stadler has made an intermittently entertaining movie about the ‘Bushmen’ of Namibia, but Ghostland feels hollow, even manipulative. Something is troubling beyond the film's portrait of a people who have abandoned their ancient traditions and are experiencing the challenges of the modern world.”

The Ugly

The Wasted Times (SR): “It's hard to believe anyone […] will enjoy this movie's glacial pacing, pointless digressions, frankly incomprehensible scenes, and heavy reliance on cliché.

City of Dead Men (SR): “That portentously pretentious title is just a hint of how bad this ode to living on the youthful edge in Colombia really is.”