What should I see this weekend?, 1/6-1/8

ScreenerBlog

A quiet, lackluster January begins!

(SR)=Specialty Release

The Good

Hidden Figures: “Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe are irresistible (and unstoppable) in this engaging story of pioneering black female mathematicians at NASA.”

A Monster Calls: “An audacious mix of genres, A Monster Calls brings a dark, fantastical twist to a tale of childhood grief.”

Between Us (SR): “A frightening look into a post-nuptial abyss.”

The Blah

Railroad Tigers (SR): “Overall a slapdash and silly movie, Railroad Tigers is still a treat to watch, even when it slips into violence and propaganda.”

Master (SR): “Drawn-out Korean thriller pits corrupt billionaire against cops determined to defeat his pyramid scheme. Flimsy plotting drags down a showcase for some of Korea's brightest stars.”

Arsenal (SR): “For Nic Cage completists only.”

Retake (SR): “By the end, you'll feel like you've seen it all before. But for a good while, Retake, the feature debut of writer-director Nick Corporon […] seems like it's carving out some distinctive new territory in the well-trod world of queer cinema.”

The Ardennes (SR): “Two brothers by blood and in crime struggle to maintain their dual relationship in The Ardennes, a gritty Belgian pic that isn't as Cain-and-Abel-ish as it seems […] A promising if not quite audacious debut by Robin Pront, the film benefits from a solidly envisioned family dynamic but doesn't really generate much heat until its final act.”

The Ugly

Underworld: Blood Wars: “Strictly for rabid fans, Underworld: Blood Wars is a generic, by-the-numbers genre exercise that, for all its talk of blood, is strictly anemic.”

A Different American Dream (SR): “A shallow, context-free documentary about the effects of North Dakota oil drilling on Native American communities.”

Hickey (SR): “This bland, uninspired Los Angeles-set comedy features a hero who won’t go east to a dazzling college future. Hard to muster sympathy for that, but harder still to find any laughs here.”