For movies opening June 9, 2017

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

by Kam Williams

For movies opening June 9, 2017

Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, The Mummy, Megan Leavey,  Big Budget Films, Independent & Foreign Films

BIG BUDGET FILMS

It Comes at Night (R for profanity, violence and disturbing images) Post-apocalyptic suspense thriller about a couple (Joel Edgerton and Carmen Ejogo) with a son (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) who successfully evade the deadly plague terrorizing the planet until, against their better judgment, they decide to share their cabin in the woods with a desperate family seeking refuge from the scourge. With Christopher Abbott, Riley Keough and Griffin Robert Faulkner.

Megan Leavey (PG-13 for violence, profanity, mature themes and suggestive material) Kate Mara portrays the title character in this Iraq War docudrama chronicling the real-life exploits of a Marine corporal who successfully conducted over 100 missions with the help of a combat dog until an IED injures them both. Supporting cast includes Common, Edie Falco, Will Patton and Bradley Whitford.     

The Mummy (PG-13 for action, violence, partial nudity, scary images and suggestive content) Sofia Boutella assumes the title role in this reboot of the horror franchise revolving around an ancient princess entombed for millennia in a crypt buried deep in the desert who is suddenly revived as a terrifying malevolent force. Co-starring Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Courtney B. Vance and Annabelle Wallis.

My Cousin Rachel (PG-13 for sexuality and brief profanity) Adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel about a revenge-minded Englishman (Sam Claflin) who finds himself falling in love with the cousin (Rachel Weisz) he suspects murdered his guardian (Iain Glen).With Holliday Grainger, Andrew Knott and Poppy Lee Friar.   

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

As Good as You (Unrated) Bittersweet dramedy about a grieving lesbian (Laura Heisler) who asks her late wife’s brother (Bryan Dechart) to donate the sperm for her artificial insemination, only to subsequently land in a love triangle with her two BFFs (Anna Fitzwater and Raoul Bhaneja). Featuring Annie Potts, Peter Maloney and Karis Campbell.

Beatriz at Dinner (R for profanity and a scene of violence) Salma Hayek portrays the title character in this fish-out-of-water comedy as a Mexican masseuse who is invited to join a wealthy client’s (Connie Britton) family for supper when her car won’t start following a treatment. With John Lithgow, Chloe Sevigny and Jay Duplass.

Camera Obscura (Unrated) Psychological thriller about a war photographer with PTSD (Christopher Denham) who starts questioning his sanity when he is able to forecast imminent deaths from snapshots he’s taken. Featuring Catherine Curtin, Chase Williamson and Nadja Bobyleva and Noah Segan. 

The Hero (R for drug use, profanity and sexuality) Sam Elliott stars as the title character in this bittersweet portrait of an aging star of Westerns who finds himself facing his mortality after being diagnosed with cancer. Supporting cast includes Nick Offerman, Katharine Ross and Laura Prepon. 

The Hunter’s Prayer (R for violence, profanity and drug use) Cat-and-mouse thriller about an assassin (Sam Worthington) who ends up on the run with a woman (Odeya Rush) he decides not to kill. With Martin Compston, Tina Maskell and Eben Young. (In English, German and French with subtitles)     

I Love You Both (Unrated) Sibling rivalry dramedy about a twin brother (Doug Archibald) and sister (Krystin Archibald) whose tight bond becomes strained when they start dating the same guy (Lucas Neff). Featuring Artemis Pebdani, Angela Trimbur and Kate Berlant.

Night School (Unrated) Against-the-odds documentary chronicling the efforts of three students to graduate from one of Indianapolis’ worst, inner-city high schools.

Raising Bertie (Unrated) Coming-of-age documentary chronicling a half-dozen years in the lives of a trio of ambitious, African-American adolescents being raised in rural North Carolina.

 

 Source:  Baret News

Desperate Survivors Lead Spartan Existence in Post-Apocalyptic Suspense Thriller

 

It Comes at Night,  Film Review, Kam Williams, Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, spine-tingler , horrorIt Comes at Night

Film Review by Kam Williams

Desperate Survivors Lead Spartan Existence in Post-Apocalyptic Suspense Thriller

Paul (Joel Edgerton) found a safe refuge for his family far from the rest of humanity in the wake of a deadly plague that’s been decimating the planet. At least that’s what he thought about their remote hideout until his wife’s (Carmen Ejogo) dad somehow caught the disease.

After allowing Sarah and their son (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) to say their goodbyes through germ-proof respirators, Paul put a bullet in his ailing father-in-law’s head before he had a chance to infect one of them, too. While the body was being cremated, traumatized, 17 year-old Travis tried to comfort himself as much as his pet dog, saying, “Don’t worry, Stanley, I’m going to take care of you.”

But as any movie fan knows, such an assurance is ordinarily an ominous kiss of death in a horror flick. And true to form, Stanley’s the next to go in It Comes at Night, a claustrophobic suspense thriller set inside a darkened cabin in the woods.

  The picture is the sophomore offering from writer/director Trey Edward Shults who made an impressive debut a couple of years ago with Krisha. Here, the emerging wunderkind again makes the most of a micro-budget, crafting a harrowing tale guaranteed to make your hair stand on end.

The plot thickens when another family of refugees, desperate for shelter and sustenance, shows up unannounced. Against his better judgment, Paul invites the strangers to share their already meager rations, provided none of them is infected..

Patriarch Will (Christopher Abbott) assures him they’re healthy, but there’s something suspicious about the way that his wife, Kim (Riley Keough), keeps their baby covered up. Anyhow, the six proceed to pass a peaceful enough, if Spartan, existence until things mysteriously start to go bump in the middle of the night.

Whaddya expect to happen in a scary, spine-tingler with such a big hint in the title?

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated  R for profanity, violence and disturbing images

Running time: 97 minutes

Production Studio: Animal Kingdom

Distributor: A24

Source:  Baret News

Poignant Period Piece Recounts the Forbidden Romance That Led to Landmark Supreme Court Decision

 

Loving,  Film Review by Kam Williams, forbidden romance, Ruth Negga, Joel EdgertonLoving

Film Review by Kam Williams

Poignant Period Piece Recounts the Forbidden Romance That Led to Landmark Supreme Court Decision

Mildred Jeter (Ruth Negga) and Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) committed a crime just by falling in love when they were in the bloom of youth back in 1958. That’s because she was black and he was white, and they were living in Virginia, one of the many Southern states with anti-miscegnation laws still on the books forbidding cohabitation, marriage, procreation or even sexual relations across racial lines.

Nevertheless, Richard was so smitten he proposed and, after Mildred accepted, he purchased a vacant plot of land where he promised to build their dream home. However, when it came to time to wed, they had to travel north to Washington, DC, a city where they could secure a marriage license.

Upon returning to their tiny hometown of Central Point, they were promptly arrested during a nighttime raid staged by policemen tipped off about the recent nuptials. They charged the couple with violating  section 20-58 of Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act, a felony punishable with up to five years in prison.

The Lovings were ultimately convicted, but fled to the District of Columbia rather than serve their sentences, especially since Mildred was expecting their first child by then. What a tragedy it was for them not only to be fugitives of justice, but to be forced to start their family in a strange big city, when they already had a place to live, if it weren’t for state-sanctioned racial intolerance.

Loving,  Film Review by Kam Williams, forbidden romance, Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton

Five years later, their plight came to the attention of Bernie Cohen (Nick Kroll) and Phil Hirshkop (Jon Bass) attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The lawyers talked Mildred and Richard into lending their names as plaintiffs in a suit challenging the Constitutionality of Virginia’s longstanding statute prohibiting interracial marriage.

The beleaguered couple agreed, and the appellate process worked its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court which agreed to hear the case. “Tell the judge I love my wife,” Richard implored the ACLU legal team preparing the oral argument.

On June 12, 1967, the Court announced that it had arrived at a unanimous decision written by Chief Justice Earl Warren. He declared that Virginia had violated the Lovings’ rights to both Equal Protection and Due Process as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

Directed by Jeff Nichols (Mud), Loving carefully chronicles the life and times of an unassuming couple reluctantly thrust into the national limelight by a landmark legal case. The production features endearing performances by leads Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton who generate a quiet, yet convincing screen chemistry portraying Mildred and Richard as modest working-class heroes.

A poignant period piece about a pair of practically-saintly role models well-deserving of their iconic status in the annals of American jurisprudence.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for mature themes and ethnic slurs

Running time: 123 minutes

Studio: Big Beach Films

Distributor: Focus Features

Source:  Baret News

Depp Delivers Oscar-Quality Performance as Notorious Mobster Whitey Bulger

 

Black Mass

Film Review by Kam Williams

Depp Delivers Oscar-Quality Performance as Notorious Mobster Whitey Bulger

In the mid-1970s, James “Whitey” Bulger began rising through the ranks of South Boston’s Winter Hill Gang by knocking off all the competition vying for control of his tight-knit, Irish neighborhood. The power-hungry mobster subsequently sought to muscle-in on assorted illegal rackets being run by the Mafia in the city’s predominantly-Italian North End.

Black Mass, Film Review, Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Dakota JohnsonWhile in the midst of the ensuing turf war, Whitey was surreptitiously approached by John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), a childhood friend from Southie working for the FBI. Agent Connolly informed his pal that the Bureau had enough evidence to put him behind bars and throw away the key, though it was willing to look the other way in return for his cooperation as an undercover informant.

Bulger grudgingly agreed after establishing that he wouldn’t have to snitch on any of his associates, only on his cross-town rivals in the Angiulo crime family. However, Connolly further stipulated that no murders could be committed by any Winter Hill members once the unholy alliance was struck.

Of course, that was a little much to expect, given how there’s no honor among thieves, especially when it comes to a ruthless assassin like Whitey. He merely saw the protection being afforded by the Feds as an opportunity to behave with impunity as he further expanded his spheres of influence.

The Machiavellian mastermind proceeded to embark on a bloody reign of terror during which Connolly and a fellow G-Man (David Harbour) found themselves being manipulated to venture to the wrong side of the law. When the truth finally came to light, the two agents were arrested as accomplices to Whitey who disappeared into thin air, landed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, and yet still avoided apprehension for well over a decade.

Directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), Black Mass is a riveting biopic chronicling the infamous exploits of as chilling a character as you’re apt to encounter in the theater this year. Johnny Depp is at the top of his game, here, as Bulger, a very intimidating, larger-than-life monster without a functioning conscience. Cooper has the potential of doing for the three-time, Academy Award-nominee what he already accomplished for Jeff Bridges with Crazy Heart, namely, land the veteran thespian the coveted Oscar which has managed to elude him despite a brilliant career marked by a string of nonpareil performances.

Besides Depp, kudos are in order for much of the stellar supporting cast, especially Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Dakota Johnson, Julianne Nicholson and Benedict Cumberbatch. Though the September back-to-school season is generally a harbinger of a weak slate at the cinema, the exceptional Black Mass proved to be a pleasant surprise and the first must-see flick of the fall.   

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for graphic violence, pervasive profanity, sexual references and brief drug use

Running time: 122 minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures

Source:  Baret News