Today we’re doing our regular rounding up of the pick of the week’s US cinematic releases to see what’s worth a visit to the local multiplex, what’s probably best left to a later viewing at home and what’s not worth wasting your precious time at all… Love it – or leave it!
DEEPWATER HORIZON – dir. Peter Berg
George Wolf opens his review by stating that DEEPWATER HORIZON has ‘a nice throwback vibe, crackling tension and terrific ensemble acting’, it’s ‘a surprisingly compelling package’. Director Peter Berg, along with ‘crisp’ and ‘economical’ script from Matthew Michael Carnahan and Matthew Sand, ‘has long shown his skill as a tactician, and here he gets us breathtakingly close to the chaos with an authenticity that’s refreshingly unencumbered by CGI effects’. Throughout the film ‘the tension builds steadily, with a single bubble of air escaping from an undersea drill line, and leads to a spectacularly staged string of explosions that engulf the entire structure’. In his full ☆☆☆1/2 review, George summarises with ‘You may be reminded of more recent movies (especially Wahlberg’s own THE PERFECT STORM), but DEEPWATER HORIZON has a retro kinship with classic disaster films of the 70s, along with an in-the-moment humanity that salutes the real players whose lives hung in the balance’.
DEMON – dir. Marcin Wrona
In Hope Madden’s secdon helping of horror, she reviews DEMON, writing that this film ‘sticks to you’ due to director Marcin Wrona who ‘offers a spooky, atmospheric rumination on cultural loss’. The ‘performances are uniformly excellent, whether Tiran’s vulnerable groom, Andrzej Grabowski’s blowhard father-in-law, Zulewska’s tormented bride or any of the dozens of judgmental, drunk or ridiculous wedding guests. With their help, the story rides on an undercurrent of absurdist humor that consistently surprises as it injects an otherwise slowly building dread with energy’. DEMON has ‘just a hint of Kubrick’ with Wrona who ‘combines the familiar with the surprising’. In Hope’s full ☆☆☆☆ review, she summarises with, ‘more haunting than frightening, DEMON aches with loss, surprises with humor, and marks an artistic voice too soon lost’.
MASTERMINDS – dir.
In his review of the two-year-overdue MASTERMINDS, George Wolf states that the film ‘is not horrible’. There are ‘long stretches where you aren’t laughing are suddenly broken up by a randomly uproarious gag (see tube of feminine cream above), and the veteran cast always makes it watchable despite the extreme absurdity. McKinnon steals scenes with facial expressions alone while Zach and Sudeikis engage in battles of improvised strangeness’. Jared Hess ‘delivers a very odd, haphazardly funny movie’ that ‘may be a cult favorite in waiting’. Read George’s full ☆☆1/2 review.
MISS PENEGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN – dir. Tim Burton
Cinema Siren, on director Tim Burton, ‘shows his version of tasteful restraint, delves into darker territory’. Continuing, ‘It will stand solidly against much of his better fare. In creating consistency and a bit deeper emotional truth, Burton presents a film with a sense of doom that lacks the fun of a film like BEETLEJUICE. Think EDWARD SCISSORHANDS without the technicolor’. As the film progresses, ‘there’s a threat beyond the bombs Miss Peregrine keep at bay’ and ‘there are spectacular set-pieces that even taken alone are worthy of admission’. Burton’s film ‘moves quickly, and the audience is swept up in learning more about the children, the mysteries clearly lurking behind Miss Peregrine’s eyes, the direction the relationship between Jake and Emma takes, and whether all these kids will even survive the story’. Giving the film ☆☆☆☆, Cinema Siren summarises ‘It’s likely a number of critics have grown permanently tired of Burton’s style as an auteur, and reviews of this movie might suffer unfairly as a result. Never mind. To many a discerning film fan, MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN will represent a return to fine form for the director. Burton has found a great home for his peculiar talents, and his fans should welcome it, and Miss Peregrine, with open arms’.
CLOWNTOWN – dir. Tom Nagel (limited release)
Hope Madden writes that CLOWNTOWN is ‘clearly made with good intentions’ but with ‘no money and very little talent, the film has somehow made it this far’. She continues, stating that ‘there’s a Halloween-esque backstory (complete with Strode written on a mailbox)’, but quickly interjects that it doesn’t help the film. Andrew Stanton ‘is not terrible’ and around him are ‘three actors with varying degrees of talent’. Some clowns have a ‘good, nasty look’, but ‘rest just look like hobos in white paint. The presence of danger hasn’t helped continuity, action or acting’. In her ☆ review, Hope summarises with ‘Whatever the case, I wish cast and crew well, but I’d rather find myself in a clown-infested down in Southern Ohio than sit through a second viewing of CLOWNTOWN’.
FILM OF THE WEEK: MISS PENEGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN and DEMON