Here are some reviews of films coming out at the theater this week as well as others that may be in theaters or newly on home video.
Opening: Aug. 21, 2020
Wide (United States)
Words on Bathroom Walls
Limited (United States)
- Excerpt: a compelling, fully fledged historical document of a doomed rescue mission. Kopple’s intent to honor these men’s bravery comes through loud and clear.
The Pale Door
- Excerpt: …director Aaron B. Koontz (“Camera Obscura”) would have had to devise a way to shoot flares out of the screen to engage my interest… The best thing about the film is the Edgar Allan Poe stanza which introduces it, a delusional misrepresentation of what follows.
- Excerpt: It has moments that are inspired and haunting and entertaining, and the the gore effects are fantastic as well. However, it loses momentum awfully quick, and its limitations becomes very obvious.
- Excerpt: Ethan Hawke’s intense, slightly mannered performance… makes the juxtaposition of his period perfection …stepping up to a microphone to perform Tears for Fears ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ spark like Tesla’s magnifying transmitter.
- Excerpt: The picture casts a hypnotic spell.
- Excerpt: The structure of Almereyda’s film can therefore be best summed up with the word “anachronistic” and even that isn’t enough preparation for Tears for Fears karaoke.
Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula
- Excerpt: …this zombie adventure tale by way of “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ and countless videogames is entertaining enough, but its pretentious U.S. title of “Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula” promises more than it delivers.
- Excerpt: The film has its own brand of cleverness that makes it an enjoyable watch.
2020 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas
I Used to Go Here
She Dies Tomorrow
- Excerpt: Boys State is a masterful piece of observational, verité cinema. It’s every bit as engrossing as something like Harlan County, USA – although the stakes of that film, about striking coal miners in Kentucky, are literally life-and-death – and carries on the grand tradition of the direct cinema approach of the Maysles Brothers and Frederick Wiseman.
- Excerpt: Uses biting humor to create a scathing indictment of the way we treat each other in this Very-Online world in which we live and examine the real-world toll of the seemingly empty words we so often throw into the social media void with little consideration.
- Excerpt: It unspools like a political thriller, but its real world consequences are dead serious.
- Excerpt: Does the decision to sprinkle those tough debates into a much friendlier profile that targets an audience already on the ACLU’s side make the end result a “puff piece”? No.
Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo
- Excerpt: Whether or not Trejo has actually paid his debt to society for the ills of his youth isn’t for us to judge anyway. All we can know is that he’s never stopped making amends.
The One and Only Ivan
- Excerpt: If Stella’s ‘Not all humans are bad. They can surprise you,’ wilts under the slavery allegory, it fits right in with the animal rights concept that “Ivan” will imprint on children.
The One and Only Ivan
- Excerpt: Disney hasn’t produced such a bizarre animal-related feature since 1995’s Operation Dumbo Drop.
Out Stealing Horses
- Excerpt: A melancholy permeates every frame of Moland’s film and can be felt with every note of Kaspar Kaae’s gorgeous score.
- Excerpt: Worth a look for action fans and fans of people hunting other people for sport.
- Excerpt: Project Power can never stick the landing, wavering in an in-between space: Not crazy enough to be fun, not smart enough to be good.
- Excerpt: Project Power is an amusing and satisfying distraction that falls in line with what you’d expect from a Netflix original. Charismatic performances carry the thrills along even if it doesn’t explore all the possibilities of its premise.
- Excerpt: Although the star power of Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt shines in Project Power, it’s young Dominique Fishback who sparkles the brightest in this exciting Netflix offering.
Random Acts of Violence
- Excerpt: My disappointment is therefore made worse because the capacity to be great is present. In [the filmmakers’] quest to expose [a necessary] truth, they’ve also unwittingly perpetuated it.
- Excerpt: It’s the type of human-interest story that touches upon the surface of what occurred in a way that hits audiences emotionally without actually saying much.
- Excerpt: While it may have some missed opportunities, the bleak atmosphere and strong performances, especially from Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, gives you just enough to be engrossed in the story.
Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies
- Excerpt: Always entertaining, thanks to extensive use of clips and some great anecdotes from the various interview subjects.
Starting at Zero: Reimagining Education in America
- Excerpt: Is this a documentary about quality day care for the smallest kids, or a slick PowerPoint presentation for policy wonks about the economic need to churn out cooperative corporate cogs from babyhood?
The Tax Collector
- Excerpt: A lot of The Tax Collector does [work] before it’s bogged down by misjudged sentimentality.
Waiting for the Barbarians
Bavner Donaldo @ Cinejour [Indonesian]
Waiting for the Barbarians
- Excerpt: [It contains] a lesson perfectly suited to this moment in our global history because it demands that we reflect upon our respective privilege and [its inherent] hypocrisies.