This Week at the Movies (Feb. 12, 2021)

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: Feb. 12, 2021

Wide (United States)

Judas and the Black Messiah

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Land

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Limited (United States)

Minari

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

French Exit

Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie

  • Excerpt: Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges propel a mismatched cast of oddballs reveling in an absurd situation looking for a cat who contains the consciousness of the dead husband. Thank goodness it’s not something off-the-wall or unbelievable.

The Mauritanian

Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie

  • Excerpt: odie Foster & Benedict Cumberbatch show once again torture did not work & most likely obscured the whole truth behind 9/11

2021 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

The Little Things

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Malcolm & Marie

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

4×4

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: 4×4 is an engrossing film, and it takes you on a really strange yet compelling ride within its limited setting while also touching on bigger ideas.

Acasa, My Home

Ronald wilkinson @ itsjustmovies.com

  • Excerpt: Strong camera work follows a family from paradise to the promise, as yet unfulfilled, of urban upward mobility.

Aristocrats

Richard Gray @ The Reel Bits

  • Excerpt: Beautifully shot and impeccably cast, Sode Yukiko’s third feature unfolds in bookish chapters to give a portrait of a life, well…lived.

As We Like It

Richard Gray @ The Reel Bits

  • Excerpt: A near-future spin on Shakespeare continues to play with gender roles, but gets a little lost in their exits and their entrances.

Atlantis

Ronald wilkinson @ itsjustmovies.com

  • Excerpt: An artillery shell of an antiwar movie and a vibrant cautionary tale about the military-industrial complex born anew.

Bipolar

Richard Gray @ The Reel Bits

  • Excerpt: Who is the dreamer and who dreams the dream? Queena Li’s film is all about the journey, beautiful photography, an eclectic cast of characters and one possibly spiritual lobster.

The Blazing World

Kyle Anderson @ Nerdist

Bliss

Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie

  • Excerpt: Whether or not we’re all fake computer simulations, Cahill offers a simple and effective reminder through his new film to interact with the world in a more carefree manner; not amoral, but a bit more live and let live.

Censor

Kyle Anderson @ Nerdist

Coda

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur, and the rest of the wonderful cast make ‘CODA’ hit the highest of high notes. Writer-director Sian Heder delivers a feel-good knock-out about a deaf family with a hearing daughter who aspires to sing that has so so much to say, even if it communicates differently.

Cryptozoo

Kyle Anderson @ Nerdist

Dara of Jasenovac

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: Director Predrag Peter Antonijevic (“Savior”) shines a light on a little known part of WWII history from the point of view of a young girl in a meticulous and artfully shot production that tells a tale so bleak, “The Painted Bird” seems less relentless in retrospect.

Dara of Jasenovac

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: The filmmakers explore an area of WWII that hasn’t gotten the cinematic treatment on this scale, and that new perspective makes it worthwhile despite some otherwise generic plotting.

Dead and Beautiful

Richard Gray @ The Reel Bits

  • Excerpt: It turns out that being cursed with beauty, money and limitless time is as listless as one hopes one has the beauty, money and time to find out for themselves one day.

Drifting

Richard Gray @ The Reel Bits

  • Excerpt: Jun Li and an all-star cast explores the duality of Hong Kong in his second feature, a recreation of a real case of homeless rights and overdevelopment.

Earwig and the Witch

Richard Gray @ The Reel Bits

  • Excerpt: It’s a bittersweet return for the mighty Studio Ghibli, boldly stepping into a new style of animation but leaving some of their story roots behind in the process.

The Edge of Daybreak

Richard Gray @ The Reel Bits

  • Excerpt: A hypnotic and meditative journey that uses four decades of political turmoil as the backdrop for a more familial tragedy in this strikingly visually led debut.

Eight for Silver

Kyle Anderson @ Nerdist

First Date

Kyle Anderson @ Nerdist

Friends and Strangers

Richard Gray @ The Reel Bits

  • Excerpt: Sydney proves to be a fertile backdrop for a wandering narrative where realism meets ennui.

A Ghost Waits

Andrea Chase @ KillerMovieReviews.com

  • Excerpt: Filmed in evocative black and white, the film takes hoary tropes and makes them not just fresh, but dynamic with smart direction and a performance from Andrews that hits all the right emotional notes with fine undertones of complexity and heart.

A Glitch in the Matrix

Kyle Anderson @ Nerdist

A Glitch in the Matrix

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: As fascinating, thought-provoking, and well-researched a documentary as ‘A Glitch in the Matrix’ is, it also proves to be utterly terrifying in both its study of simulation theory and the dark real world implications it poses.

I Blame Society

Shelagh Rowan-Legg @ ScreenAnarchy

Identifying Features

Ronald wilkinson @ itsjustmovies.com

  • Excerpt: Acting and locations so real it looks like a documentary, then dissolving into horror in a crashing ending worthy of any classic tragedy.

In the Earth

Kyle Anderson @ Nerdist

In the Earth

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: Ben Wheatley’s return to horror uses the backdrop of a global pandemic to spin a folksy yarn about woodland killers and pagan worship that employs militant audio-visual hallucinogenic effects to entertain and disorient. A real return to form for Wheatley and the first movie to effectively tackle the virus and its effect on our collective sanity.

Jockey

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: An emotionally-charged and gorgeous-framed film about man’s struggle for serenity in the face of lost purpose, ‘Jockey’ features a career-best turn from Clifton Collins Jr., even if it’s a story that feels like it’s been told before.

John and the Hole

Kyle Anderson @ Nerdist

John and the Hole

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: Led by an unsettling central turn from Charlie Shotwell, ‘John and the Hole’ is a mysterious, jet black anti-coming-of-age fable about the loss of childhood innocence and wanting to accelerate the pace of growing up that is sure to leave many viewers mystified. For all its lurid puzzlings, this hole feels like Yorgos Lanthimos was charged with remaking ‘Home Alone’ so I still dug it.

Knocking

Kyle Anderson @ Nerdist

Lone Wolf

Richard Gray @ The Reel Bits

  • Excerpt: Adapting a Victorian tragedy to contemporary Melbourne is a disturbingly easy fit in an age of constant surveillance.

Mass

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: A painstakingly intimate, conversation-driven drama with phenomenal performances all around (Jacob Isaacs and Ann Dowd are especially extraordinary), Mass is a terrific and terrifically depressing debut from Fran Kranz that will be sure to move audiences to tears.

The Mimic

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: A sharp script and fantastic performances from Thomas Sadoski and Jake Robinson make a sharp and hilarious comedy.

Misha and the Wolves

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: This globe-trotting caper is a tale that’s stranger than fiction, perhaps because it just might be, and director Sam Hobkinson manages to weave the tale of a Holocaust survivor who lived with wolves into an entertaining and meaningful exploration of truth and autobiography.

Mother Schmuckers

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: This ultra-low-budget Belgian comedy is a tasteless gas that regularly makes light of that which is most likely to offend. Writers, directors, and stars Harpo and Lenny Guit are almost definitely an acquired taste but their weirdo depravity left me giggling nonstop.

The Night

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: The film’s payoff doesn’t quite work, but the buildup that preceeded it is incredibly tense and refined horror filmmaking.

The Night

Ronald wilkinson @ itsjustmovies.com

  • Excerpt: A synchronous collection of horror tropes keeps up the pressure from beginning to end.

Night of the Kings

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: ‘Night of the Kings’ challenges what a film can be, using African traditions of oral storytelling to create an often spellbinding – if not entirely complete – story about, well, stories.

Night of the Kings

Ronald wilkinson @ itsjustmovies.com

  • Excerpt: When Africa does surrealism one is in for a treat.

A Nightmare Wakes

Sarah Boslaugh @ The Arts STL

  • Excerpt: A Nightmare Wakes is Mary’s story, and in representing her mental state, it frequently blurs the boundary between what’s in her mind and what’s in the reality shared by her companions. This is done with such subtlety that you often don’t realize the film has left the shared world of experiences until you’re well into Mary’s feelings and perceptions.

A Nightmare Wakes

Andrea Chase @ KillerMovieReviews.com

  • Excerpt: This is an oneiric exercise in capturing the truth of a woman and a book that succeeds where traditional narrative could not.

On the Count of Three

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: A jet black comedy-drama with serious issues on its mind, ‘On the Count of Three’ finds morbid humor and grave sentiment in a pair of besties with a suicide pact. Christopher Abbott is as good as he’s ever been.

Passing

Candice Frederick @ TheGrio

Pleasure

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: A stunningly provocative exploration of the peaks and valleys of the porn industry led by a wowing performance from newcomer Sofia Kappel, ‘Pleasure’ uses gratuitous sex to speak to structures of power and consent while telling the story of one girl’s thirst for pornstar fame.

Prime Time

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: Jakub Piatek’s attempt to unravel the modern obsession with broadcasting our private lives through the lens of Y2K features a solid performance from Bartosz Bielenia but cannot stir up enough twisty plot momentum to engage on a deeper level.

Rams

Dan Lybarger @ Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

  • Excerpt: It’s difficult to go wrong with good material.

The Reckoning

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: It most doesn’t reach the heights of some of Neil Marshall’s previous works, but there’s enough style, tension, and strange imagery to make its mark.

The Reckoning

Shelagh Rowan-Legg @ ScreenAnarchy

Sabaya

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: Though one may be left wanting more footage and more character after watching the horrifying ‘Sabaya’, there is no denying the raw power of Hogir Hinori’s guerrilla documentary which shines a light on one of Earth’s darkest spots.

Saint Maud

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: There are echoes of many great films and filmmakers in Glass’s work – Polanski’s ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘Repulsion,’ Stanley Kubrick, ‘The Exorcist’ and even Lars von Trier. And yet her film never feels derivative.

Saint Maud

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: Expertly building suspense and tension – and popping that bubble perfectly with some of the most effective jump scares of recent memory – ‘Saint Maud’ has all the markings of a horror great, with a killer ending to boot.

Saint Maud

Andrew Wyatt @ The Lens

Sexual Drive

Richard Gray @ The Reel Bits

  • Excerpt: Bringing together Japan’s twin histories in cinematic erotic and the glorification of food, Kota Yoshida’s anthology may make you reassess your relationship with at least three food groups.

Space Sweepers

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: Space Sweepers offers a good old fashioned adventure that sweeps you up in a whole new world with wonder, wit, and plenty of personality. It has the kind of heart and imagination that you don’t see in a lot of modern American blockbusters.

Summer of Soul (Or…When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Candice Frederick @ TheGrio

Summer of Soul (Or…When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: Questlove creates a toe-tapping and revolutionary documentary that’ll have audiences foaming at the mouth for more. The lineup of talent is simply insane, the performances eye-popping, the talking-head commentary on Black culture and music’s place within it is poignant and relevant today without stopping the contagious upbeat energy. An absolute must-see.

Superior

Matt Oakes @

  • Excerpt: Erin Vassilopoulos’ ‘Superior’ is a moody psychological drama that suffers a middling script while leaning on effective, evocative aesthetics and too-subtle character development.

Two of Us

Lee Jutton @ Film Inquiry

  • Excerpt: The debut narrative feature from writer-director Filippo Meneghetti, Two of Us provides a stirring look at the longtime love between two older women and the way it is put to the test by a health crisis. With a story hinged on the disapproval and disappointment of others, some of the plot twists feel startlingly retrograde for a film about a lesbian couple in the twenty-first century, but an absolutely brilliant lead performance from the legendary Barbara Sukowa makes it impossible to stop watching regardless.

The Wanting Mare

Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum

  • Excerpt: Some will find The Wanting Mare to be too slow or abstract, but it packs so much imagery and ideas in a way that is challenging, rich, and a feast for the eyes.

The Wanting Mare

Shelagh Rowan-Legg @ ScreenAnarchy

The Witches of the Orient

Richard Gray @ The Reel Bits

  • Excerpt: A remarkable story about an equally remarkable team of Japanese volleyball players and their unbeaten lead-up to their victory at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

2020 Films

Tenet

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Earwig and the Witch

Kyle Anderson @ Nerdist

French Exit

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: Jacobs has fashioned something akin to a Wes Anderson movie without the twee production design crossed with one of Woody Allen’s jaunts into the more supernatural side of show biz.

Mangrove

Josh Taylor @ The Forgetful Film Critic

  • Excerpt: As heart-rending and politically charged as Mangrove makes the fight for racial equality, the movie also takes time to celebrate this community and its joyous spirit. Crichlow’s Mangrove restaurant is a safe space for his community to gather, break bread, express themselves, and celebrate their cultural identity.

Riders of Justice

Richard Gray @ The Reel Bits

  • Excerpt: The opening night film at the 50th International Film Festival Rotterdam is a solid revenge film with a socio-political twist, with Anders Thomas Jensen bringing punchy action and dark comedy in equal measure.

Wander

Ronald wilkinson @ itsjustmovies.com

  • Excerpt: A mystery thriller of slim proportions relying too much on high production.

2019 Films

Imperial Blue

Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Reviews

  • Excerpt: At times it’s scintillating.

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