Film Shorts – Fort Worth Weekly

5November 2020

OPENING Chuck Leavell: The Tree Man (NR) Allen Farst’s documentary profiles the legendary rock keyboardist. Likewise with Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, John Mayer, Miranda Lambert, Ronnie Wood, Charlie Watts, Bruce Hornsby, Paul Shaffer, and Billy Bob Thornton. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The Dark and the Wicked (NR) Marin Ireland and Michael Abbott Jr. star in this scary movie by Bryan Bertino (The Strangers) When they visit for their father’s death, as siblings who sense evil taking over their secluded family farm. With Xander Berkeley, Lynn Andrews, Julie Oliver-Touchstone, and Tom Nowicki. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The Donut King (NR) Alice Gu’s documentary profiles Ted Ngoy, the Cambodian immigrant who built a massively successful chain of donut stores in California. (Opens Friday at Grand Berry Theater)

The Informer (R) Joel Kinnaman stars in this thriller as an ex-convict who goes back into jail undercover to penetrate a mob operation from the within. Likewise with Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen, Common, Eugene Lipinski, Sam Spruell, and Ana de Armas. (Opens Friday)

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Story (PG) This animated movie is about a legendary toymaker (voiced by Forest Whitaker) who should count on his granddaughter (voiced by Madalen Mills) to re-awaken his magic. Additional voices by Keegan-Michael Key, Phylicia Rashad, Hugh Bonneville, Anika Noni Rose, and Ricky Martin. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Jungleland (R) Charlie Hunnam and Jack O’Connell star in this drama as bros who take a trip throughout the country for a battling contest. With Jonathan Majors, Jessica Barden, John Cullum, and Fran Kranz. (Opens Friday)

Mortal (R) Nat Wolff stars in this supernatural thriller directed by André Øvredal (Frightening Stories to Inform in the Dark) about a young man who obtains godlike powers from ancient Norse mythology. With Priyanka Bose, Iben Akerlie, Arthur Hakalahti, and Per Egil Aske. (Opens Friday)

True to the Game 2 (R) The follow up to the 2017 movie stars Erica Peeples as a reporter who finds her violent past following her as she moves across the country. Likewise with Vivica A. Fox, Andra Fuller, Rotimi, Jeremy Meeks, Darius McClary, Faith Evans, and Columbus Short. (Opens Friday)


After We Collided (R) If you were craving a sequel to last year’s love After, Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes Tiffin reprise their functions. Likewise with Dylan Sprouse, Louise Lombard, Charlie Weber, Candice King, Shane Paul McGhie, Rob Estes, and Selma Blair.

The Call (NR) This scary movie is about a group of teenagers who suffer a road mishap just to experience higher danger in the home of an older couple (Tobin Bell and Lin Shaye). Likewise with Chester Rushing, Erin Sanders, Mike Manning, Sloane Morgan Siegel, and Judd Lormand.

Come Play (PG-13) Something we have not seen before: a horror motion picture about a kid with autism. Azhy Robertson plays an 8-year-old who can’t speak and counts on speech apps to communicate with his moms and dads (Gillian Jacobs and John Gallagher Jr.). A devil named Larry attempts to reach our world by interacting with the young boy through a tablet. Jacob Chase adjusted this from a short movie and effectively utilizes the reality that individuals can’t see Larry unless they’re browsing the electronic cameras in laptop computers and phones. Alas, the movie breaks down definitively in the final 3rd, with the tension in the moms and dads’ marital relationship going untouched and the young boy recuperating his speech at exactly the moment you ‘d anticipate. Nevertheless, this is an essential action that alters the describes of the category by putting an autistic character at the center of the story. With Winslow Fegley, Jayden Marine, Gavin MacIver-Wright, and Eboni Booth.

The Empty Man (R) This scary movie begins promisingly, then turns into a morose exercise in brain-dead teenagers checking an urban myth. Then, it somehow worsens than that. James Badge Dale plays an ex-cop whose good friend’s child (Sasha Frolova) vanishes after conjuring up the titular devil together with a lot of her buddies. Regardless of Dale’s mighty efforts, the story devolves into rubbish as the detective wades into the behaviors of a religious cult that thinks it can transcend truth. The very best part of the motion picture is the opening series with four American hikers ending up being trapped in the mountains of Bhutan, which has just the most tenuous connection to the rest of the story. Writer-director David Prior adjusted this from Cullen Bunn’s graphic novel, which according to all accounts is much better than this. With Stephen Root, Joel Courtney, Marin Ireland, Samantha Logan, Aaron Poole, Evan Jonigkeit, Virginia Kull, and Ron Canada.

Honest Burglar (PG-13) Yet another Liam Neeson thriller that’s difficult to differentiate from the rest. In this one, he plays a Marine veteran-turned-safecracker who attempts to atone for his misdeeds, just for 2 misaligned FBI representatives (Jai Courtney and Anthony Ramos) to try to take his money on their own. There’s some bad CGI here, however that’s not as harmful as the supporting characters taking turns being easily dumb so our hero can leave all the jams that the plot establishes for him. The significant interludes where the lead character reveals the reality to his new girlfriend (Kate Walsh) are soppy stuff, too. Likewise with Jeffrey Donovan and Robert Patrick.

Infidel (R) Jim Caviezel stars in this thriller as an American journalist kidnapped by Iranian extremists during a trip to Cairo. Likewise with Claudia Karvan, Hal Ozsan, Aly Kassem, Bijan Daneshmand, Isabelle Adriani, Stelio Savante, and J.R. Cacia.

Kajillionaire (R) Miranda July is an unlikely filmmaker to do a caper motion picture, and she puts her own distinctive spin on this one. Evan Rachel Wood plays a young con artist who lives and works with her moms and dads (Richard Jenkins and Debra Winger) at a household criminal activity company and is put out when they invite a grifter from outside the family (Gina Rodriguez) into their fold. Wood provides unquestionably her strangest performance to date as an improperly mingled case, speaking in an unnaturally deep voice, mumbling and stumbling over her words, and looking lost when she needs to say anything that isn’t part of a con. It’s a fascinating tonic to the delicate-flower functions that this actress has played throughout her profession. July’s comic impulses remain sharp as ever, and her relentless concern with our yearning for human connection leads this movie to an unexpectedly moving ending, as the lead character is tricked herself however finds a love that deserves a million petty insurance scams. With Mark Ivanir, Da’Vine Pleasure Randolph, Rachel Redleaf, Michael Twaine, and Diana Maria Riva.

The Kid Investigator (R) This appears like a PG-rated kid motion picture, however there’s some majorly twisted stuff lurking here. Adam Brody plays an alcoholic, previously well-known kid sleuth who’s finally handed a substantive case by a 17-year-old (Sophie Nélisse) who’s looking for her boyfriend’s killer. Writer-director Evan Morgan has the inspired idea of putting a hard-bitten, seasoned private investigator in the middle of a vibrantly lit, clean suburban area, however he has problem handling the tone of this piece. Nevertheless, he has a great main mystery going here, with the detective facing some well seamy subplots. You won’t soon forget his gory fight with the veritable monster at the heart of the foul deeds here. If you have a taste for a mystery yarn that goes where Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys won’t, this is for you. Likewise with Sarah Sutherland, Peter MacNeill, Dallas Edwards, Isaac Kragten, Jesse Noah Gruman, Kaitlyn Chalmers-Rizzato, Lisa Truong, Jonathan Whittaker, Wendy Crewson, and Tzi Ma.

Love and Beasts (PG-13) An unexpectedly nimble comic performance from Dylan O’Brien is the main distinguishing feature of this horror-comedy that owes too great a debt to Zombieland. The Labyrinth Runner star plays a cowardly unfortunate sack in a postapocalyptic world where genetically mutated monsters have eliminated 95 percent of the human population. The only single person in an underground bunker filled with survivalists, he leaves the safety of the location to make an 85-mile trek to the bunker where his girlfriend (Jessica Henwick) is holed up. Some nice-looking creature effects don’t offset the lack of remarkable comic set pieces by director/co-writer Michael Matthews. Nevertheless, O’Brien shows loads more character here than in his action movies, and he needs to do more comedy. Likewise with Michael Rooker, Dan Ewing, Ellen Holman, Melanie Zanetti, and Arianna Greenblatt.

The New Mutants (PG-13) It really exists! It’s likewise the gayest X-Men movie ever, which is saying something. Nevertheless, it’s still kinda meh. Blu Hunt plays a teen of Cheyenne extraction whose discovery of her powers destroys her appointment. She’s brought to a facility for other mutant kids controlled by a sinister medical professional (Alice Braga), where she falls for a gay Scottish woman (Maisie Williams). Director/co-writer Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) attempts to play this for scary, however neither the hallucinations that the kids have nor the discovery that our lead character is triggering them manages to raise the hair on the back of one’s neck. The love gets lost in the middle of all the second-rate CGI, and the ending with a satanic force bear is too dopey to work. Anya Taylor-Joy walks off with the acting honors as a Russian mean woman who bullies the new arrival. Likewise with Charlie Heaton, Henry Zaga, and Adam Beach.

Spell (R) Omari Hardwick stars in this scary movie as a plane pilot who crash-lands in rural Appalachia and falls under the clutches of a Hoodoo professional (Loretta Devine). With Lorraine Burroughs, Andre Jacobs, Tumisho Masha, and John Beasley.

Synchronic (R) A much better time travel motion picture than either Tenet or the last Costs & & Ted movie. Anthony Mackie plays a drug-addicted New Orleans paramedic who examines a brand-new designer drug that can transport individuals through time, to which his partner’s teenage child (Ally Ioannides) obviously falls victim. The filmmaking group of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (The Unlimited) make thoughtful, intelligent science-fiction with attractive special effects regardless of the low budgets they work with, and they’re smart enough to understand that a Black guy taking a trip through time is going to find locations where he’s not welcome. The drug journeys are well-executed, however it’s Benson and Moorhead’s ability at delineating character that differentiates them from the herd. Mackie seizes an uncommon showcase function and reveals the filmmakers’ wonder at our existence on this planet. With Jamie Dornan, Ramiz Monsef, and Katie Aselton.

Tar (NR) Aaron Wolf’s thriller is about a mysterious creature who increases from the La Brea Tar Pits to ruin Los Angeles. Starring Timothy Bottoms, Graham Greene, Emily Peachey, Nicole Alexandra Shipley, and Max Perlich.

Tenet (PG-13) Either Christopher Nolan has increased his own ass, or he’s made an avant-garde work of art too intelligent and sophisticated for my puny little brain to comprehend. John David Washington stars as an anonymous CIA representative who is designated to trace items moving in reverse through time to their source before they trigger a time crunch that destroys the universe. This motion picture exists in the future best tense; everywhere our lead character and his examining partner (Robert Pattinson) appearance, they find evidence of things that will have happened. The movie is structured as a palindrome, with the hero going through the looking glass and moving in reverse through the story he just experienced. This leads to some cool action sequences, however there are a suspicious variety of loose ends hanging, and the actors are engulfed by the conceit except for a terrifying Kenneth Branagh as a wife-beating Russian arms dealership. Without the component of human feeling, this thing just plants confusion. Likewise with Elizabeth Debicki, Himesh Patel, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clémence Poésy, Dimple Kapadia, Martin Donovan, and Michael Caine.

Trolls World Tour (PG) Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake go back to this animated follow up, as they try to conserve the other giant kingdoms from being taken over by a hard-rock giant (voiced by Rachel Blossom). Additional voices by James Corden, Ron Funches, Kelly Clarkson, Anderson.paak, Kenan Thompson, Mary J. Blige, Ester Dean, Jamie Dornan, Ozzy Osbourne, Anthony Ramos, Karan Soni, Charlyne Yi, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Zooey Deschanel, and Sam Rockwell.

2 Hearts (PG-13) Lance Hool directs this romantic drama about 2 couples in various locations and times whose fates are mysteriously tied together. Starring Jacob Elordi, Radha Mitchell, Tiera Skovbye, Adan Canto, Tahmoh Penikett, and Kari Matchett.

Unhinged (R) Russell Crowe is really fat in this motion picture, and it’s difficult to inform how much of it is padding, weight he acquired for the function, or just the way his body is now. The extra pounds work to make him menacing as a murderous vehicle driver who targets a separating mom (Caren Pistorius) after an altercation at an intersection. In a better variation of this thriller, this would be great, however this one can’t conquer the weak performance by Pistorius or the uninventive direction by Derrick Borte (The Joneses). Do not risk your health for this C-level garbage. With Gabriel Bateman, Anne Leighton, Austin P. Mackenzie, and Jimmi Simpson.

The War With Grandfather (PG) This kids’ comedy is so toothless that it might have been made 30 years back. I want it had actually been; then I would have forgotten it by now. Oakes Fegley (from the current Pete’s Dragon remake) plays a borderline sociopath of a kid who initiates a war of pranks when his grandpa (Robert De Niro) moves into his moms and dads’ home and forces him out of his bedroom. The moms and dads (Uma Thurman and Rob Riggle) look brain-damaged for not seeing all the broken furnishings and wild animals suddenly appearing in their home. Haven’t the adult cast members done enough paycheck movies among them to not have to take part in these fourth-rate hijinks? This is adjusted from Robert Kimmel Smith’s kids’s book, which I can just hope is much better than the motion picture. With Christopher Walken, Laura Marano, Juliocesar Chavez, T.J. McGibbon, Isaac Kragten, Cheech Marin, and Jane Seymour.

Yellow Rose (PG-13) Filipino motion pictures aren’t sufficient at portraying their country’s culture, and unfortunately this American-made music drama misses its possibility to enhance on that record. Eva Noblezada stars as an undocumented immigrant in Bastrop who imagines ending up being a nation singer. Based upon a short movie by the very same name, Diane Paragas has little insight on the culture clash in between these islanders and the Texas setting where they find themselves, and the lead character’s love of c and w unfortunately encounters as so much racial self-loathing. The saving grace here is Noblezada, a brilliant young light from Broadway making her movie launching and singing some original country tunes with a pleasant high soprano. She and the Filipino-American community was worthy of a better movie. With Dale Watson, Princess Punzalan, Liam Booth, Gustavo Gomez, and Lea Salonga.


The Devil Has a Name (R) Edward James Olmos directs and co-stars in this drama about an oil executive (Kate Bosworth) who’s figured out to safeguard her family company from a consistent farmer. Likewise with David Strathairn, Haley Joel Osment, Pablo Schreiber, Katie Aselton, Tahmoh Penikett, Alfred Molina, and Martin Sheen.

Friendsgiving (R) Malin Akerman and Kat Dennings star in this comedy as 2 buddies whose effort to throw a big Thanksgiving party for their buddies goes wrong. Likewise with Aisha Tyler, Christine Taylor, Chelsea Peretti, Ryan Hansen, Deon Cole, Jane Seymour, Margaret Cho, and Wanda Sykes.

A Rainy Day in New York (PG-13) Timothée Chalamet and Elle Fanning star in Woody Allen’s latest comedy as a couple who experience misadventures during a weekend in the Huge Apple. Likewise with Jude Law, Selena Gomez, Diego Luna, Suki Waterhouse, Liev Schreiber, Annaleigh Ashford, Cherry Jones, and Rebecca Hall.


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