This week’s BuRStS features an 8-pack of films with a box office juggernaut that leeched success from its Harry Potter roots (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), an overlooked film that received some Awards chatter (20th Century Women), another Berg/Wahlberg project (Patriots Day), one of the many James Franco movies from 2016 (Why Him?) and not one but two films that the mere presence of Liam Neeson improves (Silence and A Monster Calls). Read on to find out about the two unmentioned releases and which films MHT recommends to buy, rent, stream and skip for the week of March 28:
Silence —MOVIE HOT TAKE REVIEW—
Super Simple Synopsis: Martin Scorsese’s passion project about two Christian missionaries whose faith is tested when they go to Japan to search for their missing mentor.
Of all of the releases this week, Silence was the best. Silence might not have performed well at the box office or at the Oscars but with a strong cast featuring Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver and Liam Neeson and the powerful directing of Scorsese, the film delivers. How can you go wrong with Liam Neeson?
20th Century Women –NO REVIEW–
Super Simple Synopsis: In 1979, a single mom in her 50s enlists the help of some of her boarding room tenants to help raise her adolescent son.
Another A24 release with great buzz that came up small at the Oscars as it received just one nomination (Best Original Screenplay) that you’ve probably not seen (since it did $0.8 million at the box office). So, now’s the time to check it out!
A Monster Calls —MOVIE HOT TAKE REVIEW—
Super Simple Synopsis: Did you see The NeverEnding Story? It’s a lot like that.
Two words: Liam Neeson! Seriously, though. A Monster Calls was better than expected and only struggles in its lack of a clearly identified target audience.
Patriots Day —MOVIE HOT TAKE REVIEW—
Super Simple Synopsis: Look what popped out of the cinematic microwave: A retelling of the 2013 terrorist bombing of the Boston Marathon.
Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg are a proven pair who adequately deliver with this love letter to Boston.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them —MOVIE HOT TAKE REVIEW—
Super Simple Synopsis: A Harry Potter film without Harry Potter… And most other things that made a Harry Potter film great.
If you’re a huge Harry Potter fan, you probably already pre-ordered this. Unless you really need to see the special features or have a 4K TV and are willing to plunk down $44.99, I’d go the streaming route because, honestly, this was kind of boring.
A Tale of Love and Darkness –NO REVIEW–
Super Simple Synopsis: The memoirs of Amos Oz brought to life on the big screen. Oz was a journalist and advocate of a two-state solution to the Israel-Pakistan conflict.
One of five movies Natalie Portman appeared in last year, she also directed this one. I’m a big Natalie Portman fan and think she’s worth watching even when the movie doesn’t sound all that appealing.
Why Him? –NO REVIEW–
Super Simple Synopsis: What do you do when you find out your daughter is about to be proposed to by a boyfriend you don’t approve of? Whatever it is, my gut tells me it doesn’t require acting if the guy is played by James Franco.
Minus Franco, the cast of this comedy looks excellent. Bryan Cranston, Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullally and Keegan-Michael Key is enough to overcome whatever aversion I have to James Franco.
Arsenal –NO REVIEW–
Super Simple Synopsis: Two brothers — one a construction company owner, the other a small-time mobster — have their paths intertwined when a crime boss kidnaps the small-time mobster and holds him ransom forcing the other brother to find a way to rescue his brother.
Arsenal received a 4% approval rating on the Tomatometer and a 23% audience score. That’s really, really bad.