I Shouldn’t Go Out – Week of May 25

Drive-in sensation and throwback SciFi fun comes home this week, as well as a handful of other mainly decent choices.

Click the film title to link to the full review.

The Vast of Night

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band

The Invisible Man (DVD)

Endings, Beginnings (DVD)

Fight Song

Military Wives

by Rachel Willis

When the men and women living on a military base in England ship off on their latest tour, the wives left at home need to find a way to pass the time until the tour of duty is completed.

Enter Kate (Kristin Scott Thomas). Struggling with her own recent tragedy, Kate decides to take on a bigger role in the choir activities that are primarily organized by Lisa (Sharon Horgan).

As a colonel’s wife, Kate’s participation is unusual, but it’s not important for us to understand these intricacies of life on the base. What writers Rachel Tunnard and Roselyn Flynn are interested in is the conflict between uptight Kate and laid-back Lisa.

The movie proceeds as you would expect. Though inspired by real events, director Peter Cattaneo doesn’t inject any originality into the formulaic script. I couldn’t help but think of A League of Their Own while watching the events of Military Wives unfold. It’s almost a beat for beat remake with choir substituted for baseball. However, where A League of Their Own managed to subvert expectations and round out its cast, Military Wives can’t compete.

It’s hard to keep track of everyone in the sizable cast. Not every character is given depth, most are one-dimensional. The story, however, isn’t concerned with fleshing out these women—they serve to add depth to the conflicts faced by the main characters and to enhance the setting. We see these women preparing to send their spouses off to war, little moments of goodbyes, of children and mothers trying to connect to their loved ones overseas, of women trying to pass the time until they’re reunited.

Still, it seems Kristen Scott Thomas will always be remarkable no matter how little she’s given to work with. The few emotional moments the film manages to mine are delivered through Thomas’s strong performance. Horgan doesn’t quite match up to Thomas, but Lisa is also the less interesting character.

Formulas are often reused because they work, and if you’re looking for a feel-good film you won’t go wrong here. However, this is the kind of forgettable film that will fly under most people’s radar.   

I Can’t Go Out – Week of May 4

If you are feeling stir crazy, you’re starting to believe your own trapped family is leading you to lunacy, maybe even murder, have we got the movie for you! Indeed, it’s a stellar week for horror fans. Read on!

Click the film title to link to the full review.

The Lodge

Tigers Are Not Afraid (DVD)

Gretel & Hansel (DVD)

Greed (DVD)

Bloodshot (DVD)

I Still Believe (DVD)

I Can’t Go Out – Week of April 28

The time will come within weeks that we have no post-theatrical releases to discuss. How insane is that? Until then, you can pass the time with two early 2020 releases that, according to box office, you probably missed. Both are worth a look – one is actually excellent.

Click the film title to link the complete review.

The Assistant

The Rhythm Section

Sloppy Dead

Why Don’t You Just Die!

by Hope Madden

Given that 75% of writer/director Kirill Sokolov’s Why Don’t You Just Die! takes place in a single apartment—one room of that apartment, really—you might be surprised to learn that it’s an action film.

It’s pretty heavy on the action, actually, amplified by inspired framing, kinetic cinematography, sometimes hilarious but always eye-popping choreography, and blood.

Just a shit ton of blood.

This movie is a hoot!

And, yes, it is Russian, so there will be some reading. Not a lot, honestly, and Sokolov’s grasp of visual language is so firm that you really would not have to read a single word to understand every nuance of the film.

Scrappy thug Matvei (Aleksandr Kuznetsov) waits outside an apartment door, wary to ring the bell. Behind his back he hides a hammer, tightly gripped. When the door opens, the imposing Andrei (Vitaliy Khaev) looms. Suspicious, big, bald, effortlessly alpha (just ask the neighbor’s yipping dog), he eyes Matvei.

Matvei eyes back.

Things move inside.

Sokolov sets up a raucous mystery. Why is Matvei here? What does Andrei’s daughter have to do with it? Why isn’t Natasha in the country? How can Yevgenich help?

Does every single one of these people have reason to want Andrei dead?

The answer to the last one is yes.

As these characters limp into and out of the apartment (or don’t), Sokolov helps you keep track by virtue of theme music. Each character has his or her own. The quiet, brooding Matvei’s music, for instance, soars like a Morricone Western theme.

But is he a black hat or a white?

With a spare script, visual wonder and energy to burn, Why Don’t You Just Die! promises to snatch your attention like a duffle bag of cash and hang on until exactly enough blood is spilled.

That’s a lot.

I Don’t Want to Go Out—Week of January 6

Got some stuff this week – good week to avoid the chill, pull out that ratty old throw and stay on the couch, especially if you like to watch white guys descend into madness. If you do, this is your week, brother.

Click the film title to link to the full review.

Joker

The Lighthouse (DVD)

Girl on the Third Floor (DVD)

Paradise Hills (DVD)

I Don’t Want to Go Out—Week of July 22

So, there’s this great animated movie that no one saw. It probably isn’t entertaining enough for the littlest kids, but everyone else should see it. There’s also a middling action flick and a sad, sad reboot.

Click the film title for the full review.

Missing Link

Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

Hellboy