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Film Opening 3/9
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Opening 3/9

Submitted by MBergeron on March 7, 2024 – 2:51 pmNo Comment

If Apart, opening exclusively this weekend at the Sundance Cinemas Houston, were a Broadway show it would open and close on the same night due to horrendous reviews. This small indie film doesn’t have the smarts to compete with the big boys much less typical indie films. One of the stars also co-wrote the film yet every time he acts Apart comes to a grinding halt. There are also some sloppy latex scars and blood effects. Apart revolves around a pair of high school kids who copy each other’s neurotic behavior. On the upside proceeds from the film benefit the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District, whatever that means. Actress Olesya Rulin is the film’s sole bright spot as she’s one of those actresses that cameras love.

Friends With Kids will delight fans of Jennifer Westfeldt as well as people familiar with Bridesmaids. FWK in no way resembles Bridesmaids but it has four of that film’s cast members. Westfeldt, while appearing in a lot of recent television, is best known to cinephiles as the star and writer of Kissing Jessica Stein, a film that has staying power due to its hipness factor, its love of New York City and good writing that brings out the nuances of love affairs. Friends With Kids has all of the above, again with Westfeldt starring and writing but this time also directing; and her helming is smart and deft as her other skills.

Silent House has one trick that it does very well. Totally spooky all the way throughout, SH unwinds in a single take as a young woman gets trapped inside a house. With today’s technology you could digitally marry successive takes and blend without seams, so is the film really one-take? With star Elizabeth Olsen in every moment of the movie the “is it real or not” question never bothers you because you can’t take your eyes off her anyway. Somebody put Olsen and Jessica Chastain in a movie together immediately.

In Darkness unfolds in at least four languages: Ukrainian, German, Yiddish, Hebrew, and maybe my untrained ears missed a few. A couple of sewer workers hide Jews during WWII in this film from Polish director Agnieszka Holland. The film explores dark labyrinths of the soul and mind. The literal aspect of hiding in filthy sewers and all that implies lends In Darkness a reality that’s hard to shake.

John Carter has to be my choice for both a guilty pleasure and a crash course in the planetary romance genre of sci-fi. It’s not that there’s a single exceptional action sequence or unforgettable lines so much as an onslaught of the most bizarre air ships, alien creatures, otherworldly sci-fi cosmology and sword and sandal spectacle. John Carter exudes an exciting tinge. And there’s an alien dog kind of creature that runs as fast as The Wizard of Speed and Time. Taylor Kitsch stars in what is basically an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ The Princess of Mars. Said princess is played by Lynn Collins who’s not only a trained Shakespearean (one of her earlier roles was as Portia in Merchant of Venice) but attended high school in some suburb of Houston.

- Michael Bergeron

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