Pirates, Aliens & The Coen Brothers At The Movies

by Chris Narloch

Poor Tom Cruise. His new reboot of “The Mummy” is receiving some of the worst reviews of any movie released so far this year.

Since I am not a FOT (Fan Of Tom), and I haven’t seen that film, I won’t add to Cruise’s grief here.

If you really have to see for yourself just how bad it is, you can check out “The Mummy” at Sacramento’s Esquire IMAX on K Street or at one of the gazillion multiplex screens on which it is playing.

If I were you, I would see “Wonder Woman” and/or “Megan Leavey” instead, and you can read my reviews of those films in the current issue of Outword.

After you see those two titles, check out one of the new movies reviewed below.

It Comes At Night
This claustrophobic thriller has been so hyped that I got my hopes up and then was disappointed, but if you like offbeat, indie horror movies you might want to check it out.

Joel Edgerton stars as a family man desperate to save his wife and son from an unexplained cataclysmic event that causes disease and death. The trio is holed up in a house deep in the woods, surviving on their own, until another couple with a child arrives seeking shelter.

Fear, paranoia, and suspicion break out in the house as a result, and the already-tense situation goes from bad to worse.

Edgerton and the other actors work very hard to sell this depressing story, but the low budget and the script’s lack of explanation for the crisis caused me to stop caring about the outcome long before the credits rolled.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
The main reason to sit through this bloated blockbuster – the fifth movie in the “Pirates” franchise -- is for Javier Bardem, who goes all out playing the film’s villain, a repulsively undead pirate hunter.

Aside from Bardem’s great ghost, there isn’t much to recommend the picture. Depp fires off a few funny lines, but he is getting too old to play a hipster pirate now, and the movie’s crazy-quilt plot is all over the place.

My Cousin Rachel
Another fine performance from Rachel Weisz can’t save this movie, which is being advertised as if it were a horror movie but is actually a somber mystery from the imagination of Daphne du Maurier, who also wrote “The Birds” and “Rebecca.”

I haven’t read the original novel, but onscreen – in this version anyway – the moody, Cornwall setting is more effective than the story itself, which traces the relationship between a young man and his bewitching cousin.

Philip (Sam Claflin) initially suspects that the beautiful Rachel (Weisz) killed his guardian, but after getting to know her, he also falls hook, line and sinker for her charms.

Was it murder? Is she about to strike again? What’s really in that tea she keeps giving Philip? I really tried to care about these and other questions, but, ultimately, “My Cousin Rachel” has too many slow spots and too many twists for its own good.

Alien: Covenant
The latest “Alien” movie, which was helmed by the franchise’s original director, Ridley Scott, isn’t much better than “Life,” a rip-off of the “Alien” movies with Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal that bombed on the big screen a couple months ago.

Scott and his screenwriters seem to have run out of ideas here, and the new film sorely lacks a strong female lead character and actress. (Katherine Waterston is no substitute for “Prometheus’s” Rooney Mara and definitely no match for Sigourney Weaver.)

Allowing the aliens to escape the far more cinematic confines and shadows of the spaceship and run around on the ground was a mistake, and the script’s rather pretentious references to Wagner and British poetry will probably turn off mainstream horror fans who just want to watch aliens dine and dash.

I did enjoy seeing “Empire’s” Jussie Smollett have sex in the shower, although the handsome actor comes to a bad end after a pesky alien insists on turning his character’s water sports from a twosome into a threesome.

The Coen Brothers
Hoppy Brewing Company has hit on a great idea: beer, food trucks, and movies outdoors. SOFF (Sacramento Outdoor Film Festival) was born, and this summer’s series salutes the films of Joel and Ethan Coen.

“Barton Fink” will screen this Saturday, June 10, followed by “No Country For Old Men” on Saturday, June 17. “The Big Lebowski” will wrap things up on Saturday evening, June 24. All movies start at 9:00 p.m.

Food, beer and wine are available for purchase after the gates open at 6:00 p.m., but the movies are free, free, free. This 21-and-over event takes place at Sacramento’s Fremont Park, located at 1515 Q Street.


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