See A Movie This Easter Weekend

By Chris Narloch

There are a couple new movies in local theaters this weekend that are perfectly timed for the holiday. Aretha Franklin’s roof-raising gospel documentary “Amazing Grace” just opened at Sacramento’s Tower Theatre, and Chrissy Metz stars as a mother whose son falls in to an icy lake in the fact-based and faith-based drama “Breakthrough,” which is in wide release.

I haven’t seen the Chrissy Metz movie, and I already recommended the film with Franklin in Outword’s current print edition. So here are reviews of three other family-friendly films you can see this weekend – or whenever – and two titles for adults only that I personally feel everyone should avoid.

Missing Link

I don’t know why this movie, which is just barely in the top ten, isn’t doing better at the box office. Have audiences (raised on sitcoms and superheroes) completely lost their taste for good movies?

A charming, funny film, “Missing Link” is the latest stop-motion flick from the fine folks at Laika, who gave us the equally entertaining titles “Kubo and the Two Strings,” “Coraline,” “ParaNorman,” and “The Boxtrolls.”

An A-list voice cast (Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Zach Galifianakis), a smart script, and colorful images add up to first-rate fun in this tale of an 8-foot mountain of fur named Mr. Link who leaves his solitary life in the Pacific Northwest to look for other ‘missing links’ in the Himalayas. Hijinks ensue.

Shazam!

Maybe I have superhero burnout, but after 2 hours and 12 minutes of this forced fun I was very ready for the movie to be over. It also didn’t help that I am 55 years old, and “Shazam” is aimed squarely at teens and pre-teens (and adults who prefer movies made for teens and pre-teens).

The delicious Zachary Levi plays the titular superhero, and Mark Strong is also very effective as the villain, but don’t even get me started on the clunky, convoluted script.

To its credit, “Shazam doesn’t take itself too seriously, and its tale of a band of clever kids who help a klutzy superhero save the day is perfect -- for kids.

Little

There aren’t too many movies pitched at African-American girls, so even though this big-screen sitcom doesn’t always soar like it should, I can recommend “Little” for its fun (if familiar) premise and its terrific cast.

The adorably sassy Marsai Martin stars as the 13-year-old version of a bitchy CEO (Regina Hall) who has to get little in order to discover her (hidden) big heart. The very funny Issa Rae steals her every scene as the heroine’s long-suffering assistant.

Pet Sematary

I can’t think of a worse movie to see on Easter weekend than this garbage horror movie from the warped mind of Stephen King.

Don’t get me wrong. When King scores, as he did with “Carrie,” “The Shining,” and other fine books, he is the modern master of horror. Sometimes, however, he goes too far, and this sick trash is unworthy of his talent. (I should add that King had nothing to do with the new film’s script or direction, but it is faithful to his novel.)

Jason Clarke stars as a despondent father who brings his dead daughter back to life with disastrous results. I found “Pet Sematary” extremely depressing and distasteful, and the realistic grief that hangs over the movie ruins any chance for mindless thrills.

High Life

If you wondered where “Twilight” star Robert Pattinson has been in recent years, he has been making offbeat indie movies like this bizarre sci-fi head-scratcher directed by the famous French filmmaker Claire Denis.

Pattinson plays a new father who is one of the convicts on a spaceship hurtling towards a black hole, and Juliette Binoche costars as a woman running a strange human reproduction experiment aboard the vessel.

I wanted to like this movie because of the talent involved, but “High Life” is so bleak and – I hate to say it – boring that all involved, including the cast, the director, and the audience, are literally lost in space.

 

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