We look to the fantastic Geetha every week to tell us what to go see at the movies and what to skip. This week’s “What to Watch” features FANTASTIC FOUR, THE GIFT, DARK PLACES and RICKI AND THE FLASH. Don’t forget to follow Geetha on Twitter here.
Before you decide whether or not to see FANTASTIC FOUR, tell me this: do you like watching long, drawn-out teasers? Because that’s really what this is: a muddled origins story with mediocre special effects and an initially exciting script that has no payoff. For those of you new to FF, this flick is about four young friends (Ben (Jamie Bell), Victor (Toby Kebbell), Reed (Miles Teller) and Sue (Kate Mara)), who’re altered by their journey to a parallel dimension. In an attempt to contain the problem and study their superpowers, the government confines the three who managed to return. Ben escapes and desperately tries to find a solution to this problem that he feels he created. Years later, along with Reed, Sue, and government scientists, he goes back through the portal. There they find the trapped Victor, and bring him back to Earth, clueless about what he’s become. Nope, don’t get those hopes up. Here’s the trailer:
RICKI AND THE FLASH
RICKI AND THE FLASH would’ve been a lot better if Ricki had a spine. Meryl Streep is wasted in an underdeveloped role as rocker Ricki who tries to patch things up with her estranged family. In her determination to make it big, Ricki left her husband and three kids for Los Angeles. Years pass, and despite some success, she ends up paying her bills by cashiering at a grocery store. One day she gets a call from her ex (Kevin Kline), telling her about her depressed daughter (Mamie Gummer—Streep’s real-life daughter), and back Ricki goes to her estranged family. In the ensuing drama, she’s shown as being a sappy, self-pitying, eager-to-please sad-sack who even takes s**t from her ex’s new wife (Audra McDonald) without so much as a snarl. It’s a miracle they got Streep to sign on for this crappy screenplay. Check out the trailer here:
I know it’s starting to look pretty dismal for this movie-going weekend, but this might brighten it up: THE GIFT from Joel Edgerton. A nice, successful couple—Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall)—have just relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles. There they come upon one of Simon’s high school friends, Gordo (Edgerton). An awkward dinner ensues. Then come the gifts: a bottle of wine left at their doorstep, fish in their front-yard fish pond, and an invite to dinner. They show up at his luxurious address, only to find strangers in the mansion clueless as to who he is. After receiving a letter from him that says he wants bygones to be bygones, a creeped-out Robyn begins investigating—and discovers that the worst offenders are usually the ones closest to you. From there the story blossoms in a most unconventional, delightfully twisted manner. View the trailer here:
If you were excited about DARK PLACES (based on another of GONE GIRL-author Gillian Flynn’s books), cool those heels. Or, just read the book again. Director Gilles Paquet-Brenner has managed to take a story full of some seriously dark twists and turn it into… vanilla. A dark and moody Charlize Theron is Libby Day, the survivor of a brutal family murder allegedly carried out by her brother (Corey Stoll). As the charity checks and tell-all money dry out, Libby’s forced to recreate the crime with a Kill Club member (Nicholas Hoult) to make rent money (nope, she cannot get a regular job like you and I for the best reason of all: because.). In ensuing flashbacks, a compelling Christina Hendricks is valiant at her attempts to save the movie in the role of Libby’s mom, as are Tye Sheridan (as a sweet young Ben), Chloe Grace Moretz (teen Ben’s love interest), Corey Stoll, and Sean Bridges (the estranged father). Also, there’s Satan- worshipping, ritual cow-slaughtering, domestic violence, gambling, teen pregnancy—you name it, it’s in there. It’s as if Paquet-Brenner threw it all at the wall and hoped something would stick. Check out the trailer here:
See you at the movies!