So, movies did not end with Avengers: Endgame’s decimation of all the box-office records. Summer at the cinema is just beginning. Mother’s Day weekend holds a few targeted releases, as well as the first of what is probably going to be several live action Pokémon adventures. In Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, the franchise face and lightning slinger dons a deerstalker cap and the voice of Ryan Reynolds to deduce the solution to a mystery. In The Hustle, Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson team up as two con artists in what appears to be a fresh take on Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Diane Keaton headlines Poms, a comedy about a cheerleading squad at a retirement community. Nicholas Hoult delves into the life of J.R.R. Tolkien in the biopic Tolkien.
At Ciné, the HEAR Film Series continues on May 11 with Far From the Tree. The documentary based on the bestseller by Andrew Solomon looks at parents and children who experience the world in vastly different ways. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with licensed clinical social worker Michelle Castleberry. Through at least Thursday, you can still check out Claire Denis’ new sci-fi adventure, High Life, and Endgame, if no jerk has spoiled it yet.
On May 9, the Love and Shakespeare film series continues at the Georgia Museum of Art with the surprise 1998 Best Picture winner Shakespeare in Love. The most disappointing movie of my life comes to Flicker on May 11 as part of their month of Star Wars ripoffs. Even as a child, I knew Masters of the Universe was a bust, despite the decent casting of Dolph Lundgren as He-Man and Frank Langella as Skeletor. But the budget-saving move from Eternia to L.A. and lack of Skeletor’s usual evil sidekicks are frustrating. Apparently, if you watch it with Jack Kirby’s New Gods in mind, you may appreciate it more. Also May 9, you can catch another screening of Below Baldwin at Old Firehall No. 2. The screening, hosted by the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation, will be followed by a panel Q&A.
On May 13, the Athens-Clarke County Library offers the award-winning documentary Darius Goes West and a panel discussion with driver/crew member Daniel Epting and crew mom Barbara Smalley. Back at Flicker, Showdown at the Equator presents 1993’s Holy Weapon, which stars one-time Bond girl and current Starfleet Captain (sort of) Michelle Yeoh as one of seven maidens needed to defeat the villainous Super Sword. Then, prepare for 1982’s Dünyayi Kurtaran Adam (The Man Who Saved the World). More intriguingly, Dünyayi Kurtaran Adam is called Turkish Star Wars due to its flagrant use of unauthorized footage from George Lucas’ classic blockbuster.
On to last week’s releases.
LONG SHOT (R) The romcom gets political, kind of, in this raunchy crowdpleaser from 50/50 filmmaker Jonathan Levine starring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen. Years after an embarrassing babysitting incident, principled journalist Fred Flarsky (Rogen) is asked to join the presidential campaign of his childhood neighbor and current Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Theron).
As the saying goes, politics makes strange bedfellows, quite literally, as Long Shot is a romantic comedy, even if the comedy bits often involve expletives and drug references. That they fall in love is inevitable, and the duo have a certain strange chemistry. Rogen has certainly made good on the promises made by decades of films where Woody Allen or Dustin Hoffman or some other sad sack who got the prettiest girl. So, if Long Shot is ultimately a romcom, at whom is it aimed?
The film’s emphasis definitely is on the comedy. The traditional object of affection, Alexander Skarsgard, gets to emphasize his less attractive features as the heartthrob Canadian prime minister. The film gets in a nice message for bipartisanship in the setup for its climax and almost restores faith in the system. Too bad no fictional saviors like Charlotte Field will be running in 2020.
THE INTRUDER (PG-13) Movies do not open much more clichéd than with a spoiled surprise party, but at least no one can say The Intruder misrepresented itself. The Intruder is the first feature I have seen from Deon Taylor, who has seven prior features on his filmography, and he photographs a pretty magazine feature. Taylor and original Texas Chain Saw Massacre cinematographer Daniel Pearl majestically shoot Foxglove, the home recently bought by Scott and Annie Russell (Michael Ealy and Meagan Good) from Charlie Peck (Dennis Quaid), like The Intruder were a Nancy Meyers romance, rather than a ’90s psycho killer pastiche.
Eventually, Charlie’s manic energy proves deadly. If one can stand the pileup of clichés, The Intruder is not the least entertaining example of its genre.
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