This week at the movies, The Boy gets an unlikely sequel starring Katie Holmes in Brahms: The Boy II, while Harrison Ford gets a digital dog in an adaptation of Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. Finally, the quartet from TV’s “Impractical Jokers” hits the road in the imaginatively titled Impractical Jokers: The Movie.
Ciné still offers chances to see Bombshell, Knives Out and recently crowned Best Picture Parasite. On Feb. 20, a screening of Glory will be accompanied by a discussion led by Augusta University professor Holly Pinheiro. Also showing soon are the dramatic horror film The Lodge, about the creepy weekend of winter isolation a woman spends with her almost stepkids, and 2013’s Gabrielle, about a young woman with Williams Syndrome. Bad Movie Night returns on Feb. 25 with 1989’s Lethal Hunter, starring Robert Mitchum’s son, Christopher, as a tough guy who hunts bad guys.
Flicker has a busy movie week. Pachinko Pop Cinema celebrates a year of monthly screenings with Lady Snowblood on Feb. 20, and Ghastly Horror Society presents trivia and Venus in Furs on Feb. 24. DJ Mahogany presents a “White Bitches Gone Crazy!” double feature on Feb. 25. In 1981’s Possession, Isabelle Adjani loses it after seeking a divorce from Sam Neill. Then, Art Garfunkel and Theresa Russell have an affair in director Nicolas Roeg’s Bad Timing. Black History Month film celebrations continue at the ACC Library with Rosa Parks: The First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement on Feb. 23. That same day, the Oconee County Library’s Sunday Cinema offering is the surprisingly excellent Hidden Figures.
Around UGA, the Global Health Union presents City of Joy, a doc about sexual violence and war in the DRC, on Feb. 19 at Tate. Prepare for May’s Legally Blonde 3 with a “Throwback” screening of the 2001 original on Feb. 20 at Tate, where you can compare Oscar-winning Batman villains in The Dark Knight and Joker from Feb. 21–23. Of the two, I prefer Heath Ledger’s, but make mine Jack (or better yet, the voice of Mark Hamill). The latest entry in the Animal Voices Film Festival, Bird of Prey, follows the search for the world’s largest, rarest eagle at the MLC on Feb. 24.
Finally, Beechwood’s Flashback Cinema offers an encore screening of the best Harry Potter, Alfonso Cuaron’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, on Feb. 19, before making a cinematic offer you can’t refuse when The Godfather returns on Feb. 23.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (PG) Many gave up on the Sonic movie after its initial trailer revealed a version of the furry blue racer deemed more frightening than cute. Considering the weak track record of past video game movies, a delay to redesign the central character—bigger eyes, less human teeth—did not bode well. What finally has been released is a cute, fun family movie enjoyable for both children and adults.
After a brief backstory stranding Sonic (v. Ben Schwarz, aka Jean-Ralphio from “Parks and Recreation”) on Earth after his existence was discovered by masked warriors who look a lot like Knuckles, the government discovers Sonic’s powers and sends in the maniacal genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to capture him. Thankfully, Sonic befriends a friendly, open-minded small-town cop (James Marsden). The movie continues the still young trend of good video game adaptations, thanks to a wit clever enough for parents and cheeky enough for children, and Carrey’s most classic performance since the early 2000s.
FANTASY ISLAND (PG-13) A horror fan old enough to remember the original property fondly would seem to be the perfect demo. As offbeat adaptations of “Fantasy Island” go, the movie is more faithful than I expected. Mr. Roarke (Michael Peña) wears a white suit and asks his staff for smiles; he still warns guests about the island’s few rules. The lack of a true Tattoo is odd, though his famous pronouncement is heard several times.
Where Blumhouse’s version suffers most is in its lack of confidence in any one concept. Weak comedy cedes itself to brief torture porn before giving way to fantastical maybe-magic. Despite its rather superficial easter eggs, the concept feels like “Fantasy Island” from people more familiar with “Lost.” The movie provides the bare minimum of entertainment value, but just is not bad enough to earn any ironic extra points.
No guest is eccentric enough to provide any sparks, including a disappointingly tame Michael Rooker. As Mr. Roarke, Peña is far too subdued; where is even a smidge of his past mania to enliven this vacation destination? The other actors struggle immensely with the overly explanatory dialogue, while “Veronica Mars”’s Ryan Hansen and “Silicon Valley”’s Jimmy O. Yang earn a few genuine laughs. Which will eventually be more unmemorable: this movie or the brief, already forgotten 1998 TV revival?