Paul McGuire Grimes, creator of Paul’s Trip to the Movies, reviews two movies now out in theaters and recommends one movie that you can watch at home.
GLASS (theatrical release)
M. Night Shyamalan fans were teased when they saw Bruce Willis’ Unbreakable character, David Dunn, pop up at the end of his last movie Split. It has been nineteen years since Unbreakable, which pitted Willis against Samuel L. Jackson’s comic book obsessed character Elijah Price aka “Mr. Glass”. In Split, James McAvoy played Kevin Wendell Crumb who suffered from dissociative identity disorder. Shyamalan unites all three characters now in Glass. David is now working for his own home security system with his son and uses his supernatural abilities to track down Kevin in a warehouse where he has kidnapped four teenage girls. A chase pursues between David and Kevin’s identity referred to as “The Beast.” They’re both brought to Raven Hill Memorial Hospital, which is also housing Elijah Price. Trying to get to the bottom of these three unique patients is Dr. Ellie Staple who is out to prove that neither of them is the super hero they claim to be.
-Starring: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson
-Written/directed by M. Night Shyamalan who attempts to reclaim the prestige he received for Unbreakable and fight the backlash he received later in his career.
-Niche movie catering toward fans of Shyamalan’s and the comic book community. You really ought to see the other two movies, as you cannot go into this one blind. There’s too much backstory to come into this third part of a trilogy without knowledge of these characters.
-Unbreakable was a daring superhero movie long before Marvel or DC made their cinematic universes. It felt ahead of its time, but Shyamalan doesn’t quite know how to raise the bar with Glass and match the excitement and fervor we have with every new Marvel movie.
-McAvoy, Willis, and Jackson are all devoted and giving their all to these characters. It’s fun to watch Jackson teeter on the edge of madness waiting for him to crack. McAvoy proves again that he’s a phenomenal character actor as he inhabits and morphs from one identity to the next at the blink of a light. I wish more movies utilized this side of him.
-Shyamalan’s meandering script gets in the way of this being a great movie. He spends too much time building up insignificant characters and ideas and saves the important ones until the end using them as his twists. I spent too much of the first half of the movie wondering where it was all going as Shyamalan wasn’t getting to his conflict quick enough.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Only if you’re already invested in these characters from the other movies.
RATING: 3 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
DESTROYER (theatrical release)
If you feel like you’ve seen every side of Nicole Kidman, guess again. In Destroyer, she plays LA Detective Erin Bell, who has seen her better days. Her life is practically in shambles due to the devotion and lengths she’s gone through in her work. The body of a John Doe is found shot to death and the tattoos on his body indicate that a former gang member from her past is back on the scene. She once spent time undercover with her partner as members of this gang known for robbing banks. In order to find the ringleader, Silas, Erin has to track down his other associates and relive this painful part of her past that nearly destroyed her.
-Starring: Nicole Kidman, Sebastian Stan, Tatiana Maslany, Toby Kebbell, Bradley Whitford
-Directed by Karyn Kusama
-Kind of detective story you’d read in Dad Fiction by the likes of Michael Connelly, Jonathan Kellerman but with a twist given it’s a hardened female LA detective this time around.
-Not the kind of movie you’d expect from Kidman. Fourth movie in theaters right now after Boy Erased, Aquaman, and The Upside. All four very different kinds of characters with this one as Erin Bell the most extreme
-Great to see this other side of Kidman. I forgot that it was her half of the time. She gives it her all with a sunken personality, gritty look, and deep whisper voice. She’s someone who’s rough around the edges and been through the ringer a few times.
-Strong supporting cast around her all committed to the rough physical demands of this story.
-Structurally a mess, which stops it from being a compelling film. The script goes back and forth in its timelines and asks you to care about Erin’s time being an undercover member of this gang as well as the current investigation. It also throws in her fractured relationship with her daughter. Too much going on to stay present in one timeline, and oddly, it still feels slow.
-It adds layers to the Kidman character, but it stops it from being a slick, pulsating thriller that it could be.
-Ends with the twists and reveals which is expected but I’m still kind of wrapping my brain around what actually happened and in what order.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Kidman gives a fantastic performance but it’s hard to recommend Destroyer based on her performance alone.
RATING: 2.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (home release)
Disney’s newest movie adaptation of A.A. Milne’s classic characters imagines Christopher Robin all grown up. Long gone are the days where he played in the Hundred Acre Wood with his pals Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, and the rest of the gang. Ewan McGregor plays the adult Christopher who is a World War II soldier, husband, father, and businessman. He works for a suitcase company that’s struggling to stay afloat. He feels so much pressure at work that he tends to neglect his family. His family goes on holiday for the weekend leaving him home alone in his sorrows. Back in the Hundred Acre Wood, Winnie the Pooh is out for a stroll and can’t find his friends. He stumbles upon Christopher Robin’s old tree, walks through the door, and finds himself in London in Christopher’s yard. Their reunion together on a bench is just what Christopher needs to slow down and gain a more positive outlook on life.
-Starring: Ewan McGregor, Haley Atwell and features the voices of Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett (Eeyore), Toby Jones (Owl), and Peter Capaldi (Rabbit). Cummings has continually voiced Pooh and Tigger since 1988.
-Beginning of the movie is structured like a chapter book carrying us through some exposition to where we find Christopher Robin at this point in his story. He’s become a bit disgruntled and grumpy and is the Eeyore of this story.
-The first half of the movie has a gloomy tone toward it given Christopher Robin’s attitude. This presents some slow pacing as it’s not as cheery and energetic as some kid’s movies are these days. It asks kids to slow down and enjoy life’s simpler pleasures much like Pooh does with his honey.
-The best scenes are the ones with Pooh and the gang when they have traveled to London. It’s downright hysterical given the innocent nature of Pooh and Tigger caught in the big city. The ending becomes a big adventure, which will perk back up from its slower start.
-Should appeal to both kids and adults. There are many parents out there that will understand Christopher Robin’s stress while yearning for that childhood nostalgia pull us through the hard times. Kids will love the silly fun and joy that makes Pooh so lovable.