Allison Janney has spent much of her career playing women who can think and talk more than anyone. As the main character in the thriller “Lou,” Janney again plays someone two or three steps ahead of anyone who crosses her path, though this time she doesn’t say much, because she doesn’t want to risk spilling one of the many of her. mysteries.
Directed by Ann Foerster from a screenplay co-written by Maggie Cohn and Jack Stanley, “Lou” stars Janney as a lone landowner in a small Pacific Northwest coastal community in the late 1980s. Set during a dangerous storm. , the film follows Lou’s tenant, Hannah (Jurnee Smollett), who needs help when her unreliable ex, Phillip (Logan Marshall-Green), kidnaps their young daughter for reasons that may have something to do with the other guys. shadowy ones crawling through the woods. As Lou heads into the rain-soaked desert to clear all this up, he proves so surprisingly capable of tracking and killing that Hannah quickly realizes her prickly landlord must have a dark past.
The mystery of who Lou is and why he cares for Hannah isn’t as surprising as it seems in the film; but Janney is so dominant as an unlikely action hero that the image still works. The plot moves from one tense outdoor confrontation to the next, as “Lou” tells a simple but effective story about two women who endure the harsh elements and the machinations of violent men.
‘lou.’ R, for violence and language. 1 hour, 47 minutes. Available on Netflix
Like many recent movies and TV shows about time loops, the romantic comedy-drama “Meet Cute” wastes no time establishing its premise. Kaley Cuoco plays Sheila, who in the opening scene punches Gary (Pete Davidson) in a bar and confesses something to him: She has access to a time machine that can reset the last 24 hours, and she’s been using it over and over again. to relive their first magical night together. Director Alex Lehmann and screenwriter Noga Pnueli assume their audience is familiar with movies like “Groundhog Day” and “Palm Springs,” so they jump right into the action, in which Sheila repeatedly tweaks little details on her never-ending date with Gary.
Unlike “Groundhog Day” and “Palm Springs” (and “Russian Doll”, “Edge of Tomorrow”, “Happy Death Day”, “Source Code”, etc.), “Meet Cute” falls into a routine quite quickly, because it lacks the breadth of imagination that makes the best time-loop stories work. All of Sheila’s machinations come from a mundane place: She is broken and Gary is broken; and so they spend most of their time together just enjoying the wonders of New York City while comparing their respective traumas. Even the time loop rules don’t matter after a while.
Lehmann makes the city look magnificent; and Cuoco and Davidson throw themselves into these characters, who are at once funny, goofy, and dark. But while here is the germ of a great time loop plot idea, the idea that even the best date won’t keep a person happy forever, Lehmann and Pnueli don’t expand on it enough, nor do anything surprising or cool. . The only idea turns out to be the only idea, and hardly worth repeating.
‘Meet Cute’. TV-MA, for violence, foul language and smoking. 1 hour, 29 minutes. Available in peacock
Natascha McElhone is a stunner in writer-director Valerie Buhagiar’s charming dramedy “Carmen,” a film about a long-ignored woman who finally comes out of her shell and puts a lifetime of silent observation to work. McElhone plays Carmen, who has spent decades working as a housekeeper for her brother, a Catholic priest on the island of Malta. When he dies, the diocese evicts her; but Carmen still has the keys to the church, where she hides and secretly listens to the confessions of women who prefer her practical advice to her brother’s old-fashioned penance.
“Carmen” relies too much on coincidences to keep her story going; and Buhagiar presents too many impressionistic memories of the heroine’s youth and the romance that her family forced her to abandon. But McElhone strikes a nice balance between humor and pathos, playing someone who has spent 30 years watching and forming opinions while her neighbors have struggled with marital complications, parenthood and making ends meet. When he starts breaking the rules, making money and dressing up, Carmen is both excited and terrified. The audience gets to feel all of this along with her, as she lives what she had previously only studied.
Carmen. In Maltese and English with English subtitles Unrated. 1 hour, 27 minutes. Available on VOD
‘The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales’
Activist and filmmaker Abigail Disney has often been critical of the company her grandfather Roy and great-uncle Walt co-founded in the 1920s, but rarely has she taken her family’s legacy as directly as she does in the documentary “The American dream and others”. Fairy Tales”, which she co-directed with Kathleen Hughes. The film follows Disney’s efforts in recent years to shame Walt Disney Co. over the wide disparity between its executive compensation and the paltry salaries paid to its lower-level employees, who sometimes have to rely on food banks and unsafe housing to survive.
As Disney makes clear, his family business is far from the worst offender when it comes to robbing workers of their fundamental dignity. But because of what Walt Disney stands for, and because the company used to be a relatively responsible corporate citizen, she and Hughes use them as an example of how far corporate America has strayed from its mid-20th-century ideals. This is an unapologetic defense document; and as such, it’s likely to upset some viewers. But even those who want to watch it just to argue should find “The American Dream” a worthy opponent.
‘The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales’. Not Rated. 1 hour, 27 minutes. Available on VOD
‘I to play’
Veteran New York actors Dan Moran and Chris Jones spent decades working on stage and screen before both men weaved through the debilitating physical effects of Parkinson’s disease, which has made it hard for them to remember lines and punch marks. Director Jim Bernfield’s short and sweet documentary “Me to Play” follows Moran and Jones as they work with some of their former colleagues to stage a production of Samuel Beckett’s “Endgame,” a play with existentialist and apocalyptic themes that two protagonists find especially resonant. . The film charts the often difficult rehearsal process while spending time with the actors’ families and friends, who in some cases are unusually honest about what a nightmare it has been to watch someone they love decline. “Me to Play” doesn’t make much of a statement about living with the disease or theater as therapy. It’s a small slice of life for a couple of guys trying to exemplify that classic Beckett quote: “I can’t go on. I will continue.”
‘I to play.’ Not Rated. 1 hour, 12 minutes. Available on VOD and Fandor
So on VOD
“nope” is the latest jaw-dropping genre film from “Get Out”/”Us” writer-director Jordan Peele, who this time fuses horror, sci-fi, westerns and social satire in a story about ranchers meeting aliens. The star cast includes Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun in a film that defies easy description or explanation and is best experienced with as little prior knowledge as possible. Available on VOD
Available now on DVD and Blu-ray
“Exotic” was a seminal film for Canadian writer-director Atom Egoyan, who applies his fascination with sexual desire and modern alienation to a compelling and accessible story about a man trying to overcome a personal tragedy through the rituals of table dancing. a strip club. Extras on the new Criterion Collection Blu-ray contextualize the film’s place in Egoyan’s career, through insightful conversations and multiple additional films. criteria