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Reviews for November 1st, 2019

Charlie's Angels

Directed by Elizabeth Banks

      Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott) joins Jane (Ella Balinska) and Sabina (Kristen Stewart) as Charlie's Angels while under the mentorship of Bosely (Elizabeth Banks). Their mission is to prevent an energy company from releasing a new tech device called Callisto into the world because it could turn into a deadly weapon.

      The latest update of Charlie's Angels is slick and action-packed, but that's all that it really has going for it. The dull screenplay by writer/director Elizabeth Banks lacks humor, thrills, suspense, wit and palpable chemistry between the Elena, Jane and Sabina. Even the first ten minutes introducing Charlie's Angels fails to hook the audience as the comedic beats don't land. There's nothing interesting, clever nor surprising about the plot which revolves around a MacGuffin. Banks throws in some feminist lines of dialogue that seem tacked-on and heavy-handed as though she were trying too hard to please feminist audiences and to make a statement about female power. Hitting the audience over the head isn't an effective way to spread that message. To top it all off, neither of the actresses have enough charisma, acting chops nor comedic timing to rise above the lazy material. The editing feels choppy at times and the action scenes are poorly choreographed.

      If Charlie's Angels were 90 minutes, it would be nothing more than a harmless waste of time, but at 118 minutes, it overstays its welcome and becomes a tedious chore to sit through. The third act takes too long to reach the final scene with at least three false endings. There is a twist which could be seen from a mile away, but even if you don't predict it, you're not invested enough in the plot nor the characters to care about it once it does arrive. Charlie's Angel's is ultimately a shallow, dumb and overlong action comedy that's neither thrilling nor funny.

Number of times I checked my watch: 5
Released by Columbia Pictures.
Opens nationwide.

Queen of Hearts

Directed by May el-Toukhy

      Anne (Trine Dyrholm), a lawyer, lives with her husband, Peter (Magnus Krepper), a doctor. They raise twin girls together, but Peter has an estranged teenage son, Gustav (Gustav Lindh) from his first marriage. When Gustav moves in with them after getting kicked out of his school and mother's home, the relationship between Anne and Peter as well as Anne and Gustav evolves in unexpected and disturbing ways.

      Queen of Hearts is a dark, engrossing and unflinching portrait of a dysfunctional family that makes Ordinary People and Murmur of the Heart look like a fairy tale. Writer/director May el-Toukhy and co-writer Maren Louise K√§ehne take narrative risks that are bold and subversive, especially during one scene that leaves nothing to the imagination. They do, however, compensate for that with a chilling, Hitchcockian scene that trusts both the audience's imagination and their intelligence to boot. Neither of the characters is particularly likable, but that's what makes them all the more fascinating. They're selfish, emotionally unstable and have no shame in crossing boundaries. The less you know about the plot twists, the better because they're shocking, so any spoilers would not allow for those beats to land as effectively, but do be warned that you're in for a roller coaster ride of complex emotions that are frightening and difficult to navigate.

      The underrated actress Trine Dyrholm gives an raw, brave and moving performance in a role that's far from easy to portray so convincingly and naturally. She's the film's heart and soul, so she deserves to be commended for bearing her soul to the camera. She's unafraid to be physically naked as well as emotionally naked. The same can be said for Gustav Lindh and Magnus Krepper who bring emotional depth to their roles without any hamming or schmaltz to be found. It wouldn't be surprising if it were a challenge for each of the actors to shake off these characters emotionally. At a running time of 2 hours and 7 minutes, Queen of Hearts is a shocking, heartbreaking and haunting psychological thriller.

Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Breaking Glass Pictures.
Opens at Cinema Village.
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