The second week in May featured a deluge of new releases. Below are my thoughts on a big group of films that are now playing in limited release or available online. If you’d like to see more of my scores for films and thoughts, feel free to follow me on Letterboxd here.
Starring: Melissa Barrera and Paul Mescal
Synopsis: This film probably isn’t what you’re expecting. It wasn’t what I expected, either. But what we get is something passionate, beautifully crafted and haunting. On paper, it’s a simple story. Carmen (Barrera) is making her way out of Mexico following the death of her mother. Aidan (Mescal), a former soldier, is now volunteering with border patrol. Their paths cross during Carmen’s border crossing, where Aidan’s partner turns violent. Aidan acts to protect Carmen, forcing them to go on the run together. And, soon enough, sparks fly. This film, directed by Benjamin Millepied, tells the story above, but not in the straight-forward manner you’d expect. It’s beautifully shot and crafted, mixing music and dance into the narrative to bring the story to life in unexpected ways. It was one of the most strikingly visual films I’ve seen this year. Additionally, it features beautiful performances from the leads, who are at time stretched out of their comfort zones. This film might not be styled for everyone’s tastes, but you can’t help but be moved by the artistry of the craft. It’s one that stuck with me after the credits rolled.
Rating: Rated R for language, some violence and nudity.
The Mother (Netflix)
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Omari Hardwick
Synopsis: Just in time for Mother’s Day weekend we get a tale of a mother seeking to protect her child, but it’s not the kind of story you’re expecting. In it, Lopez is a weapons dealer who, after realizing she’s pregnant, turns state’s witness. Things don’t go as planned. Once the child is born, she gives it up for adoption and goes into hiding, making her FBI Agent handler (Hardwick) promise to contact her if her daughter is ever in danger. When that message comes, she springs into action. This action film, from director Niki Caro, has a strong cast and some promise. Lopez is solid in the lead role as The Mother, but the narrative drags. Some of the action sequences are interesting but overall, the narrative is just OK. For those looking for a passable action film, this works. But it offers little more than that.
Rating: Rated R for violence, some language and brief drug use.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.
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