"Godzilla vs. Kong"
directed by Adam Wingard
(PG-13, 1 hour, 53 minutes)
Though "Godzilla vs. Kong" debuted on HBO Max and in theaters simultaneously at the end of March, the movie marked the return of the blockbuster to the big screen after a year of pandemic-driven delays and postponements; so it holds a special place in our hearts.
But that doesn't necessarily mean we need to watch it (again).
On the other hand, other reviewers were kinder. Katie Walsh of Tribune News Service wrote: "Director Adam Wingard knows how to deliver what a movie titled 'Godzilla vs. Kong' should be.
"As befitting the franchise, entirely too many actors have been cast to run around the feet of Godzilla and Kong spouting vaguely scientific dialogue ... the appeal of this film is two beloved movie giants pulverizing a city" and Wingard "offers that spectacle dripping in neon and techno."
The human cast includes Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Eiza Gonzalez, Kyle Chandler and Demian Bichir.
"French Exit" (R, 1 hour, 53 minutes)
Azazel Jacobs' new film stars Michelle Pfeiffer in high glamour mode as Frances Price, a New York socialite who made her fortune by marrying a ruthless billionaire (Tracy Letts, who stars in Jacobs' 2017 film "The Lovers").
Or maybe he wasn't quite that wealthy, for after his sudden death -- she left his lifeless body lying in their apartment for a few days so she could take a ski trip to Vail, reporting it to the authorities only after she returned -- it has only taken a dozen years for her to run through his money. She seems nonplussed by the idea.
"My plan was to die before the money ran out," she tells her exasperated accountant. "But I kept and kept not dying." Nobody ever taught her how to live out on the street, and now she's going to have to get used to it. The only thing to do is to cash out, sell the apartment and its contents, to leave for Paris. Quelle horreur.
While it isn't a tremendously satisfying film, with a tone drfting between mock Preston Sturges madcap and sub-Whit Stillman mannerism to low Woody Allen snobbery, Pfeiffer saves even the archest lines with her performance; we get the feeling that Frances is smirking at the little movie in which she finds herself trapped.
"The Lovebirds" (R, 1 hour, 26 minutes) If only somebody had put some effort into crafting a decent script, this romantic comedy might be worthwhile. As it stands, its most redeeming feature is the nice chemistry between its lead characters who, as they teeter perilously close to breaking up, find themselves mixed up in a murder mystery, and not in a good way. With Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani, Paul Sparks, Anna Camp; directed by Michael Showalter.
"Flashback" (aka "The Education of Fredrick Fitzell") (R, 1 hour, 37 minutes) An uneasy psychological thriller in which Fredrick Fitzell (Dylan O'Brien) finds his otherwise excellent life getting derailed when he starts having horrifying visions of the fate of a girl who disappeared from his high school. With Maika Monroe, Hannah Gross, Emory Cohen; written and directed by Christopher MacBride. This is not the 1990 comedy with Dennis Hopper, Kiefer Sutherland, and Carol Kane.
"City of Lies" (R, 1 hour, 52 minutes) An untidy, gritty crime drama in which LAPD detective Russell Poole (Johnny Depp) and journalist Jack Jackson (Forest Whitaker) each bring their unique skills to an investigation of the murders of rappers Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. It helps to have a soundtrack that includes music by Shakur, N.W.A., and Biggie. With Shea Whigham, Xander Berkeley; directed by Brad Furman.
"21 Bridges" (R, 1 hour, 39 minutes) A straightforward police procedural about a NYPD detective who, after discovering a massive internal conspiracy, is looked upon with suspicion by his colleagues, then gets a chance at redemption by joining in a citywide hunt for two young cop killers. With Chadwick Boseman, Sienna Miller, J.K. Simmons, Stephan James, Taylor Kitsch, Keith David; directed by Brian Kirk.
"Assault on VA-33" (R, 1 hour, 30 minutes) As lame as a "Die Hard" imitator can be, this bullet-riddled mess features decorated veteran Jason Hill (Sean Patrick Flanery), who's lunching with his wife at the VA hospital where she works when she's summoned to consult with the U.S. Military's Joint Chiefs of Staff. Shortly thereafter, everyone in the hospital is taken hostage by armed terrorists. Hey, somebody has to save them; where's Bruce Willis when you need him? With Michael Jai White, Gina Holden, Weston Cage Coppola (Nicolas Cage's oldest son), Mark Dacascos; directed by Christopher Douglas-Olen Ray.
Home Movies is a weekly round-up of movies recently -- or about to be -- released on DVD. Some of the titles might have also been released for rental and purchase through digital.