“Tomorrowland” (Video on Demand, Blu-ray) This George Clooney fantasy arrived with plenty of fanfare last summer only to prove the actor’s box office clout isn’t what we assumed. The movie’s heart is in the right place, following a plucky teen (Britt Robertson) who discovers a world where the best scientists gather to defeat war, famine and other societal ills. Only some have soured on that potential, including a former whiz kid (Clooney) exiled from Tomorrowland and a scientist (Hugh Laurie) who wants nothing more than to keep Robertson’s character out at all costs.
“Tomorrowland” packs whimsical chases and frightening moments alike, making it an uncertain choice for young viewers. The film’s message of hope, wonderful on the surface, comes at a price. There’s a finger-wagging tone to the story, particularly in the waning moments that touch on climate change. It ends up feeling more like a lecture than thrill ride.
In short, it’s hardly the next “Ishtar” or “Waterworld,” but there’s a good reason many movie goers decided against a trip to “Tomorrowland.”
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“Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me” (Netflix) Some documentaries seem, well, depressing on the surface. Watching Campbell, one of country music’s greatest talents, succumb to Alzheimer’s disease would seem like such a film. Yet the joy in “I’ll Be Me” is seeing him resist an inevitable decline in front of his cheering fans.
The documentary captures Campbell’s last tour, a dubious project given his diagnosis at the time. Could Campbell remember his songs, his guitar licks even, while on stage? Turns out the man’s heart and passion prove downright medicinal for longer than anyone could have hoped.
The film captures not just Campbell, but his friends and family, doing all they can to make this final tour one for the ages. Director James Keach deftly juggles the star’s medical diagnosis with the backstage dynamics and concert footage. It’s a must-see for those who believe in the healing power of art.
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“Knock Knock” (VOD, theaters) Horror movies occasionally pack a dash of social conservatism. In the 1980s slasher genre, the couple who had premarital sex in the first reel rarely lived long enough to see the second. Enter “Knock Knock,” a thriller directed by horror veteran Eli Roth. He has infidelity in mind with his latest movie, a tale that avoids the prurient gore of his previous efforts.
Keanu Reeves stars as a devoted family man who stays home one weekend while his wife and kids hit the beach. He’s got too much work on his plate, but when two beautiful women appear at his door seeking shelter he doesn’t mind the distraction. The lovely guests set about seducing him, and he does all he can to resist … until he finally gives in. He soon wishes he hadn’t. These girls have more on their minds than adultery.
What follows is a wan morality play with too many clunky plot devices for any film to survive. Reeves is game as both the doting dad and the frightened suburbanite, but both the fidelity narrative and thrills barely register as intended. The film’s final reveal isn’t just frustrating. It negates the few chilling sequences that came before it.
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