Kam On Film: ‘It Comes At Night,’ ‘Megan Leavey,’ and What’s New in Theaters

—by , June 14, 2017

It Comes At Night

A24 / Animal Kingdom

Rated R for profanity, violence and disturbing images

Desperate Survivors Lead Spartan Existence In Post-Apocalyptic Suspense Thriller

Paul (Joel Edgerton) found a safe refuge for his family far from the rest of humanity in the wake of a deadly plague that’s been decimating the planet. At least that’s what he thought about their remote hideout until his wife’s (Carmen Ejogo) dad somehow caught the disease.

After allowing Sarah and their son (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) to say their goodbyes through germ-proof respirators, Paul put a bullet in his ailing father-in-law’s head before he had a chance to infect one of them, too. While the body was being cremated, traumatized 17-year-old Travis tried to comfort himself as much as his pet dog, saying, “Don’t worry, Stanley, I’m going to take care of you.”

But as any movie fan knows, such an assurance is ordinarily an ominous kiss of death in a horror flick. And true to form, Stanley’s the next to go in It Comes At Night, a claustrophobic suspense thriller set inside a darkened cabin in the woods.

The picture is the sophomore offering from writer/director Trey Edward Shults who made an impressive debut a couple of years ago with Krisha. Here, the emerging wunderkind again makes the most of a micro-budget, crafting a harrowing tale guaranteed to make your hair stand on end.

The plot thickens when another family of refugees, desperate for shelter and sustenance, shows up unannounced. Against his better judgment, Paul invites the strangers to share their already meager rations, provided none of them is infected.

Patriarch Will (Christopher Abbott) assures him they’re healthy, but there’s something suspicious about the way that his wife, Kim (Riley Keough), keeps their baby covered up. Anyhow, the six proceed to pass a peaceful enough, if Spartan, existence until things mysteriously start to go bump in the middle of the night.

Whaddya expect to happen in a scary, spine-tingler with such a big hint in the title?

 

Excellent (4 stars)

Running time: 97 minutes

 

 

Megan Leavey

Bleeker Street Media / LD Entertainment

Rated PG-13 for violence, profanity, mature themes and suggestive material

Marine Bonds With Combat Dog In Man’s Best Friend Drama

Five years ago, Mike Dowling published Sergeant Rex, a memoir about the unbreakable bond he’d forged with a bomb-sniffing dog while conducting over 35 missions on the front lines of Iraq. Now, another Marine, Corporal Megan Leavey, is the subject of a docudrama “based on a true story” chronicling her suspiciously-similar relationship with the very same German shepherd.

Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the film stars Kate Mara as the title character, with veteran thespians Edie Falco and Will Patton in support roles. At the point of departure, we find the rudderless protagonist enlisting in the service more out of a lack of direction than a sense of patriotism.

But after completing basic training on Parris Island, she finally finds her true calling upon being assigned to the K-9 unit. Uncontrollable Rex is on the verge of being declared unfit for active duty by the base’s impatient veterinarian, Dr. Turbeville (Geraldine James), when an intrepid dog whisperer begs for an opportunity to soothe the savage beast with a little TLC.

Drill Sergeant Martin (Common) intervenes on her and the hound’s behalf. Then, exhibiting the patience of Job, Megan is the first soldier with the tender touch necessary to tame Rex. The two soon become inseparable and, the next thing you know, they’re shipped overseas to search for IEDs buried in the dangerous desert sands of Iraq’s Anbar Province.

The deployment initially proves uneventful other than Megan’s crossing paths with potential love interest, Corporal Matt Morales (Ramon Rodriguez). Too bad he likes the Mets while she’s a rabid Yankees fan.

Unfortunately, before love has a chance to blossom, Megan and Rex are injured in a blast and shipped back to the States for rehab at facilities far apart from each other. By then, Megan’s already developed an attachment to the hound that’s almost illegal. She’s convinced Rex belongs to her, not to the U.S. Military. So, she spends the rest of the picture cutting through bureaucratic red tape ’til their tearful reunion. Aww!

Pat and predictable, yet a sentimental enough journey to leave you weepy in spite of yourself.

 

Very Good (3 stars)

Running time: 116 minutes

 

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

For movies opening June 16, 2017

 

47 Meters Down (PG-13 for bloody images, intense peril and brief profanity) Harrowing tale of survival revolving around two sisters (Mandy Moore and Claire Holt) vacationing in Mexico whose scuba diving adventure turns into a desperate fight for their lives when their cage drops to the ocean floor, leaving them surrounded by great white sharks and with less than an hour of oxygen. Featuring Matthew Modine, Yani Gellman and Santiago Segura.

 

All Eyez on Me (R for violence, nudity, sexuality pervasive profanity and frequent drug use) Revealing biopic relating the untold story of Tupac Shakur (Demetrius Shipp, Jr.), the talented hip-hop artist, actor and political activist who became a victim of the East Coast-West Coast rap wars when he was gunned down in a drive-by shooting at the tender age of 25. Co-starring Kat Graham, Danai Gurira and Jamal Woolard.

 

Cars 3 (G) Third installment in the animated auto franchise finds Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) relying on the skills of a talented young mechanic (Cristela Alonzo) to compete against a new generation of blazing-fast racers. Voice cast includes Kerry Washington, Chris Cooper, Bob Costas, Tony Shalhoub, Nathan Fillion and Larry the Cable Guy.

 

Rough Night (R for crude sexuality, drug use, coarse humor, brief bloody images and pervasive profanity) Dark comedy about five BFFs (Kate McKinnon, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Kravitz, Jillian Bell and Ilana Glazer) whose wild, bachelorette party in Miami is ruined when they accidentally kill the male stripper hired to entertain them. With cameos by Demi Moore, Ty Burrell and Bob the Drag Queen.

 

The Book of Henry (PG-13 for mature themes and brief profanity) Jaeden Lieberher plays the title character in this coming-of-age tale as a precocious 11-year-old who, with the help of his mother (Naomi Watts), comes to the assistance of the abused, next door neighbor (Maddie Ziegler) he has a crush on. Featuring Dean Norris, Jacob Tremblay, Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace, Tonya Pinkins and Bobby Moynihan.

 

Hearing Is Believing (Unrated) Musical biopic about Rachel Flowers, the blind musical prodigy who blossomed into a popular jazz, soul and classical artist, sharing the stage with Keith Emerson, Burt Bacharach, Arturo Sandoval, Dweezil Zappa and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. .

 

I, Daniel Blake (Unrated) Ken Loach directed this unlikely-buddies drama about an unsophisticated, 59-year-old, heart attack victim (Dave Johns) who joins forces with a struggling single-mom (Hayley Squires) to battle Britain’s welfare and healthcare bureaucracies. Cast includes Briana Shann, Sharon Percy and Dylan McKiernan.

 

The Journey (PG-13 for profanity, mature themes and violent images) Political drama about the historic meeting of a couple of Irish adversaries: Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness (Colm Meaney) and Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley (Timothy Spall). Featuring Freddie Highmore, John Hurt and Toby Stephens.

 

Lost in Paris (Unrated) The husband and wife team of Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon wrote, directed and co-star in this burlesque comedy about a Canadian librarian (Gordon) who finds herself pursued by a seductive homeless man (Abel) when she travels to France to search for her missing, 88-year-old aunt (Emmanuelle Riva). With Pierre Richard, Celine Laurentie and Charlotte Dubery. (In French and English with subtitles)

 

Maudie (PG-13 for mature themes and brief sexuality) Sally Hawkins portrays Maud Lewis in this inspirational biopic, set in Nova Scotia in the ’30s, chronicling her overcoming the rheumatoid arthritis that had crippled her since childhood to become one of Canada’s most celebrated folk artists. Supporting cast includes Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett and Zachary Bennett.

 

Moka (Unrated) Adaptation of the Tatiana de Rosnay best seller of the same name about a grief-stricken, Swiss mother’s (Emmanuelle Devos) quest to track down and exact revenge on the French woman (Nathalie Baye) who killed her son (Paulin Jaccoud) in a hit-and-run accident. With David Clavel, Diane Rouxel and Olivier Chantreau. (In French with subtitles)

 

Once upon a Time in Venice (Unrated) Action comedy, set in Los Angeles, about a Private Eye (Bruce Willis) who will stop at nothing to retrieve his beloved pet pooch from a ruthless gang. Featuring Famke Janssen, Jason Momoa, John Goodman, Kal Penn and Wood Harris.

 

The Recall (R for violence, profanity and some nudity) Sci-fi thriller about five friends whose vacation at a cabin in the woods is ruined by an invasion of aliens bent on abducting humans. Co-starring Wesley Snipes, Jedidiah Goodacre and Laura Bilgeri.

 

Score (Unrated) Musical documentary affording an inside look at the challenges associated with composing a Hollywood film score. Featuring commentary by Quincy Jones, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, and Randy and David Newman.

 

 


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