Review of “Reminiscence” and other new films.
“Reminiscence” takes place in the not-so-near future, in a Miami that has changed climate and looks more like Venice. People travel by boat and are nocturnal because it is too hot to operate during the day. Jackman runs a recent warfare tactics service that lets you relive lost memories by diving into a water tank, your brain connected to wires and computers.
Who should come in for a little memory jog but a femme fatale played by Rebecca Ferguson (co-star of Jackman’s “The Greatest Showman”). He becomes obsessed with her. When she disappears, his search takes him through a dark criminal world, as he realizes that his love may not be as pure as he thought.
“Reminiscence” is written and directed by “Westworld” co-creator Lisa Joy. It’s her first movie, and she’s trying to wrap it all up. The result? Nothing sticks.
Jackman and Ferguson’s relationship feels more familiar than passionate. (“Westworld star Thandie Newton plays Jackman’s colleague and war veteran. You wish she had more numbers.) The endless storytelling, especially at the start, is meant to create a dark vibe but is reveals like a cliché. The talks range from border wars, land barons and inheritance. It’s a bit too much. Bottom line: the water is murky.
(Warner Bros. running time 1 hr 56 min. Rated PG-13. In theaters and streaming on HBO Max.)
If you want someone to play a Hollywood hitman, just dial Maggie Q! In “The Protégé,” her character makes a living as a skilled assassin, and she’s learned from the best: a guy named Moody, played by Samuel L. Jackson.
He saved Anna from Vietnam as a daughter and became a father figure to her. Together, they work to take down the worst types of villains until fate does part them. Anna is now vengeful and alone. But a mysterious man in Michael Keaton keeps appearing, and this is where it gets fun.
Maggie Q is at a point in her career where she can pick and direct a movie, and she’s doing it under the direction of Martin Campbell (who has made a few recent Bond films). She kicks you know what, but her character is layered, especially when she returns to Vietnam to face the ghosts of the past. She has a great fight scene with Keaton, but their verbal fight makes him sizzle. There is no mandate for the next 007 to be a man. I’m just saying!
(Lionsgate. Duration 1 h 49 min. Rated R. In theaters only.)
THE NIGHT HOUSE
“The Night House” is the best of the bunch this week, and that’s thanks to the imposing and very real performance by Rebecca Hall.
We meet young teacher Beth as she mourns the loss of her architect husband. Turns out he committed suicide and hasn’t finished saying goodbye! On the night of his funeral, he decides to haunt his widow as she remains alone (of course) in the beautiful lakefront home he designed. Over the course of several nights there are bloody footprints, knocking on the door, writing on the window, the stereo turned on, and then later come real appearances. An enigmatic suicide note doesn’t help, so she searches for clues left by her troubled husband. She discovers that he may have led a second life of infidelity – maybe even worse.
This movie is what I would call sophisticated suspense. There are times when you’ll jump in your seat, but the scares are all organic to the story. When things start to go downhill towards the end, you might wonder why director David Bruckner went there, but you’ll get goosebumps the way you do. It’s a good!
(Searchlight images. Duration 1 hr 48 min. Rated R. In theaters only.)
PAT’PATROUILLE: THE FILM
And who can resist these adorable puppies from “Paw Patrol!” Now the popular TV series is a feature film. A new canine character, voiced by North Texan and “Black-ishStar Marsai Martin alerts the patrol that Adventure City’s new mayor isn’t up to anything (plus he’s a cat lover – please!) And it’s the puppies to the rescue!
The doggies are precious, the animation adequate and they have lined up a great vocal talent. In addition to Martin, who is perfect, there are Dax Shepard, Jimmy Kimmel, Tyler Perry and Kim Kardashian.
Let’s face it, city dwellers aren’t the only ones to be saved. Parents of young children, you have a lovely 90 minute babysitter, or should I say, a litter of them!
(Paramount Pictures. Duration 1 h 28 min. Rated G. In theaters and streaming on Paramount +.)