Now Playing. Lego Star Wars: Terrifying Tales, No… | by Matthew Fox | Midday Musings | Oct, 2021

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Lego Star Wars: Terrifying Tales, No Time to Die, Old Henry, Spiral: From the Book of Saw, The Unholy

Matthew Fox

Here’s a look at the new movies I saw this week.

Lego Star Wars: Terrifying Tales (Disney+)
Starring:
Christian Slater, Jake Green, and Tony Hale
Synopsis: I have enjoyed the Lego Star Wars specials. The Christmas offering last year was pure delight. So, when a new Halloween special dropped I was all over it. And yet, this is just OK. It centers on Poe Dameron (Green) and BB-8 entering a new creepy hotel built in Lord Vader’s old castle. There, they’re led on a series of adventures by someone with ulterior motives. Through it all, we get classic horror stories involving our favorite Star Wars characters. It feels a lot like the Lego Star Wars version of Tree House of Horrors. And while some of it is cute, it doesn’t feel as fun and engaging as previous specials. It’s OK, not great.
Rating: TV-G
Verdict: Two stars out of four

No Time to Die (Theaters)
Starring:
Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffery Wright, and Lea Seydoux
Synopsis: This is the fifth and final outing for Craig as James Bond. This one picks up shortly after where Spectre left off. James (Craig) and Madeleine (Seydoux) are in Italy hoping to live their lives together. When they’re attacked by Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), James suspects Madeleine is involved. Five years later, he’s enjoying a life of quiet retirement when his old CIA pal Felix (Wright) gets him back in the game. Soon, he’s pulled down the rabbit hole, back to active service and working alongside a new spy (Lynch) and Madeleine to find answers. Craig has been strong in this role, crafting a number of engrossing films. No Time to Die, which has been oft delayed due to the pandemic, feels like a great final installment for Craig’s Bond and just a fun film in general. I thought the action sequences and performances were great. The final set piece in the third act works well and delivers an emotional climax that was quite satisfying. This is a film that delivers and is one of the best I’ve seen in 2021.
Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images, brief strong language and some suggestive material.
Verdict: Four stars out of four

Old Henry (VOD, Limited)
Starring:
Tim Blake Nelson, Scott Haze, Gavin Lewis, Trace Adkins, and Stephen Dorff
Synopsis: The western used to be a staple of the cinematic landscape but in recent years it’s taken a back seat. Old Henry feels like a classic throwback to that time, featuring a terrific lead performance from Blake Nelson. The film centers on a quiet farmer named Henry (Blake Nelson) who lives with his son (Lewis) and works alongside his brother-in-law (Adkins). When a wounded traveler (Haze) arrives it brings trouble, and a gang led by a fierce outlaw (Dorff) passing himself off as a law man. The conflict stirs up old emotions and threatens to uncover a secret long buried. I liked the style and pacing here. Blake Nelson shines in the lead role, while the supporting cast does a nice job, too. I liked the story and pacing here. This is a sturdy and engaging film and western that serves as a great showcase for Blake Nelson.
Rating: N/A
Verdict: Three stars out of four

Spiral: From the Book of Saw (Starz, VOD)
Starring
: Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, and Max Minghella
Synopsis: This was a big release from summer that I didn’t catch in theaters. But as we’re closing in on Halloween, it’s made it’s way to the cable rotation. It stars Rock as a battered detective assigned to a series of brutal murders that seem to be inspired by Jigsaw, the killer from the Saw film franchise. The victims all seem to be police officers, leading to a larger issue that he has to uncover. Along the way he gets some help from his father (Jackson), a retired cop, and an eager new partner (Minghella). This one is incredibly violent and moves along at a decent pace. Rock is solid in the lead and seems to be having fun in this role. Minghella and Jackson are solid, as are the rest of the cast. This one moves quick and follows a familiar, grim formula. If you’re a fan of gory horror films, this will likely hit the spot. I thought it was a bit much.
Rating: Rated R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, pervasive language, some sexual references and brief drug use.
Verdict: Two stars out of four

The Unholy (Starz)
Starring
: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Cricket Brown, William Sadler, and Katie Aselton
Synopsis: This supernatural thriller was released earlier this year and has landed on Starz just in time for the spooky season. It centers on a washed up journalist (Morgan) seeking a story who lands in a remote town and stumbles upon a deaf girl (Brown) who can suddenly see and hear. She seems to have been miraculously healed by the Virgin Mary, and spreads that gospel to the rest, but could it really be the work of someone else? You know how this one is going to go, a variation on the exorcism plot that has become so common. Morgan is decent in the lead role and the supporting cast here is fine, too. This plays out a little too by-the-numbers for me, but it is a decent watch that fits the genre well.
Rating: Rated PG-13 for violent content, terror and some strong language.
Verdict: Two stars out of four

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