Capsule Reviews – Feb 5, 2021

Reviews of Synchronic, Wrong Turn, The Little Things, Psycho Goreman, No Mercy, Shadow in the Cloud

Denzel Washington and Jared Leto in director John Lee Hancock's "The Little Things"

Synchronic

The Matrix bumps uglies with The Butterfly Effect in a swift, intelligent and thought-provoking sci-fi thriller about a couple of pandemics, working a series of murders, who discover a new designer drug is responsible for the deaths – in the most unusual of ways. Coupled with great performances by Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie, writer/director Justin Benson summons up a largely original tale and drenches it with flair.

Wrong Turn

Not so much a remake, or even a reboot, as it is another interpretation of the 2003 horror ‘classic’. Tale being told here has a hidden community of mountain dwellers going for broke on some hikers who wander off the Appalachian Trail. While it welcomingly went in a different direction, this new take forgets to reinstate the thrills, fun gory kills and the ‘faces’ (see it, you’ll know what I’m referring to) of Rob Schmidt’s original.

The Little Things

A throwback to those slick, well-cast ‘90s serial killer thrillers – like “Se7en” and “The Bone Collector” – John Lee Hancock’s 25-year-old script tells of a veteran cop on the trail of a serial killer, and the skeletons in his closet that threaten to reemerge. Compelling for the most part, and with traditionally great turns from Denzel Washington, Rami Malek & Jaret Leo, but the narcissistic, out-of-place ending near unravels all the good.

Psycho Goreman

An ancient alien overlord is resurrected by a couple of kids who then help the destructive monster evade his intergalactic enemies.
Part-throwback, Part-acid trip, this wildly fun horror-comedy takes the stencil of “E.T” and “The Iron Giant” and adds a surprisingly effective, and welcomingly surprising horror element.

Shadow in the Cloud

A well-crafted, welcomingly tight and undeniably fun action-horror hybrid about a World War II heroine who spots a creature on the wing of the fighter plane she’s a passenger in. Roseanne Liang recreates the old “Twilight Zone” episode as a period piece complete with resourceful visuals, a lot of girl power and some ridiculously fun action sequences. Chloe Grace Moretz stars.

Schitt’s Creek : The Complete Series

A slow-burn comedy that, like a loaf of, gets better with age. Over the course of the six seasons, you’ll fall head-over- for the eccentric, former richies Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy), his soap star wife Moira (Catherine O’Hara) and their two kids, uber-hipster son David (Dan Levy) and socialite daughter Alexis (Annie Murphy), as they make a new start in the squat town of Schitt’s Creek. Unlike many sitcoms, this Canadian laffer pulled the plug before the jokes got stale and the character arcs had all been told. Deleted scenes include bloopers, deleted scenes, featurettes, and a worthy doc on the series finale.

No Mercy

Released on Blu-ray by Mill Creek. Not one of Richard Gere’s best – – all Kim Basinger’s, for that matter – but still a solid, gritty thriller that holds up reasonably well some 30 years later. Pic tells of a Chicago policeman who chases the film’s villain – Jeroen Crabbe as a nasty who killed his partner – down in New Orleans. Some fun ‘fish out of water’ moments, some great cinematography and some slightly forced but appropriate romance.

Swamp Thing : The Complete Series

Prematurely axed DC Universe (and later CW) offering based on the DC comic of the same name. The 10-episodes fix on a doctor (Crystal Reed) and plant-elemental creature (Derek Mears) who team to take on the strange and supernatural forces down Louisiana way. Featuring James Wan’s name as a producer, this genuinely scary and superbly-producing offering deserved far better treatment from the net.

Win! Double passes to Long Story Short

Renee Zellweger TV series Pam picked up by NBC