We have hunts of all different shapes and sizes in this week’s new releases.
1. Operation Finale (Opened Wednesday, MGM, 1,818 Theaters, 122 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic content and related violent images, and for some language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 60% Fresh [67 Reviews]): In 1960, Adolph Eichmann, the mind behind Hitler’s genocide against the Jewish people, was free and living in Argentina. Israeli intelligence agency Mossad was able to track him down and bring him back to stand trial. This is that story.
The film appears to work on two levels, one: a caper film of Eichmann’s capture and extradition, and second, a battle of wills between Eichmann (Ben Kingsley) and Mossad agent Peter Malkin (Oscar Issac).
I just wanted to touch on a fact I find mind blowing. This film is directed by Chris Weitz. Some of you may know that he got his start in Hollywood co-directing the first American Pie film. That’s quite a career arc that takes you from sex with a pastry to the capture of a Nazi war criminal.
2. Kin (Lionsgate, 2,141 Theaters, 102 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for gun violence and intense action, suggestive material, language, thematic elements and drinking, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 34% Fresh [44 Reviews]): A young man, just out of jail, finds the life of crime he left behind won’t leave him alone as he tries to reconnect with his family.
When his younger, adopted brother finds a strange futuristic gun, all sorts of interested parties come after him. The brothers must go on the run to save themselves from enemies old an new.
This film has an interesting cast and the gritty, realistic sci-fi is an intriguing concept. It all comes down to if they can find the right tone for the story. The reviews hint that they couldn’t.
3. Searching (Opening Wide, Sony/Screen Gems, 1,207 Theaters, 102 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for thematic content, some drug and sexual references, and for language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 90% Fresh [124 Reviews]): As any parent will tell you, the thought of your child going missing is a horror that you don’t want to think about but always have to. You have to think about the possibility in order to keep your child safe.
So, needless to say, it’s a cheap and easy hook to get audiences involved in your film. It also is a hook that has been used quite often in the past, so if you want to use it, you have to present it in a new and exciting way.
This film tells that story through the lens of our cyber-connected culture. David Kim (John Woo) searches for his missing daughter not through legwork and knocking on doors, but rather through her Facebook friends and digital footprints. The great reviews the film has received say that this approach works.
Next week’s new releases feature scary nuns (are there any other kind?) and a woman looking for vengeance. See you then.