The latest film releases include “Creed III,” “Palm Trees and Powerlines,” “Blueblack,” and “Operation Fortune.” KCRW gets reviews from Amy Nicholson, host of the podcast Unspooled and film reviewer for the New York Times, and Shawn Edwards, journalist for FOX 4 News in Kansas City, Missouri.
The much-anticipated sequel is directed by and stars Michael B. Jordan, alongside Tessa Thompson and Jonathan Majors.
Nicholson: “Michael B. Jordan has taken the training he's been through in the rink to play this role and really injected that into these fight scenes. He captures that feeling that you get when you're a boxer, about how the entire world disappears. You don't hear anything. It is really just you and this person who's trying to punch you in the face. And he makes you really feel that in the fight scenes. They have length, they have drama, they have excitement. I will say I think Michael B. Jordan has directed my favorite of the three ‘Creed’ movies.”
Edwards: “Michael B. Jordan does direct, and he's obviously been paying attention on set during his acting career because he's an able director. There's no flaws with the direction. He does a fine job. The problem sometimes with ‘Creed III’ lies with the story because the movie moves really fast, perhaps too quickly, because there are a lot of story points that are left on the table and a lot of subplots that go unanswered in a rush to get to the climactic fight. But I will say this — Jonathan Majors elevates and saves this entire film.”
“Palm Trees and Powerlines”
This stars newcomer Lily McInerney as a 17-year-old who gets caught up in a relationship with a man twice her age.
Nicholson: “Anybody who's not 17 will not be spoiled to know that this guy is not a magical Prince Charming entering her life and everything is going to be fine. But this film really captures how a toxic relationship builds for people who are leaning back and being like, ‘Why would she go back to that guy? Why does she like that guy?’ This film takes you through those steps of how somebody gets their hooks into someone who is really vulnerable.”
Edwards: “It's painfully authentic. I mean, this is the real live version of ‘Euphoria,’ the HBO show. This is what realistically happens when teens explore their sexuality and get caught up in situations that they shouldn't be in. But it's the realism in the acting that make everything so believable.”
Based on the book by Tim Winton, this is about a child named Abby who befriends a giant fish – a blue grouper.
Nicholson: “It feels more just like a classic kids’ movie. The novel itself, I think, was written for children. Everybody talks in complete sentences all the time. This family is living on this beautiful part of Australia’s southern coast. And so of course there's a developer who wants to turn it into luxury condominiums or whatever.”
Edwards: “The story morphs into ‘let’s protect the environment, let's protect the ecosystem,’ and it takes place off Australia's coral reefs. And it's all played out very innocently. It's very wholesome. It's a true straightforward coming-of-age story. But at times, it plays like an ABC after-school special, except with out-of-this-world cinematography. As you're watching things unfold, you're more captivated by the way it looks and the beauty of nature, like this weird mix of a nature film and family drama. But it's very familiar entertainment.”
“Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre”
Directed by Guy Ritchie, Jason Statham plays special agent Orson Fortune, who is on a mission with his team to stop a billionaire arms dealer.
Nicholson: “This is one of those movies where you can really imagine … why everybody read the script and signed onto it. But as it's unspooling, the jokes and the actual punchlines don't exactly land. … The clever parts aren't actually that clever. … The whole time I just felt very aware of the gulf between how much I wanted to be enjoying this and how little I actually was.”
Edwards: “This movie was cobbled and pieced together from the last footage from ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,’ ‘Snatch,’ ‘Revolver’ … all other films that Guy Ritchie has directed. … It totally feels like a greatest-hits package. But at least it's fun because there's lots of shooting, pointless banter … this team of misfits … mayhem explosions … eye candy. But none of it matters because the script is so idiotic.”