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REVIEW: Shazam! Fury of the Gods is Best When it Embraces its B-Movie Roots
Early in Shazam! Fury of the Gods, the film thoroughly embraces the obvious needle-drop of “I Need a Hero” and openly comments on it. What starts as a meta-wink to the audience quickly shifts into an embrace of the beat, playing a potentially life-or-death situation for character establishment and laughs. It’s a fun sequence of pretty heroes saving the day in a goofy way, which might be the core strength of Shazam! Fury of the Gods. While it likely won’t convert non-superhero fans, the film is confident in its embrace of a broad, goofy, and sometimes dangerous adventure that feels perfect for younger audiences.
Picking up after the events of Shazam!, Billy Batson (Asher Angel/Zachary Levi) has adjusted to his adopted family — but isn’t so sure about his superhero alter ego. His family, also empowered, seem to be drifting apart from one another — Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer/Adam Brody) wants the spotlight, Mary (Grace Fulton) wants to go to college, and Eugene (Ian Chen/Ross Butler), Darla (Faithe Herman/Meagan Good), and Pedro (Jovan Armand/D.J. Cotrona) all have their own passions and paths. On the verge of aging out of the foster family system and anxious about his place in the world, Billy is increasingly desperate to keep things on track.
REVIEW: The Boston Strangler is a Solid but Familiar Thriller Anchored by Strong Performances
The Boston Strangler — debuting on Hulu on Mar. 17 — follows a standard true-crime drama formula, exploring the investigation into a string of murders carried out over a decade in New England. While it may not break the mold, The Boston Strangler does a solid job of creating something compelling. Anchored by a solid Keira Knightley and bolstered by a strong supporting cast and sense of direction, The Boston Strangler is an effective take on an established genre.
The Boston Strangler focuses on Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley), a reporter at the Boston Record American in the 1960s. Despite being relegated to the lifestyle desk, like most female reporters at the paper, Loretta is drawn to the crime desk — despite the constant pushback from her critical editor, Jack MacLaine (Chris Cooper). When her proposed report about a series of murders in the city scoops the entire city and enrages the police department, who’ve been unable to find Boston’s first reported serial killer, Loretta becomes increasingly obsessed with finding the truth, especially as the killer’s motivations and methods seem to shift slightly over time — indicating there may have been more than one killer.
REVIEW: Taron Egerton’s Tetris Fuses Spies, Succession, and Gaming
Based on real-life events, Tetris charts the days before the release of the titular videogame. In the thirty-plus years since Tetris first appeared on the original version of the Game Boy, it’s become one of the most successful games of all time. But before it ended up in the hands of almost any players, the rights were shifted back and forth in a story that feels indebted both to legal dramedies and tense spy thrillers. Tetris reflects both elements well, juggling the film’s potential tonal problems deftly. Elevated by a solid cast, Tetris — which comes to Apple TV+ on Mar. 31 — proves to be a fun, thoroughly entertaining genre-hopping tale.
Tetris focuses on the story of Henk Rogers (potential Wolverine Taron Egerton), a video game developer who is introduced to a version of Tetris at a gaming convention. Enamored with the game and convinced of its potential enough to convince his wife Akemi (Ayane) to go all in, Rogers sets about gaining the portable property rights to the game to serve as a launch game on the upcoming Nintendo Gameboy. To do so, Henk finds himself dealing with a host of other people out for the game rights as well, racing against media mogul Robert Maxwell (Roger Allam) and his son Kevin (Anthony Boyle), as well as their frequent business partner Robert Stein (Toby Jones).
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