As usual, January doesn’t offer much when it comes to new movies. Aside from the animated “Hotel Transylvania 4: Transformania” and “Belle,” only B-level horror movies (with apologies to the “Scream” franchise) are opening in theaters.
Therefore, Reel Reviews recommends entertaining recent movies available online and on DVD.
Baby-faced Brit Freddie Highmore gives a compelling performance as engineering genius Thom Laybrick in ‘The Vault’.
Instead of taking one of the many lucrative jobs offered by recruiters from the world’s biggest industries, the Cambridge graduate falls in with a group of thieves intent on opening the Bank’s impenetrable safe. Spain. After bringing back vast treasure from a sunken ship in Spanish waters, Walter Moreland (Liam Cunningham) and his crew are forced to hand over the spoils to the Spanish government.
Astrid Berges-Frisbey is part of the gang, and Jose Coronado plays Gustavo, the tormented security chief of the Bank of Spain.
Director Jaume Balaguero’s fast-paced and clever heist flick is slightly reminiscent of an ‘Ocean’s 11-style caper’ as the burglars plan to carry out their scheme during the distraction of the hugely popular FIFA World Cup final match being played by the national football team of Spain.
LOVE AND MONSTERS
Although it’s a movie that begins with the apocalypse, at least it gets a lot of laughs.
“Love and Monsters” also features the ultimate in gigantic, weird, often silly, yet deadly monsters.
Lovesick Joel Dawson (the perfect Dylan O’Brien cast) lives in an underground bunker with other survivors, but longs for his girlfriend Aimee (Jessica Henwick) whom he hasn’t seen in seven years.
Although he has no skills to defend himself against the monster-infested land and is rather cowardly, he sets out on an 80-mile trek to find Aimee.
As he takes off on what appears to be a suicide mission, Joel encounters a clever dog named Boy, who saves him from being sucked in by a many-legged beast. After this rescue, Joel meets skilled monster slayers Minnow (Ariana Greenfield) and Clyde Dutton (Michael Rooker). Director Michael Matthews deserves kudos for this breathtaking and darkly comedic creative adventure.
(Apple TV+ also on DVD)
One of 2021’s most imaginative movies, Miguel Sapochnik’s “Finch” debuted on Apple TV+ and didn’t have a theatrical release.
Solar flares have decimated most of the Earth, but robotics engineer Finch (Tom Hanks) has remained safe in the post-apocalyptic world in a St. Louis lab. But when Finch learns that a solar storm is brewing that will destroy everything in its path, he leaves the safety of his laboratory for a trip west accompanied by his dog Goodyear and his creation, a robot named Jeff.
Through dangerous and sometimes humorous circumstances, the trio continue the harrowing journey to the mountains where the air might be clear. Maybe other humans could live there safely.
Using incredible motion capture technology, Caleb Landry-Jones voices and “plays” the role of Jeff the robot.
Despite what appears to be dark subject matter, “Fitch” manages to maintain an uplifting tone during an emotionally involving film.
3 and 1/2 stars
Alice Reese is a member of the Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association. She reviews film, arts and entertainment for the Herald-Banner and for KETR.