Freeze Frame: “Blonde” (NC-17), “Bros” (R), “Smile” (R), “The Good House” (R)

A heartfelt and empathetic performance by Ana de Armas as troubled Hollywood superstar Marilyn Monroe isn’t quite enough to elevate the excessively depressing NC-17 drama, “Blonde, ” now on Netflix. This fictionalized account based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates has flashes of brilliance, but dramatically it’s a one-note affair. And with its nearly three-hour running time, viewing becomes an act of endurance. In case you didn’t grasp the sledgehammer message, Monroe was exploited, and her life was sad. So is this movie.

The Hollywood rom-com formula gets a very gay spin with the lighthearted farce, “Bros.” Comedian Billy Eichner plays a podcaster and LGBTQ museum curator convinced that a life without romantic entanglements is best for him. That is, until he meets a beefcake probate lawyer at a nightclub. Those offended by frank sexuality may want to steer clear of this devil-may-care love story, but for many, “Bros” will be a raunchy breath of fresh air.

“Smile” is a well-made and creepy little supernatural thriller about a malevolent entity that causes people to kill themselves, pass the evil onto a witness and continue the chain of suicide. The jump scares are all there and Sosie Bacon gives a strong leading performance. While it’s overlong and gets a bit too literal at the finale, “Smile” provides plenty of chills for horror fans.

Sigourney Weaver gets her meatiest role in years in the comic drama, “The Good House.” She plays a struggling New England realtor who hides her alcoholism from her family…and herself. Kevin Kline plays an old flame who may or may not be of help. What could easily have fallen into Lifetime Movie territory gets a boost from a talented, accomplished cast.

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