What would an Academy Award-winning director do with a Marvel movie? “Eternals” provides the answer: More of the same. Chloé Zhao, who won the Oscar for the low-key drama “Nomadland,” mounts an impressive two-and-a-half-hour spectacle with all the over-the-top action one would expect from a Marvel opus. The problem with “Eternals” is its big, unwieldy and convoluted storyline about an immortal alien race of petulant god-like beings charged with protecting mankind from an evil race of alien “Deviants.” It’s hard to tell the players without a program and the players are rather humdrum. While it delivers the action and eye candy, “Eternals” is middling Marvel.
“The Harder They Fall” is an outlandish tongue-in-cheek homage to Spaghetti Westerns with an all-black cast and a torrent of grindhouse violence. Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba and Regina King lead a terrific ensemble in a decadent, but stylish revenge tale set in the remote 19th-century American West. Rival criminal gangs battle for dominance in an impressive first feature directed by British hip-hop star Jeymes Samuel, better known as The Bullitts. “The Harder They Fall” is a fierce guilty pleasure for fans of the genre. Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone would approve.
America’s dad, Tom Hanks, stars in an offbeat post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama, “Finch.” He plays a dying scientist, one of the last survivors of a natural cataclysm, who builds an AI robot to care for his beloved dog. The trio jumps in a high-tech Winnebago and embarks on a cross-country road trip in a last-ditch survival effort. Hanks is exactly the right actor for this role, and he elevates what is otherwise a somewhat dour movie. The efforts to tug on our heartstrings don’t always work, but “Finch” is a sweet-natured comic drama about what it means to be human.