Actress Sophia Lillis from the recent “It” films, moves from dealing with a scary clown to encountering a scary witch in the horror fantasy, “Gretel & Hansel,” based on the classic Brothers Grimm story. Gretel leads her little brother into the dark forest in search of sustenance only to meet up with a wretched enchantress, played by Alice Krige, best known as the diabolical Borg queen from the Star Trek franchise. Are you suffering from insomnia? Try ”Gretel & Hansel.” It’s the cinematic equivalent of Ambien but requires no prescription.
For something a bit more lively, try Blake Lively. She, Jude Law and Sterling K. Brown lead an impressive cast in the action drama, “The Rhythm Section,” based on Mark Burnell’s novel. Lively plays a woman who tries to uncover the dark truth behind an airplane crash that resulted in the death of her family members. When it becomes clear that the crash was intentional, she sets out on a dangerous mission to find the culprits. Oh, and Law trains her to be an assassin. All of the shaky camera work in the world can’t make this story seem realistic.
Also opening this week, “Taylor Swift: Miss Americana” is a documentary about of the rise of the pop star and her evolution as a socially conscious artist. “The Wonderland” is a fantasy anime offering about a suffering netherworld behind a basement door. I’m often asked, why should I care about the Oscar nominated short films if I can’t see them for myself. Well, you can. The 2020 “Oscar Nominated Short Films” will be screened at the Alamo, Tivoli and Screenland Armour in three separate compilation packages: Live Action, Animation and Documentary Shorts. As always, these shorts are interesting and well made, but this year’s lineup is, for the most part, also deadly serious.