Audiences always say they want something different from Hollywood. “Searching,” a tense thriller with a unique gimmick, fills the bill. All of the action takes place on a computer screen. John Cho and Debra Messing star in the story of a father who uses the internet to frantically search for his missing daughter. The story is involving, so the gimmick works.
“Kin” is an action drama mashup of sci-fi, family disfunction and road movie themes. Newcomer Miles Truitt is an appealing teen hero who is pursued by numerous folks after finding an alien ray gun. “Kin” almost works, but the filmmakers throw so many ideas against the wall that too few of them stick.
“The Bookshop,” based on Penelope Fitzgerald’s novel, tells the low-key story of a widow, played by Emily Mortimer, who opens a bookshop in a small English village in the 1950s. She’s opposed by the local village matriarch, played by Patricia Clarkson who wants the site for an arts center. Although it generates some gentle charm, the film’s deliberate pace works against it.
Domhnall Gleeson and Ruth Wilson star in “The Little Stranger,” a meandering and slow-moving ghost story filled with characters that are very hard to like. And the final reveal is a real eye-roller. Lovers of the book may be able to fill the movie’s blanks.
“Operation Finale” is a workmanlike historical drama starring Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley, about the Israeli intelligence agency’s efforts to capture the infamous Nazi Adolph Eichmann hiding out in Argentina. The acting is solid and the story is important, but the drama is never quite as riveting as it should have been.
Also opening this week, Ethan Hawke and Rose Byrne star in the comedy, “Juliet, Naked” based on Nick Hornby’s book. “Skate Kitchen” is a drama about teen skateboarders.