The folks at Pixar continue to show their golden touch. “Soul” is a Disney+ feature that again demonstrates that animation can be a powerful way to tell a compelling story that would be difficult for live action. Jamie Fox voices the lead character, a jazz piano player who is accidentally transported to the pre-life realm and winds up helping another person find life’s purpose. “Soul” is heartfelt, funny and intelligent and is one of the year’s best films.
America’s dad, Tom Hanks, delivers again with his first Western, “News of the World.” It’s a post-Civil War story about a man who attempts to deliver a 10-year-old German girl, raised by Kiowa people, back to the family she was kidnapped from. They endure many hardships as they travel across the Texas wilderness. “News of the World” plays like a mix of “True Grit” and “The Searchers,” and I mean that in the best way.
George Clooney gives a strong performance in the post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama, “The Midnight Sky.” After a global catastrophe, a scientist tries to warn astronauts on a returning spacecraft to steer clear of Earth. Clooney also directed this moody philosophical thriller that is more than competent, but a bit too unhurried for its own good.
Carrie Mulligan gives a fierce and potent performance in the subversive pitch-black feminist comedy, “Promising Young Woman.” Provoked by a friend’s tragic death, a woman pretends to be drunk at singles bars in order to entrap aggressive men who would take advantage. The plot goes places you probably won’t expect. The title “Promising Young Woman” could also describe first-time filmmaker Emerald Fennell.
“Monster Hunter” is more fantasy action nonsense based on a video game. Milla Jovovich is a soldier transported to an alternate dimension where she battles giant creatures. Somehow, it’s both action packed and boring.
Your local art house theaters are offering online viewing options for a number of intriguing movie titles. More information is available at nelson-atkins.org, Screenland.com, fineartsgroup.com and drafthouse.com.