Christopher Nolan’s mind-boggling sci-fi action thriller “Tenet” begs to be seen on the big screen. It also begs to have subtitles. While it’s involving and visually dazzling, the confounding time-inversion plotline is further muddled by an obtrusive soundtrack and heavy accents. John David Washington and Kevin Branagh do an impressive job of navigating their tricky roles. “Tenet” is virtuoso filmmaking and frustrating storytelling in equal measure.
“Mulan,” the live-action, non-musical adaptation of its 1998 animated hit is now on Disney+. Liu Yifei takes the title role of a Chinese girl who poses as a man to enter the Imperial Army and defend against Northern invaders in 620AD. It’s a beautifully produced and involving action fantasy, with considerably more violence than we’re used to seeing from Disney. Little girls everywhere will be inspired.
Charlie Kaufman, Hollywood’s most acclaimed eccentric stays true to form with the mind-bending and soul-chilling metaphysical horror film, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.” A young woman travels to her boyfriend’s childhood farm to meet the parents, which serves as an excuse for Kaufman to comment on a number of existential subjects. Jessie Buckley is nothing short of brilliant in a movie brimming with terrific performances. It’s disturbing and depressing, but watchable until it goes completely off the rails in the final scenes.
“All Together Now” is a sentimental Netflix drama about a good-hearted teenager, played by Auli’i Cravalho, who keeps her homeless status a secret from her friends. Carol Burnett has an effective cameo as a curmudgeonly retirement home resident. This heartfelt and optimistic drama walks the edge of treacle but never quite succumbs to excessive sweetness.
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.