With a great cast and a riveting true story to work with, “The Current War” should have been an electrifying movie. It tells the tale of the bitter competition between Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse during the early days of electrical power. Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon and Nicholas Hoult are all fine, but their efforts can’t overcome the film’s awkward pacing. “The Current War” simply runs out of juice.
Naomi Harris and Tyrese Gibson star in “Black and Blue,” an action thriller about a rookie cop who goes on the run after she records some dirty cops murdering a drug dealer on her body cam. While the story is pretty predictable, Harris is terrific in the lead role and it’s a taut little thriller.
Amazingly, a documentary about an impoverished middle-aged female beekeeper in rural Macedonia is one of the year’s most moving films. “Honeyland” is more than just a cinema verité glimpse at another world. It’s a canny observation of delicate social and environmental balances. It’s heartbreaking, but “Honeyland” is also surprisingly sweet.
Emma Roberts stars in “Paradise Hills,” a visually vibrant sci-fi thriller about a near-future spa-like island where unwilling women are sent to be reprogrammed into the perfect obedient bride. The first feature from Spanish costume designer and photographer Alice Waddington doesn’t all work, but it’s stylish.
Also opening this week, “The Lighthouse” is an acclaimed art house horror fantasy starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. “Countdown” is a horror flick about a killer phone app, “The Great Alaskan Race” is a drama about the Serum Run of 1925 when mushers trekked 700 miles to bring life-saving medicine to a remote village. “The Dead Center” is a horror thriller about evil in a psych ward. “Western Stars” is a music documentary featuring and directed by The Boss, Bruce Springsteen.