Freeze Frame: “The Turning” (PG-13), “The Gentlemen” (R), “Clemency” (R), “John Henry” (R)

“The Turning” is the latest in a long string of movies based on Henry James’ classic ghost story, “The Turn of the Screw.” Mackenzie Davis plays a nanny who attempts to protect two children from evil spirits. Ambiguity isn’t necessarily a fault, but “The Turning” is so vague and disjointed that it plays like a reel of film was accidentally edited out. Check out the classic 1961 Deborah Kerr version, “The Innocents” instead.


Filmmaker Guy Ritchie returns to familiar territory with the violent gangster epic, “The Gentlemen.” Matthew McConaughey plays an expat American in London who gets into trouble when he tries to extract himself from his lucrative marijuana business. “The Gentlemen” is cheeky and gimmicky, but should be a decadent guilty pleasure for many.


Alfre Woodard gives a riveting performance in the earnest social drama, “Clemency,” the winner of the top prize at Sundance in 2019. Woodard plays a warden whose job of carrying out executions is taking a massive emotional toll. Aldis Hodge is equally good as an anxiety-ridden death row inmate awaiting his inevitable fate. “Clemency” is extremely well made but excruciating to sit through.


Terry Crews stars in the bloody revenge thriller, “John Henry,” an ugly, disjointed throwback to movies like “Walking Tall.” It’s appropriate that Chris Bridges plays the bad guy because this movie is “Ludacris.”


Also opening this week, “The Rescue” is a Chinese action thriller about emergency responders. “The Song of Names” is a drama about a Polish-Jewish violin prodigy who is a refugee in WWII London. “Run” is a mystery thriller about a woman who raises her daughter in isolation. “The Last Full Measure” tells the true story of a Viet Nam war hero. The Panic Fest Horror Film Festival runs January 24 through the 30th at the Screenland Armour. Info is available at

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