The action thriller “Vanquish” represents the nadir in the distinguished career of Morgan Freeman. The Oscar-winning actor can’t save this ridiculous, over-directed mess about a corrupt police commissioner who blackmails a skilled assassin, played by Ruby Rose, into conducting a series of bloody revenge crimes. Writer/director George Gallo uses every filmmaking technique in the handbook of movie cliches in an ill-fated attempt to shore up his terrible script. Absurd and sleazy, “Vanquish” manages to vanquish two hours of your time and innumerable brain cells.
“In the Earth” is a very creepy and unsettling paranoia thriller from noted British horror director, Ben Wheatley. Filmed during and inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic, the plot involves a pair of researchers who venture deep into the woods while the world around them is in lockdown due to a deadly virus. But there are some things that are even scarier in the woods. Wheatley plays on our current fears about the virus as well as our concerns about what’s happening in the natural environment. The cast is solid and Wheatley manages to squeeze more than you might expect from his very modest budget. It’s smart and well-crafted, but “In the Earth” is an uneasy and awkward blend of art house horror and grisly midnight movie schlock.
The 25th annual Kansas City Film Fest International is a virtual event once again this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The organizers have coordinated an eclectic lineup of films and events that will appeal to both hard core cinephiles and popcorn movie fans. Movies, Q&As and other events can be screened online through April 17th. More information is available at www.kcfilmmfest.org.
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.