“Thunder Force” (PG-13), “Concrete Cowboy” (R), “Voyagers” (PG-13)

Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer are forces of nature. It’s their personal appeal that propels “Thunder Force,” a silly superhero spoof written and directed by McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone. McCarthy and Spencer play two friends who become a dynamic duo when Spencer develops a method to imbue them with superpowers. In many ways, the force with “Thunder Force” is very weak, but its stars find a way to inject the comic into this dotty comic book movie.

“Concrete Cowboy” is a coming-of-age movie with a unique twist. Caleb McLaughlin stars in the story of a delinquent kid whose long-suffering mother sends him to live with his estranged father, played by Idris Elba. He discovers that his dad is a part of a subculture of skilled Black horsemen who live in inner-city Philadelphia. Many of the supporting cast members play slightly fictionalized versions of themselves. While uneven, “Concrete Cowboy” is an engaging tale that benefits greatly from its singular cast and setting.

The sci-fi tale “Voyagers” is like a version of “Lord of the Flies” set in outer space. Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp and Colin Farrell star in the story of an 80-year mission to colonize an Earth-like planet. Divisions begin to emerge in the young crew and their small civilization disintegrates as some members try to exert their dominance. While the premise is intriguing, the characters are dull and the movie itself starts to feel like an 80-year voyage.

The annual Panic Film Festival returns virtually and in person at the Screenland Armour April 8th through the 18th.  The fest features over 60 new sci-fi, horror and film thrillers from around the world for two weekends! Plus, special events, meet-ups, live trivia and much more. More info is available at panicfilmfest.com.

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.

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