Remember those wild Monster Trucks ads, “You Pay for the Whole Seat but You’ll Only Need the Edge!”? They were selling you on the excitement of watching giant trucks careening around an arena, but the sales pitch could just as easily be used for the new thrillers coming to theatres this month.
Don’t let the word ‘hotel’ in the title of Dev Patel‘s new film trick you into thinking it’s another entry in his light-hearted Best Exotic Marigold Hotel series. Hotel Mumbai is a harrowing retelling of the terrorist attacks on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in November 2008. Despite some boiler-plate flourishes—cell phones that run out of juice at the worst possible time, etc—director Anthony Maras crafts an edge-of-your-seat thriller that puts you in the middle of the action. With so many characters it can be hard to stay invested in them all but the horror of the situation becomes more visceral with every loud gunshot on the soundtrack.
Get Out director Jordan Peele follows up the success of his “social thriller” with a new film he calls a full-on horror flick. The action begins when an idyllic family vacation at a beach house takes a trip to the Twilight Zone after monsters called The Tethered, who look exactly like the family, invade the holiday home. To help his cast, including Lupita Nyong’o, Elisabeth Moss and Winston Duke, understand the tone he was looking for the Oscar winning Peele gave them homework in the form of classic movies like The Shining about families confronted by a supernatural force to study. “I’m a filmmaker and film-lover that loves iconic imagery,” he says.
Set in postwar Hamburg in 1946, The Aftermath sees a British colonel and his wife, played by Jason Clarke and Keira Knightley – playing a married couple for a second time after 2015’s Everest – share their home with its former owners, a handsome German widower (Alexander Skarsgård) and his daughter. As the romantic entanglements advance, so does the tension in the house. Based on the 2013 book of the same name by Rhidian Brook, most of the story is fiction but the idea of a British soldier sharing his requisitioned house with its former occupants was borrowed from the experience of the author’s grandfather Walter Brook.
Something to take the grandkids to see: the final instalment of the How to Train Your Dragon franchise sees Viking hero Hiccup search for a protective haven for his dragon friends. The Hidden World is a movie that pushes the boundaries of the series while still maintaining the soul that earned the fans in the first place.
In Fighting With My Family a member of a British wrestling family has a chance to make it big in the WWE. It’s a universal story about outcasts who create community through sport and heart
At three hours, Never Look Away’s story of an artist who draws on his life during WWII to create his art in post war Germany qualifies as an epic but it still feels intimate.
A college student gets trapped in a time loop and must die over and over to get free in Happy Death Day 2U. Convoluted and not nearly as laugh-out-loud funny as 2017’s Happy Death Day, it’s an unnecessary follow-up that will only work if you’ve seen the first movie.
In Isn’t It Romantic Rebel Wilson plays a woman finds herself trapped inside her least favourite kind of film, a rom com. Both ingenious and predictable, it’s meant to be a comedy about romance but falls prey to the usual pitfalls of the genre.
A pure pop art blast as though designed by kids The Lego Movie: The Second Part is a mix of non-sequiturs, silly jokes and music that doesn’t charm as much as the original.
Richard Crouse is a veteran Canadian movie reviewer and entertainment writer.