Reel Reviews: ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and ‘Red Sparrow’

By on March 14, 2018

Not all is as it seems

There are a lot of people who really wanted Disney’s adaptation of the beloved Madeleine L’Engle novel “A Wrinkle in Time” to be a great movie. There are going to be a lot of disappointed people. If you weren’t one of the millions who flocked to this film’s release over opening weekend, consider yourself lucky and save your money.

“A Wrinkle in Time” is the story of a little girl named Meg (Storm Reid) who reluctantly journeys through space and time to find her lost father (Chris Pine) with her brother, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) and sudden love interest/cohort, Calvin (Levi Miller) — all of whom were obviously cast for their cuteness. Along the way she meets up with extradimensional sentient beings and battles the root of all evil, It.

I immediately knew something was off months ago when I first saw the cast list for “A Wrinkle in Time.” I had no idea how “off” it was going to be. Every actor in this movie should fire their agent now — no, yesterday. Sometimes brilliance can take on a magical, hard to fathom form, but putting the Hollywood elite Oprah, comedian Mindy Kaling, sometimes adorable Reese Witherspoon, and adult-comedy funny man Zach Galifianakis in the same movie, in roles that play out on the serious side, is so far from brilliant a proper antonym has not been invented by the English language.

Their acting is so lifeless it is hard to imagine they were even in the studio at the same time, let alone in the same movie. Where was director Ava DuVernay during production? Oh, right, probably trying to find more ways to squeeze in unnecessary political and social statements, which play like noxious medicated syrup to a healthy tongue, into her hip-hop, pop-culture tinged parable.

One defense could be “A Wrinkle in Time” is a children’s story in a kid’s movie, but the delivery of the rudimentary dialogue is so forced it is at times unbearable to watch. I was constantly pushed out of the movie, wincing, turning my head to not have to watch what was on the screen. Even what was hyped to be graphically beautiful turned out to be a dull mishmash of CGI colors and shapes.

Lifeless and listless. Pathetic and poorly prescribed. Eye-rollingly boring. These are my descriptors for “A Wrinkle in Time.” Move over Pluto Nash, there’s a new leader at the top of the distractingly horrific flop list.

Jennifer Lawrence plays Dominika Egorova, a Russian ballerina turned spy in “Red Sparrow.” Reviewer Michael Upton called the film “a good spy caper.”

Also in theaters: ‘Red Sparrow’

Jennifer Lawrence is back. Fresh off tricking everyone to go see “Mother!” the now sultry Mockingjay is back as another bird of prey, the “Red Sparrow.” Lawrence is Dominika Egorova, a Russian ballerina whose career is cut short when a rival ballerina contracts the breaking of Dominika’s leg. With her life in a tailspin she follows the advice of her devious uncle (Matthias Schoenaerts) and joins Russian intelligence where she learns to use her body, and intelligence, as a weapon — but, mostly her body. Her U.S. counterpart is played by Joel Edgerton (“The Gift”).

Directed with stunning visual elements by Francis Lawrence (“Water for Elephants,” “I Am Legend”), the “Red Sparrow” storyline is sometimes disconnected and felt a bit forced, but overall it is a good spy caper. Heavy on sex and seduction, fetish and forbidden love, “Red Sparrow” may not be everyone’s cup of tea. For those expecting a more James Bond feel, be prepared for some graphic images. This is what the Lawrence does to fill the time between X-Men movies.

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

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