On Demand Movies: What to Watch This Weekend
These movies, now available On Demand, might make your weekend watch list:
William Shakespeare set his rambling, multi-strand history/legend/romance/tragedy in an ancient Britain under Roman rule. In this cool and inventive adaptation of the Bard’s late-period play, filmmaker Michael Almereyda modernizes the action, turning the King Cymbeline of the title into the king of a biker gang and letting Ed Harris loose to roar in the role. As Cymbeline’s daughter and only heir, Imogen, Dakota Johnson trades her Fifty Shades of Grey sexuality for a fetching purity in her fidelity to her young husband, Posthumus (Penn Badgley). Woe, oh woe, their secret marriage upsets the king, not least because hubby is poor, with no prospects, and thus the fellow is banished; the union also messes with the agenda of Cymbeline’s Queen (Milla Jovovich), who had planned to marry off Imogen to a son by her first marriage (Anton Yelchin). There’s more plot, anon.
Cymbeline reunites Ethan Hawke with Almereyda some 15 years after they collaborated on an updated Hamlet. And as his Oscar-nominated work in Boyhood proved, middle-aged, been-around-the-block maturity becomes Hawke, here in his role as Iachimo, an up-to-no-goodnik who bets Posthumus that he can seduce Imogen and prove her infidelity.
The movie’s gorgeous, noirish look is the work of the superb cinematographer (and longtime David Gordon Green collaborator) Tim Orr. And the vibe of the whole production is so groovy that the experience almost–almost–compensates for the source material’s inherent ungainliness. With all due respect to the Bard, this is one royal welter of a play.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
85 mins., R, Available March 13
Growing Up and Other Lies
With one of their quartet about to move to Ohio to help out in his father’s business, four buddies, all pushing 30, walk the length of Manhattan on a farewell tour of…I’m not sure exactly, but I think it’s feckless stupidity, presented as a shambling comedy of arrested male development. Nice shots of NYC, though–and sharp, funny work by The Daily Show‘s Wyatt Cenac as the one in the bunch who knows enough to be mortified by the company he keeps.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
90 mins., not rated, March 20
In one corner of this satisfying action feature, inevitable romantic attraction develops between a debt-ridden bike messenger (Taylor Lautner) and an acrobatically mysterious beauty (Marie Avgeropoulos) who runs–and runs–with a fleet crew of street-tough heist pros. In another corner, a complicated, formulaic plot unspools involving gangs and gangsters. In between is the real movie: the kinetic beauty of parkour, captured in tremendously enjoyable high-speed sequences that, once again, draw energy from the photogenic beauty of everyday New York City landscapes.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
93 mins., PG-13, March 20