Deadlines are dangerous things, especially if you harbor a stupid insistence on meeting them. For instance, you might be a movie columnist in Orlando, Florida, who decides to tell the world how fed up you are with seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda's name all over the place. You might put that thoroughly legitimate observation into your weekly copy, then hand in said copy right on time before settling in for a well-deserved late-afternoon nap.
Then, a mere handful of hours later, you might watch in horror as a thoroughly unexpected dust-up erupts between the cast of Hamilton and the incoming Trump administration – putting you squarely on the wrong side of the latest battle in the culture wars. Lucky you! You get to spend the next four days waiting for your entire readership to tar and feather you for throwing in your lot with Mike Pence. But hey – you made that deadline, right?
Thank God Halle Berry's Kidnap got pulled from this week's release slate. Because I really don't want to be back here next week trying to find something good to say about her after she takes on Betsy DeVos over school choice. Halle, over to you.
OPENING THIS WEEK
Incarnate Nobody says the word "incarnate" like Eric Bloom introducing "Godzilla" on Blue Öyster Cult's Extraterrestrial Live. So the only thing that might save this horror cheapie is if your RPX ticket included the option of in-ear narration from Bloom throughout. ("Those nachos at the concession stand are Burnin' for You!") Otherwise, what we've got here is a very unpromising possession story in which Aaron Eckhart – hey, remember when he was somebody? – plays a psychically gifted exorcist who crawls into the mind of a young boy, only to find out that the evil spirit who is bedeviling the kid is a familiar adversary indeed. (Pazuzu, is that you-zu?) The Hollywood Reporter referred to the film as a "microbudget" project, which is fun to say because it's so close to "micropenis." Of course, that was three years ago, when Incarnate was announced as the first installment in a hoped-for franchise; since then, the movie has been sitting on a shelf, awaiting release in the U.S.A. – although it did get a theatrical run a year ago in Belgium. You remember Belgium: Matt Dillon's Citizen Dick were huge there. Even bigger than BÖC! (PG-13)
Kill Command Here's one that arrived like a thief in the night: a British-made sci-fi thriller about a bunch of U.S. Marines whose training mission on a remote island unexpectedly makes them the prey of a bunch of government-sanctioned killer robots. U.K. reviewers praised first-time director Steven Gomez's use of a tiny budget (and not, it should be noted, a micropenis) to effect a convincing and compelling homage to the early days of James Cameron. The Guardian was even moved to employ the distinctly Yank-like plaudits "cool" and "a blast." So of course the movie got dumped stateside in a very limited release with almost nonexistent promotion, at the same time the industry was pushing the latest failures by Warren Beatty and Billy Bob Thornton. Because America hadn't done enough this month to show the rest of the world that we can't have nice things. (NR)