Friday, April 12, 2024

Bob's Cinema Diary: April 12, 2024 -- 'Arcadian' and 'Damaged'


Nicolas Cage
 headlines  Arcadian but the character he plays spends much of the movie off-screen and unconscious. Cage plays Paul, a father who flees an unspecified apocalypse with his two infant sons. The movie quickly leaps ahead to show how Paul and his now teenage sons (Jaeden Martell and Maxwell Jenkins) survive an onslaught of buggy monsters who seem to attack mostly at night. After an injury leaves Paul in a near comatose state, the kids take over. Sandwiched  between post-apocalyptic survivalist drama and straightforward horror, Arcadian benefits from the naturalistic performances of its young cast. Paul's sons are joined by Charlotte (Sadie Soverall), a girl from another outpost. She and Jenkins' Tommy try to be typical teenagers even as a hellish catastrophe unfolds. Director Ben Brewer skimps on explanations and shortchanges the initial potential of what might have been a more developed story about a stern but loving father trying to save his sons. In short, a movie whose narrative insufficiencies limit its chances for success.


Director Terry McDonough tries his hand at a hardboiled serial killer movie that transports a Chicago detective (Samuel L. Jackson) to Scotland. Jackson's Dan Lawson, an alcoholic cop who still has some detective chops, has a reputation for investigating serial killings and for overstaying his welcome on the force. Acting as a consultant, Lawson teams with Scottish policeman Glen Boyd (Gianni Capaldi) in the hunt for a killer who dismembers his female victims as part of what appear to be perverted religious beliefs. The movie receives a substantial boost when Vincent Cassel shows up. Cassel plays Lawson's former Chicago partner, a French-born detective who left police work, moved to England, and still retains a bit of charm. An international flavor doesn't enhance a grisly tale, and the actors are limited by a screenplay that places them in too many improbable scenarios to keep the movie from misfiring.

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