A recommendation every day

The Pick Daily is available on Instagram and Facebook — follow us on either or both! We provide a recommendation and brief review every day for movies, TV, music, and more. Recently, one installment covered five new female-led movies available on streaming. Here’s that roundup…. don’t forget to follow us for more! // A roundup of five new movies is the Pick Daily for 5/15/21: OXYGEN, STOWAWAY, THINGS HEARD AND SEEN, THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD, and THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW. The pandemic gives us the chance to see so many new films at home; note that all but one of these films (THINGS HEARD) was developed and produced with the intention of theatrical release. Four of the five have premiered on Netflix, with THOSE WHO WISH getting a theatrical release simultaneous with its premiere on HBO Max. All five have female leads. And in my view, the results vary. Here we go, from “least good” to “least bad”… THINGS HEARD AND SEEN is the one I’d advise to avoid the most. Amanda Seyfried is certainly ready to carry a film, but this one ain’t really worthy of any of its talented cast or directors. A fairly dull and unscary ghost story, with an ambiguous and disappointing ending. THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW should be good. The modern homage to the Hitchcock classic REAR WINDOW stars Amy Adams, rising above the material as an agoraphobe who believes she has witnessed a murder. Despite Adams’ usual talent (good fun to see her perform next to the also great Julianne Moore), the all-star cast, and some slick stylistic choices early on, this one falls apart under a plodding plot and predictable ending. STOWAWAY reminds us of several recent space exploration films, and works decently as a tense moral dilemma. The cast is top notch, led by Anna Kendrick, who displays her usual goofy charm alongside dramatic chops. Also on board are Toni Collette, who couldn’t deliver a bad performance if she tried, the under-used Daniel Day Kim, and the effective Shamier Anderson in the titular role. This one works as a Netflix offering, whereas a $50 night at the movies would have been a disappointment. OXYGEN was conceived as an Anne Hathaway movie but went through a development turnstile and now is a French-language thriller starring Mélanie Laurent, whom American audiences mostly know for her great role in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS. She is excellent in a film that is almost all closeups of her lying down in a cryogenic chamber, unsure of why and even who she is. It’s a clever story and again, probably works better as streaming choice than a theater outing. And finally, Angelina Jolie returns in her first action role since 2010’s SALT. Although, THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD feels almost like an ensemble piece, focusing equally on several characters in addition to Jolie’s smokejumper: the boy (Finn Little) who witnesses his father’s murder, the baddies chasing him (Aidan Gillen and Nicholas Hoult), and the sheriff looking for them all (Jon Bernthal). The cast is all on point and the film works as a throwback to the DIE-HARD-inspired rush of films in the 90’s. Placing the action on the edge of a horrific forest fire works better than one might expect. Jolie seems a bit under utilized, but it is good to see her back in a suspenseful lead role. -Jeff. “Those Who Wish Me Dead” is on HBO Max for 31 days, and in theaters; the other four are on Netflix. Follow us on Instagram here, and Facebook here.


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