Argentine/French filmmaker Gaspar Noé has a full and impressive command of the medium. But he has the darkest, ugliest world view of any working filmmaker. His latest descent into cinematic hell is “Climax.” A group of dancers enjoy a party until someone spikes the punch with acid and the affair degenerates into a hallucinatory orgy of violence. Although the dancing is excellent, Noé somehow renders these horrifying events boring.
“Ruben Brandt: Collector” is a visually impressive animated thriller for adults from Hungary. A psychiatrist and a group of his patients pull off a series of art heists in an attempt to put a halt to the doctor’s nightmares. Art students may enjoy the inside jokes in this wacky heist movie, but the whole thing is a bit too convoluted for its own good.
“Finding Steve McQueen” is a very laid-back 1970s crime tale, inspired by a true story. Travis Fimmel plays a McQueen fan who attempts to pull off a $30 million bank job from Richard Nixon’s secret campaign fund. The best thing about this modest little opus is the infectious soundtrack filled with 70s pop tunes.
“Birds of Passage” is yet another true story, this time set in Columbia in the 70s. Breaking their tradition of honor, a tribe of indigenous people get into the illegal drug trade and, as you might guess, things go badly. While it’s long and slowly paced, it’s an effectively artistic representation of the corrosive effect of greed.
Also opening this week, “Wonder Park” is an animated adventure about a magical amusement park. “Captive State” is a sci-fi thriller about an alien invasion.“Five Feet Apart” is a drama about two teen cystic fibrosis patients who fall in love. “Woman at War” is a comic drama from Iceland about an environmental activist who attempts to adopt a Ukrainian child.