Earnest performances and good intentions don’t always lead to good movies. “Man Down” is a case in point. Shia LaBeouf gives a solid turn as a U.S. Marine who, upon his return home from serving in Afghanistan, discovers that his wife and child have fallen into the hands of some chaotic force. Is this a mystery, a sci-fi story or an apocalyptic drama? The answer isn’t clear until the movie’s final moments. Sadly, this well-meaning film never gets a grip on its subject and comes off as forced and pretentious instead of heartfelt and impassioned.
If there is a bird lover in your family, you may want to consider taking them to see “The Eagle Huntress.” This beautifully photographed documentary tells the story of a 13-year-old girl who lives in the mountainous region of Kazakhstan. Her dream is to follow in her father’s footsteps, capturing and training a wild eagle for hunting. She meets steep resistance from the other hunters in their very patriarchal society. The film unfolds at a very leisurely pace, so it’s not for young children. But for those with an interest in all things aviary or in search of a film about female empowerment, “The Eagle Huntress” delivers.
Also opening this week, Sonia Braga stars in “Aquarius,” the story of a sixtysomething woman, the last tenant of an apartment complex, who wages war with the developer who wants her out. “The Love Witch” is an unrated horror drama that pays homage to genre films of the 60s. “Keep Watching” is a horror thriller about a home invasion televised around the country. “Believe” is a faith-based drama about a financially strapped small town struggling to fund their Christmas pageant. Screenland Theaters are featuring the annual Arts and Crafts Festival, showcasing a number of films and brews. Information is available at screenland.com.