The May 1st weekend sees two wide theatrical releases. The biggest is the live-action film based on the anime “Knights of the Zodiac”, which arrives in 800 theaters. The other is the horror comedy “Reinfeld – Giving Blood for the Boss”. The schedule also highlights two horror sequels. But the detail is that none of these films have good approval from international critics. The exception is a Filipino drama on the limited circuit.
Check below the trailers of all premieres this Thursday (4/27).
| RENFIELD – GIVING BLOOD FOR THE BOSS |
The horror comedy features Nicholas Hoult (“The Menu”) in the title role, a guy trapped in an abusive working relationship with his boss, who is none other than Count Dracula – lived by Nicolas Cage (“The Weight of Talent” ). Renfield is forced to find victims for his master and do whatever he asks of him, whatever the degree of degradation of the order received. But after centuries of servitude, he begins to question whether there is life beyond the shadow of the Prince of Darkness, seeking the strength to face his addiction.
Though he never got his own film before then, Renfield made a name for himself in cinema thanks to Dwight Frye’s performance in the first “Dracula” film, spawning some of the best scenes in the 1931 Universal release, such as a bug swallower locked up in a madhouse. In this new film, the character is a kind of superhero who gains super strength by eating insects and proves to be an excellent martial arts fighter.
The cast also includes Awkwafina (“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”), Ben Schwartz (“Sonic: The Movie”) and Adrian Martinez (“Double Strike”). But critics were not amused by the story, conceived by Robert Kirkman (the creator of “The Walking Dead” comics), written by Ryan Ridley (writer of “Rick and Morty”) and directed by Chris McKay (“Lego Batman: The Film”). Considered mediocre, the comedy received only 57% approval on Rotten Tomatoes.
| THE KNIGHTS OF THE ZODIAC – SAINT SEIYA: THE BEGINNING |
Based on the popular manga by Masami Kurumada and on the anime that was a big hit in Brazil in the 1990s, the plot follows young people recruited to become Athena’s knights and defenders of humanity, with emphasis on Seiya, who receives the Pegasus Armor and , alongside his friends, fight to protect Saori Kido, the reincarnation of the goddess, from his enemies. But this live-action version is a mid-budget production, with questionable visual effects and a debutant director, the Polish Tomasz Baginski (producer of “The Witcher”).
To complete, a western cast adds to the questionable options, highlighting Famke Janssen (Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix in the first trilogy of “X-Men”), Sean Bean (“Game of Thrones” and “Express of Tomorrow”), Madison Iseman (“Jumanji: The Next Level”), Mark Dacascos (“John Wick 3”), Nick Stahl (“Terminator 3”) and Mackenyu Arata (“Pacific Rim: Uprising”), who lives the protagonist Seiya. But there is a positive detail: the fights choreographed by veteran Andy Cheng, who worked as stunt coordinator on “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”.
| NINTENDO AND ME |
The film by Filipino Raya Martin (“Independence”) is inspired by the American classic “Stand By Me” (1989), and follows four Filipino teenage friends in the summer of the 1990s, as they have fun and grow up. Their main challenges are beating their game scores and facing life’s obstacles, such as first love, peer pressure and balancing family tradition with their own identity. He won the Crystal Bear at the Generation Kplus show at the Berlin Festival.
| THE CALLED 4 – SAMARA RESURSES |
The title is extremely misleading, because this terror is not a sequel to “The Call 3” (2017) nor does it feature Samara, the little monster of the plot. It is, in fact, the seventh film in the original Japanese franchise – which inspired the American remake and sequels -, known for the sinister presence of Sadako, the most famous ghost woman in Asian cinema. Directed by Hisashi Kimura (“The Masked Hospital”), the new film shows that the cursed video continues to circulate, but Sadako’s curse has been accelerated and now the victims die 24 after watching it. A student tries to find a way to prevent his sister from being her own victim – but without consulting the public, who already know the secret from the first feature, released in 1998.
| LEFT BEHIND – THE BEGINNING OF THE END |
The sixth film in the evangelical horror saga – and second since the 2010 reboot – rescues the trashy essence of the franchise, after the only higher-budget production, starring Nicolas Cage, was destroyed by critics and failed at the box office. The direction is from Kevin Sorbo (the television Hercules), who also stars in the feature in the same role played by Cage in the reboot. In short, the film series takes place after the miracle of the rapture, when much of Earth’s population mysteriously disappears, leaving those left behind perplexed and having to deal with a new world, under the influence of profiteers who act on behalf of of the antichrist. It is at this time that a new leader emerges, promising hope, but also biblical prophecy of the apocalypse.
| MOTHER |
The Brazilian drama accompanies three mothers from the same family, completely different women, but trapped in interconnected events and tragedies. The film begins with Sonia returning home after serving a sentence in prison, where she meets her daughter again, meets her granddaughter and suffers attacks from her own mother. Adriana Vasconcelos’ first feature, starring Ana Cecília Costa (“Route 66: The Police That Kill”), Sura Berditchevsky (“The First Temptation of Christ”) and newcomer Raíssa Vasconcelos
| JAIR RODRIGUES – LET THEM SAY |
The biographical documentary tells the story of Jair Rodrigues, one of the best known and most influential Brazilian singers. With unrivaled versatility, he sang samba, MPB, pioneered rap and made history by revolutionizing the stage since the 1960s with anarchic and irreverent performances. The direction is by Rubens Rewald, who commanded Jairzão in the fiction of “Super Nada”, in 2012.
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