film

Now showing in Taos: ‘The Rhythm Section’

Action film follows a woman’s quest for justice from some very bad people

By Rick Romancito
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 1/31/20

The all-too-familiar formula that is easy to glean from most films that set out as an action spy thriller with a tinge of seriousness — think Daniel Craig’s 007, “Mission Impossible” or “Jason Bourne” — isn’t so much apparent in this movie from director Reed Morano, working from a screenplay by Mark Burnell based on his own novel. 

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film

Now showing in Taos: ‘The Rhythm Section’

Action film follows a woman’s quest for justice from some very bad people

Posted

The all-too-familiar formula that is easy to glean from most films that set out as an action spy thriller with a tinge of seriousness — think Daniel Craig’s 007, “Mission Impossible” or “Jason Bourne” — isn’t so much apparent in this movie from director Reed Morano, working from a screenplay by Mark Burnell based on his own novel. 

What Marano brings to the table from having helmed the first three episodes of the acclaimed "The Handmaid's Tale,” for which she won an Emmy, is a sense of the pain the protagonist manages from the first frame to the last. 

Blake Lively plays a woman named Stephanie Patrick, who when we first meet her is emotionally broken. A prostitute addicted to crack and living in squalid conditions, Marano pulls out all the stops in making Lively almost unrecognizable. There is a reason for this, which we understand from flashbacks that show her among a wonderful, loving family. But, as fate would so cruelly deliver, Stephanie’s family would all die in a horrible plane crash over the ocean. 

One day, a man she mistakes for a john shows up and instead of sex says he just wants to talk to her. This is Proctor (Raza Jeffrey), a freelance journalist who claims to know what really happened to the flight that killed Stephanie’s family. 

This revelation has enormous implications, especially after Stephanie becomes drawn into an international web of spies and terrorists. Not surprisingly, she wants revenge and goes after the perpetrators no matter which country she may find them. Using the skills she honed as a lowlife, she uses a variety of disguises to find and eliminate her targets.

But, all of this isn’t without a cost. Stephanie isn’t just an operative out for retribution a la Bourne — partly as a result of a connection with an unnamed CIA-MI6 agent played by Jude Law — she in some ways is trying to find her way home. But, will she? Or does all this mean she’s developed some nifty hand-to-hand combat skills, a way with small arms, and mean driver talents all for naught as she settles into a suburban life? 

Not hardly, if you know that Burnell based this character on one he’s written about over a series of four books. I, for one, would like to see Stephanie’s character develop over a few sequels in much the same way Lisbeth Salander did in the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series. Lively proves once again she was a solid choice for the lead in this film, showing she has a solid grasp of a complex character.

Oh, and about that title: There is no musical connection. It comes from a line of dialogue about how the heart and lungs are the body’s rhythm section. See the movie and you’ll get it.

This film co-stars Sterling K. Brown, Daniel Mayes, Max Casella and Amira Ghazalla.

“The Rhythm Section” is rated R for violence, sexual content, language throughout, and some drug use.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For tickets, showtimes and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Tempo grade: B +

Also showing in Taos:

The Gentlemen

MPAA rating: R for violence, language throughout, sexual references and drug content.

Storyteller 7 Theatres

This film from quirky director Guy Ritchie follows American expat Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) who built a highly profitable marijuana empire in London. When word gets out that he's looking to cash out of the business forever it triggers plots, schemes, bribery and blackmail in an attempt to steal his domain out from under him.

Co-stars include Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, and Michelle Dockery.

Screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For tickets, showtimes and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Gretel & Hansel

MPAA rating: PG-13 for disturbing images/thematic content, and brief drug material.

Storyteller 7 Theatres

Osgood “Oz” Perkins (“Psycho” star Anthony’s son) took a look at the often filmed Grimm’s fairytale and fashioned it into a creepy gothic horror movie for the second decade of the new millennium. 

The film is shaped around the 1812 German story filched by the Brothers Grimm about a mentally unstable stepmother who forces her cowed woodcutter husband to get rid of their two children because they are too poor to feed them. Left abandoned in a forest, the children discover a house made from sweet treats which they begin to devour. Of course, the house is that of a cannibalistic witch who uses the house as a lure to capture victims.

Perkins' film takes the story and elaborates upon the basic themes and turns in a frightening tale shot by the great Gala Olivares (“Roma”) with great style and plenty of things to make you squirm.

Stars Sophia Lillis (“It”) as Gretel and Samuel Leakey as Hansel, along with Alice Krige as the witch Holda. 

Screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For tickets, showtimes and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Honeyland

MPAA rating: Not rated, documentary

Taos Community Auditorium

Nestled in an isolated mountain region deep within the Balkans, Hatidze Muratova lives with her ailing mother in a village without roads, electricity or running water. She's the last in a long line of Macedonian wild beekeepers, eking out a living farming honey in small batches to be sold in the closest city — a mere four hours' walk away. 

Hatidze's peaceful existence is thrown into upheaval by the arrival of an itinerant family, with their roaring engines, seven rambunctious children and herd of cattle. Hatidze optimistically meets the promise of change with an open heart, offering up her affections, her brandy and her tried-and-true beekeeping advice. It doesn't take long however, before Hussein, the itinerant family's patriarch, senses opportunity and develops an interest in selling his own honey. 

Hussein has seven young mouths to feed and nowhere to graze his cattle, and he soon casts Hatidze's advice aside in his hunt for profit. This causes a breach in the natural order that provokes a conflict with Hatidze that exposes the fundamental tension between nature and humanity, harmony and discord, exploitation and sustainability. Even as the family provides a much-needed respite from Hatidze's isolation and loneliness, her very means of survival are threatened. 

This film will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 2), and 7 p.m. (Feb. 3-5) at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

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