By Tony Beal


Enzo Ferrari’s personal and business struggles collide as he sets his company to compete in the 1957 Mille Miglia.

Michael Mann returns with a film that echoes his previous work, yet it reframes his signature style through a sporting lens rather than the action films for which he is known (Collateral” and “Heat”). The tension and fear surrounding Ferrari and his company are subtly conveyed, yet they erupt boisterously in parts, from early arguments to the climactic final race. Its destructive nature feels inevitable, and you find yourself anxious about being caught in the crossfire. The racing scenes, in particular, are harrowing, matching the intensity of any gunfight in his other films. Adam Driver’s performance is remarkable, especially in an early scene where he speaks to his late son. However, it is Penelope Cruz who astonishes with her portrayal of quiet heartbreak, delivered with minimal words. Mann’s skill as a filmmaker remains undiminished during his hiatus.

“The Zone of Interest”
The Höss family works towards their ideal life in the presence of Auschwitz.

Jonathan Glazer’s new movie presents a unique form of horror: watching a family lead a seemingly normal life overshadowed by an unspeakable evil. The commandant and his wife treat their situation as just another mundane job relocation, and from their detached perspective, it indeed appears so. The film masterfully restrains itself from showing the atrocities of the camp directly; we only hear fleeting moments of horror or catch glimpses of trains bringing more prisoners, all playing out in the background, accentuating the chilling indifference. Interestingly, the film’s muted colors paradoxically highlight the beauty that the family seeks, yet this beauty is irrevocably tainted by the sinister reality that envelops them, regardless of their apparent apathy. Sandra Hüller’s portrayal of Hedwig, the wife, is particularly remarkable. She embodies a detestable character, amplifying the already grim situation with her actions. By the film’s end, you find yourself desperately wanting it to conclude, yet you remain captivated, unable to look away.

“The Beekeeper”
A man, who worked for a covert government organization, goes on a revenge mission following the death of someone close to him.

“The Beekeeper” delivers exactly what you would expect from such a movie, and this isn’t necessarily a negative point. The action is genuinely enjoyable, with the stunt team executing some impressive work in the fight scenes. The film commendably embraces a level of silliness in its plot and cheesiness, reminiscent of old-school action movies like “Commando.” As for character development, it varies, with characters ranging from amusing to irritating. The film has a specific purpose, and it fulfills this role effectively. However, how much you appreciate it will largely depend on your personal taste.

In Thailand, an ex-gang member finds himself forced to return to that world after a family member is kidnapped.

It’s easy to label something as “brutal” these days, but Xavier Gens’ latest action film, “Mayhem,” truly deserves the description. Over its 100-minute runtime, the film makes us almost tangibly feel the hurt and pain in its fight scenes. Every gunshot and bone break causes you to squirm, sparing no one from the visceral impact. Beyond the relentless action, the film incorporates a compelling noir element. It’s not just an endless sequence of action scenes; it’s the desperation felt by our lead character that adds depth. This sense of unrelenting panic never fades, enhancing the film’s pacing. Once again, overseas action cinema continues to impress.

February 2
“The Promised Land” (Limited)
“How To Have Sex” (Limited)
“Orion and the Dark” (Netflix)
“The Tiger’s Apprentice” (Paramount+)

February 9
“Lisa Frankenstein”
“The Taste of Things” (Limited)
“Suncoast” (Hulu)

February 14
“Bob Marley: One Love”
“Madame Web”

February 23
“Drive-Away Dolls”
“Ordinary Angels”
“Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – To the Hashira Training”
“Stopmotion” (Limited)
“They Shot the Piano Player” (Limited)