By AD Beal

In the Shadow of The Moon
A police detective tries to figure out a series of similar murders that occur every nine years.

Combining sci-fi with more grounded genres like crime can lead to mixed results, but In the Shadow of the Moon is done in a way that is both creative and satisfying. Director Jim Mickle gives a unique look and feel to each decade the film is set. Boyd Holbrook gives one of his best performances as the lead, balancing obsession, sadness and determination in a great way. Michael C. Hall is also enjoyable as his brother-in-law who starts as the “jerk sibling” but slowly becomes more empathetic over time. A little more development behind the killer in question would have been ideal, however the film is still a satisfying piece of pulp with a new take on the genre.

*NOTE: This film is only available on Netflix.

Gemini Man
A retiring assassin is on the run from an organization using a younger clone of himself to try to kill him.

Ang Lee gives us an exciting look as to what the future of cinema will be. While I can’t speak for the high frame rate 3D (the viewing was in 2D), the de-aging work is well done. Aside from one scene, the young Will Smith looks lifelike and highlights the real potential this technology has. The action is also a lot of fun. DP Dion Beebe, working with Lee, captures the intensity and high speed of each scene, including some great one takes. The script, however, is another story. It felt jumbled, thin and has clearly been rewritten multiple times by different screenwriters since the 90s. A good example of an interesting idea that is executed poorly.

In the Tall Grass
A brother and sister get lost in a field of grass searching for a young boy, only to discover the field is more than what it seems.

In the Tall Grass is a prime example of why some stories should stay in written form. You can only have people walk into grass, wander around and scream for each other for so long before one becomes bored. If the characters have nothing beyond basic traits (concerned brother, mother-to-be, creepy kid, etc.), you have a bigger issue at hand. Great photography, including some interesting incorporations of CGI, can only get you so far. The film doesn’t even have much of the viciousness of the original novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill. Of the numerous King works that have yet to be adapted, this is one that was unneeded.

*NOTE: This film is only available on Netflix.