Looking for something to check out this weekend? There are plenty of new movies out now and below I look at a couple recent releases that could be the perfect option for your weekend viewing. Let’s dive in.
The Beekeeper (Theaters)
What’s It About: This new action film opened January 12 and is now playing in theaters. It stars Jason Statham as a super-powerful government assassin who is trying to enjoy a quiet retirement. His previous position was dubbed a beekeeper and, ironically, now in retirement he spends his days tending a bee hive and making honey. He’s living in the country in Massachusetts and keeping a low profile.
When a kindly woman (Phylicia Rashad) is scammed and loses her savings, she takes it hard. In the wake of that tragedy, Adam Clay (Statham) is moved to right the wrongs. He sees a group that is preying on the weak and decides to step out of his quiet retirement and resume his former role, of correcting the world order.
That sets him at odds with a young player (Josh Hutcherson), whose company is responsible for the theft and many others like it, and his head of security (Jeremy Irons), a former CIA Director who quickly realizes they are in big trouble.
How Is It: By this point in his career, we know what to expect from this kind of action film starring Statham. He’s quite good in these roles and this film knows exactly what it is and doesn’t waste much time getting down to the action. Let’s just say John Wick has nothing on Adam Clay when it comes to dropping bodies to met out some form of justice.
Director David Ayer has made some gritty action films in the past. They haven’t always worked for me, but I liked the simplicity of this formula. I also really enjoyed Statham in the role. He’s very good in these kind of action films. It’s probably not for the faint of heart, or those that eschew violence in film. But if you’re looking for a solid action film to kick-start your 2024, this one fits the bill.
What’s It About: In this new film, Daniel Kaluuya and Kibwe Tavares team for their feature film directing debut. Kaluuya also co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Murtagh. The film debuted at the London Film Festival in late 2023 and now gets a wider release on Netflix. It’s a futuristic film, set in a dystopic London.
In this future, public housing has been eliminated and the divide between those who have and those who have nothing has grown immensely. The Kitchen is a lone remaining neighborhood in a poor area that still stands, and the residents of the building are unwilling to be driven from their homes. In the midst of this, we meet Izi (Kane Robinson), a resident who is on the cusp of getting out, and Benji (Jedaiah Bannerman), who just lost his mother and is struggling with grief and making it on his own.
Can these two souls connect and help each other make their way in a new, hostile world?
How Is It: I was excited because of Kaluuya, who I’ve enjoyed as a performer in a number of projects. This was a passion project for him, and it is an interesting story and set up. But I wasn’t sure how the film would play out.
For a story like this, you need to invest in the characters. I liked some of the look and feel of the world, and the big ideas it wants to tackle. There are some nice moments for Robinson and Bannerman, too. But I wasn’t as taken with the characters and the crux of the story. There isn’t enough depth to lead to the emotional sequences the film wants to execute.
It’s a fine film and a fine idea but it lacks depth and ultimate ends up a bit underwhelming.