' ' Cinema Romantico: Cinema Romantico 2024 Movie Preview: THRILLERS ONLY

Monday, January 08, 2024

Cinema Romantico 2024 Movie Preview: THRILLERS ONLY

It was a gloomy December in Chicago, literally speaking, with the city logging, according to WGN, only 34% of its possible sunshine for the month. January hasn’t been much brighter to this point, adding to a general feeling of malaise that always accompanies the post-holiday blues. But as gloomy as it is, do you know what just happened? No, not the Golden Globes. (I’m apparently so on the outs with Bruce Springsteen that I honestly didn’t even realize he was nominated for one.) The new Renny Harlin movie dropped, that’s what. Hey, “Die Hard 2: Die Harder” is no “Die Hard,” that goes without saying, but lemme tell you something, jack, no 2023 thriller was “Die Hard 2: Die Harder.” True, I have yet to see Harlin’s conspiracy thriller “The Bricklayer” because the only theater showing it in the greater Chicagoland area is in the Chatham neighborhood which is a schlep for this blogger. But it’s streaming, too, just a click away, and if 2024 portends a lot of gloom and doom on the national front, if you’re pro-democracy and human compassion anyway, at least the thriller forecast looks a little rosier. Indeed, it’s time once again to preview the forthcoming movie year strictly through the lens of thrillers.

(Releases are, of course, ranked on the Runaway Jury Scale, measuring each new thriller’s potential for glorious middlingness, 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest.)

Cinema Romantico 2024 Movie Preview: THRILLERS ONLY

The Bricklayer. See above. We give it...4 Runaway Juries

The Beekeeper. If Jason Statham is followed around at all times by a cloud of bees a la Pigpen, we will bump this up from 4 Runaway Juries to the hallowed 5.

Fast Charlie. This Pierce Brosnan as a fixer thriller was from 2023, yes, and it was released, not pushed, though it never screened at any movie theater I saw, and I still haven’t streamed it. I’ll get to “Maestro,” okay, man, stop hassling me, but first things first, and “Fast Charlie” comes first. We gave it 3 Runaway Juries last year and we increase it to 3 1/2 Runaway Juries this year.  

Lift. Kevin Hart pulls an impossible heist. Movie from a box. We give it...1 Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni

I.S.S. The Cold War is back so it only makes sense that the Cold War thriller is back too with US and Soviet, er, Russian astronauts duking it out aboard the International Space Station. We give it...3 Runaway Juries, down from 4 because while no one loves middling thrillers more than this blog, a middling thriller really should not have needed to be Ariana DeBose’s Oscar follow-up. 

The Amateur. Oh hey, here’s a 1981 Cold War thriller about a CIA operative Taking Justice Into His Own Hands all rehabilitated for the Second Cold War with Rami Malek taking the reins from John Savage. We give it...3 Runaway Juries 

No, not this one.

Love Lies Bleeding. First, I was confused, because I thought this middling thriller was released in 2008. Then I was going to write off this new “Love Lies Bleeding” because of the poster, and then I was going to throw bouquets at its Revenge Gets Ripped tagline, and then I was going to write it off again because the A24 sheen suggests more prestige in the guise of pulp than just pulp, but there’s something about it, too, that suggests “Pain and Gain” retrofit as early John Dahl, and man, we need early John Dahl as much as we need Renny Harlin. We give it...The Kill Me Again Badge of Hope 

Knox Goes Away. I don’t know, Michael Keaton as a contract killer with dementia sounds suspiciously like that Liam Neeson movie “Memory” where his contract killer is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Then again, that movie was partially redeemed by Monica Bellucci, and maybe her majesty Marcia Gay Harden can redeem this one. We give it a very tentative...2 1/2 Runaway Juries

In the Land of Saints and Sinners. Speaking of Liam Neeson, he’s back as an ex-assassin battling the IRA which sounds just about right, almost too just about right. We give it...2 Runaway Juries

Liam Neeson TBD. Last year’s THRILLERS ONLY preview failed to include Liam Neeson’s “Retribution,” because in concocting the preview, there was no information on “Retribution,” leading me to strongly suspect the entire movie went through pre-production, filming, and post-production in 2023, prior to its August 25th release. Therefore, this spot is reserved for whatever Liam Neeson thriller is still in the 2024 hopper right now, like “Cold Storage,” possibly, which was written by 90s middling thriller titan David Koepp, and which Wikipedia suggests is filming and IMDb suggests is in post-production. Gimme a release date and I’ll give you 4 Runaway Juries. 

Argylle. “Delirious” meets “Romancing the Stone.” As far as X meets Y movie pitches go, this is a solid B. As such, we give it...3 Runaway Juries

Road House. A touchy subject for some, I realize. And if I feel as if Jake Gyllenhaal might be one of the few actors we have who could credibly effect a credible and original spin on the ass-kicking spiritualism of Patrick Swayze, I have to say, the poster in conjunction with the UFC-character details gives me pause, skewing a little too Joe Rogan, as does the IMDb synopsis, stipulating the Florida Keys road house of the title is a place “where things are not what they seem.” It’s the 2020s and everything, including anything that is absolutely not, is a conspiracy. We give it...2 Runaway Juries

LaRoy. You know it’s promising because a suicidal guy mistaken for a hitman sounds like some thriller from 1986 that I might have stumbled on while skimming the 1986 in film Wikipedia page looking for a middling thriller, just updated with a perfectly cast John Magaro as the ordinary guy caught in criminal quicksand and Steve Zahn in a bolo tie. Everyone else will be at “Godzilla x Kong” on April 12th; I’ll be one theater over at “LaRoy.” We give it...5 Runaway Juries

Wanted Man. This movie about a detective extraditing a woman from Mexico that stars Dolph Lundgren and Kelsey Grammer (and Michael Paré!) sounds like it really is from 1986, like some guy at Carolco Pictures greenlit a movie with Ivan Drago and the psychiatrist on “Cheers.” It even appears they never updated the faux placeholder title from 1986, one that forces us to knock this down to...2 Runaway Juries

Wolfs. The only person George Clooney has better chemistry with than Julia Roberts is Brad Pitt. Then again, did you see “Ticket to Paradise?” We give it...3 Runaway Juries

Ballerina. From Screen Rant: “With emotive depth and hard-hitting physicality, (Ana) de Armas is slated to play the killer dancer out to destroy those responsible for her family’s deaths.” What an incredible sentence. I almost wish this movie wasn’t a spinoff from the John Wick universe, which makes me have to take it seriously, and it would work better in terms of the THRILLERS ONLY preview if I didn’t have to take it seriously. It’s complicated. We give it...3 1/2 Runaway Juries

Joker: Folie à Deux. I’m still not ready to talk about it. I might never be ready to talk about it. 

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