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Childhood friends Lily and Amanda reconnect in suburban Connecticut after years of growing apart. Lily has turned into a polished, upper-class teenager, with a fancy boarding school on her transcript and a coveted internship on her resume; Amanda has developed a sharp wit and her own particular attitude, but all in the process of becoming a social outcast. Though they initially seem completely at odds, the pair bond over Lily's contempt for her oppressive stepfather, Mark, and as their friendship grows, they begin to bring out one another's most destructive tendencies. Their ambitions lead them to hire a local hustler, Tim, and take matters into their own hands to set their lives straight.
Due to studio restrictions, passes not valid opening weekend of this film
• Three stars out of four •
Calvin Wilson - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Written and directed by St. Louis native Cory Finley, “Thoroughbreds” is a stylish exploration of criminal behavior among the privileged class. Finley evokes a vision of a morally compromised world that allows Amanda and Lily to indulge their worst impulses.
Although the film is a bit too schematic in its updating of film noir, it also signals a talent to watch. And Finley elicits fine work from his cast.
Cooke is particularly impressive, imbuing Amanda with a chilling misanthropy. Taylor-Joy plays Lily as a bit too sympathetic, but she nails the character’s cluelessness. And Yelchin, who died in 2016 at the age of 27, turns in a performance that’s as quirky as it is memorable.
“Thoroughbreds” should put Finley on the fast track.
Lena (Natalie Portman), a biologist and former soldier, joins a mission to uncover what happened to her husband inside Area X - a sinister and mysterious phenomenon that is expanding across the American coastline. Once inside, the expedition discovers a world of mutated landscape and creatures, as dangerous as it is beautiful, that threatens both their lives and their sanity. From the director of Ex Machina and based on Jeff VanderMeer's best-selling Southern Reach Trilogy.
• 3½ stars out of four •
Calvin Wilson / St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Annihilation” may strike some viewers as a hybrid of “Arrival” (2016) and “Alien” (1979), but it’s very much its own thing — a science-fiction flick that’s at once intellectually ambitious and extremely frightening.
Working from a screenplay that he adapted from a novel by Jeff VanderMeer, director Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”) creates a strange, intriguing world in which none of the usual rules apply. This is a film that gets under your skin and stays there.
Portman is eminently watchable as Lena, who slowly realizes that she’s in way over her head. And “Ex Machina” star Isaac virtually redefines creepiness.
No doubt “Annihilation” will get a lot of attention for showcasing a mostly female cast. But the film is best appreciated as a smart entry in an often challenging genre.
An understated and wonderful St. Louis gem, the Hi-Pointe Theatre was built in 1922 at the incredible intersection of Interstate 64, Clayton Road, Clayton Avenue, McCausland Avenue, Forest Avenue, Oakland Avenue and Skinker Boulevard, today also the home of the world’s largest Amoco sign and just at the southwest corner of Forest Park. Continue Reading