Movie Review Weekly Roundup: February 21 – February 27, 2021

Escape From Pretoria (2020), directed by Francis Annan, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Daniel Webber, and Ian Hart.

The following is part of a weekly compilation of movie reviews from The Buzz Track staff. These movies were watched in the previous week, and the reviews were originally posted on Letterboxd.

Escape from Pretoria (2020)

DIRECTOR: Francis Annan.
WRITERS: Francis Annan, L.H. Adams (script); Tim Jenkin (book).
GENRES: Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 46min.
LANGUAGE: English, French.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: February 21, 2021.

Harry Potter portrays a South African political prisoner who MacGyver’s his way out of prison with two of his fellow inmates in 1979. I will dub this movie: Harry Potter and the MacGyver of Pretoria. The story takes its inspiration from actual events. I could not help but remember Ben Stiller’s television mini-series Escape at Dannemora. It is similar in concept and also pulls its inspiration from a factual incident. I liked Escape From Pretoria, but I would definitely recommend Escape at Dannemora over it any day of the week.

Greenland (2020)

DIRECTOR: Ric Roman Waugh.
WRITERS: Chris Sparling.
GENRES: Action, Drama, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 59min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: February 21, 2021.

This movie feels pretty tame for an end of the world story featuring Gerard Butler. Greenland tends to lean towards the drama and emotion of the story. It does contain plenty of visual disasters throughout the entire movie. But it does not feel like an empty shell of doomful mayhem like Butler’s other apocalyptic movies. Although a decent production, this movie is not going to be appearing on my list of favorites.

Max Winslow and the House of Secrets (2020)

DIRECTOR: Sean Olson.
WRITERS: Jeff Wild.
GENRES: Family, Sci-Fi, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 38min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: February 21, 2021.

For a family-friendly movie, I found it to be pleasantly enjoyable to watch. Its plot blends the elements of a teen drama, an escape room, and an academic competition. It then adds Alexa Voice Control and a slight dash of science fiction for a bit of fun. Do you remember Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One? I briefly thought about that movie while watching this one. There are numerous similarities in both stories, such as a competition among a group of young people who could inherit a large fortune. The grand prize is a personal gift of great value from a wealthy tech mogul. Anyway, I would recommend this movie for a family viewing or anyone who likes family-friendly stories.

The High Note (2020)

DIRECTOR: Nisha Ganatra.
WRITERS: Flora Greeson.
GENRES: Drama, Music, Romance.
LENGTH: 1h 53min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: February 22, 2021.

Although the story seems like another variation of A Star Is Born or a hybrid of the plotline for becoming an entertainment success in Los Angeles, I found the movie entertaining enough. It’s definitely worth renting for a relaxing afternoon viewing. Just do not expect the story to be life-changing or pack an emotional gut punch.

Batman: Soul of the Dragon (2021)

WRITERS: Jeremy Adams.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Animation, Action, Adventure.
LENGTH: 1h 23min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: February 27, 2021.

Here is another installment in a string of feature-length animated films from DC Comics and Warner Brothers Animation starring America’s favorite gothic caped crusader. I mostly enjoyed watching this movie, especially when I compare it to a few of the other recent animated movie releases that occur within the DC Universe. A few personal observations from my initial viewing of Soul of the Dragon would be as follows. Act One: James Bond, Act Two: Enter the Dragon, and Act Three: Bury the Lead. Is the movie supposed to be about an ensemble cast of characters? Or an emphasis on a lead character or two? The title alone is referring to the names of two people. As the story begins, it switches between these two main characters. But then it starts adding several others into the mix, and that is when I wonder if I should be focusing on the success of the group dynamics or the individual characters. The movie is a modest tale that borrows from the style of other franchise films. I like it but would not be placing it on my list of absolute favorites.

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