IT COMES AT NIGHT
Spoiler alert: Nothing comes at night in Trey Edward Shults' It Comes at Night, which is basically a zombie movie without zombies involved. This movie is about cannibalism of the fearful soul, a lofty conceit played as uninterestingly as it sounds.
It Comes at Night is purposely vague about the deadly virus wiping out humans, its grisly effects and hazmat euthanasia echoing countless nights of the living dead. Shults begins with such a mercy killing, a bullet and bonfire for an elderly man. "Goodbye, grandpa," a gas-masked mourner says.
His name is Paul (Joel Edgerton), taking that tragically drastic measure to protect his wife, Sarah (Carmen Ejogo), and teenage son, Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), from the contagion. They're hiding from the unseen on the family farm, armed against intruders who may be infected or stealing supplies.
Edgerton brings the necessary intensity to Paul's growing paranoia, especially after he captures Will (Christopher Abbott, right), a burglar looking out for his family. Paul is a constant interrogator, his eyes flickering at any discrepancy in Will's story. Grudgingly, Paul allows Will; his wife, Kim (Riley Keough); and young son to stay in his home.
From there, It Comes at Night settles into a numbing drumbeat of mistrust. Shults fiddles with provocative ideas like Travis' hormonal attraction to Kim and voyeurism it inspires. Yet he never spies or overhears anything of substance. There's a hint that something is actually out there in the woods but nothing materializes.
It Comes at Night lays down a heavy layer of dreadful promise and doesn't follow through. Edgerton's fine performance is overshadowed by a title and ad campaign springing a bait-and-switch scam on horror fans. C
MY COUSIN RACHEL
Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz gets her name in and above the title of My Cousin Rachel (PG-13), based on the mystery novel by Daphne du Maurier.
Weisz portrays Rachel Ashley, a 19th century widow suspected of poisoning her wealthy husband. Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games series) co-stars as Philip Ashley, to whom the deceased bequeathed his estate. Philip is ready for revenge until he falls in love with Rachel, who may be playing him. One suggestion: Hire a food taster.
Not all wonder women are comic book creations. The true story of U.S. Marine K9 handler Megan Leavey (PG-13) is a slice of uplift about showcasing interspecies heroes wounded in Iraq, with Kate Mara, above, solid in the title role.
OPENING Thursday: THE MUMMY
Swapping out Brendan Fraser for Tom Cruise is the first thing The Mummy (PG-13) does right in reviving the horror-adventure franchise. In addition to being a dependable action star, Cruise in control now means we can nickname the reboot Mission: Imhotep.
The Mummy casts Cruise as Nick Morton, a soldier of fortune hired when the vengeful spirit of an ancient Egyptian princess (Sofia Boutella) is unleashed. We're talking real end of the world stuff happening here, people. Things get so apocalyptic that even Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) can't hide.
Universal's Dark Universe series of classic monster makeovers begins with The Mummy. Bride of Frankenstein, Johnny Depp as The Invisible Man and possibly Dwayne Johnson as the Wolf Man are on the way.
Read a review of The Mummy at tampabay.com/movies.
ONE NIGHT ONLY: CHRIS BROWN: WELCOME TO MY LIFE
Combative pop star Chris Brown is returning to Tampa Bay, but no photographers need to duck. Brown's concert documentary Welcome to My Life is showing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Veterans 24 in Tampa, Regency 20 in Brandon and Park Place Stadium 16 in Pinellas Park. Tickets are $16.05 at fandango.com.
According to media notes, Brown's documentary "explores his love for music, tumultuous relationships and the pit falls of being a public figure." Like that Tampa photographer's face that allegedly got in his fist's way in April.
Interviews with Usher, Jamie Foxx, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez and (ahem) Mike Tyson will presumably back up Brown's outlook on life. You're welcome to it.
in theaters: our Top 5
Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:
1 Wonder Woman: Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins show boys how it's done.
2 My Cousin Rachel: Rachel Weisz keeps us guessing in a Victorian mystery.
3 Megan Leavey: True love story of a U.S. Marine (Kate Mara) and her K9 dog.
4 Alien: Covenant: Can a movie contain too much Michael Fassbender? Not a chance.
5 The Fate of the Furious: It's raining cars, hallelujah, in another lap around the blockbuster track.
(Dates subject to change)
June 16: Rough Night; All Eyez on Me; Cars 3; The Book of Henry
June 21: Transformers: The Last Knight
June 28: Baby Driver
June 30: The Beguiled; The House; Despicable Me 3
July 7: Spider-Man: Homecoming
July 14: War for the Planet of the Apes