Among the new movies that were released Friday, Feb. 22 in theaters throughout the Valley are a drama starring John Hawkes and Molly Parker as a pair of poor parents and a dramatic thriller starring Dwayne Johnson as a fantastic father.
Olivia Harris plays one of four siblings in 1970s suburbia who spend the night telling each other stories in the attic while their parents (John Hawkes and Molly Parker) entertain guests downstairs over the course of a gin-soaked evening during which truths are unearthed and betrayals come to light. Playing exclusively at FilmBar. (NR - 83 minutes)
If “The Playroom” would have been a little less interested in imitating 1997’s “The Ice Storm” and much more motivated by weaving its own unique tale of familial dysfunction set in 1970s suburbia, it may have actually been a provocative motion picture. Instead, the new drama must settle for being mildly intriguing. It is also ultimately unsatisfying as it handles the down and dirty details with melodramatic metaphors. However, some may still find it worth watching if only for the profound performances from stars John Hawkes and Molly Parker, the latter of whom played a similar character on CBS’s short-lived series “Swingtown.” (Grade: D)
Dwayne Johnson plays a father whose teenage son is wrongly accused of a drug distribution crime and is looking at a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years. Desperate and determined to rescue his son at all costs, he makes a deal with the U.S. attorney to work as an undercover informant and infiltrate a drug cartel on a dangerous mission. (PG-13 - 112 minutes)
“Snitch” is successful in its efforts to both provoke the thoughts of its viewers and get them so riled up that they are almost guaranteed to dig their fingernails deep into their armrests for the entire duration of the new dramatic thriller. And holding on tight may be the best tactic, too, as writer/director Ric Roman Waugh exhilarates audiences not with action but with cleverly calculated suspense. Warning: You will not emerge with your nerves unfrayed from this tension, your spirit unbroken by this social injustice or your heart unaffected by this father’s defiant dedication to his son. (Grade: A)