AT THE MOVIES
Opening on Friday, Aug. 31, are Kin, The Little Stranger and Juliet, Naked. Kin is a sci-fi/action crime thriller about two adopted brothers on the run. Shortly after being released from jail, Elijah (Jack Reynor), who is about 25, is forced to flee with his teen brother Jimmy (Miles Truitt). They are being pursued by crime lord Taylor Bolek (James Franco, 40) and an army of other-wordly soldiers. The brothers’ only protection is a mysterious ancient weapon. The supporting cast includes Dennis Quaid as the brothers’ father and Zoe Kravitz, 29, as Milly, Jimmy’s girlfriend.
The Little Stranger is based on an acclaimed 2009 Gothic novel that reviewers said went beyond “spooky stuff” and touched on serious issues, like class (especially the decline of the “landed gentry” in post-war England). As the movie begins, it’s 1947 and Dr. Faraday (Domhnall Glesson, Ex Machina), the son of a housemaid, is called to treat a maid at Hundreds Hall, an 18th-century country manor that is falling apart. He becomes acquainted with the manor’s almost-broke owner, Angela Ayres (Charlotte Rampling) and her two adult children, Caroline and Roddy. Faraday begins treating Roddy (Will Poulter), a disfigured WWII pilot, for his wounds and for post-traumatic stress. He forms a sometimes-romantic relationship with Caroline (Ruth Wilson). Things start to turn spooky when a child visiting the house is mauled by a previously placid dog. A series of increasingly traumatic events occur, which may or may not have a supernatural origin.
The director is Irish Jew Lenny Abrahamson, 51, who helmed a number of acclaimed indie films before receiving a best director Oscar nomination for Room (2015), also a best picture nominee. Kin star Jack Reynor, whose mother is Irish, had his breakthrough role in Abramson’s 2012 film, What Richard Saw. Back in 2014, Abrahamson accurately said that he is “the third most famous Irish Jew” (behind the late Chaim Herzog, an Israeli general who became president of Israel, and the late Robert Briscoe, lord mayor of Dublin).
Juliet, Naked is a comedy-drama based on a novel of the same name by big-selling British author Nick Hornby (About a Boy, High Fidelity). It focuses on the story of Annie (Rose Byrne) and her unlikely romance with singer-songwriter Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke). The complication is that Annie’s boyfriend (Chris O’Dowd) is a huge Crowe fan. The director is former Lemonheads bassist, Jesse Peretz, 50, the son of Marty Peretz, 79, the former publisher of the New Republic. The screenwriters include Jesse’s sister, Evgenia Peretz, 48, and Tamara Jenkins, 56 (Slums of Beverly Hills).