Las Vegas film critic Josh Bell is back to talk about movies.
The biggest new release this week is Jungle Cruise, now playing in theaters and streaming on Disney Plus with Premier Access. This is Disney's latest attempt to turn one of its theme park rides into a movie franchise, so of course it shares a lot of similarities with the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Set in 1916 in the jungles along the Amazon river, Jungle Cruise stars Dwayne Johnson as a boat captain and Emily Blunt as an English scientist searching for a mythical plant that cures all ailments. The stars are charming and the movie is mostly energetic and fun, although like the Pirates of the Caribbean series, it runs on for too long and gets bogged down in too much mythology. Still, as the cinematic equivalent of a reliable theme park ride, it accomplishes its purpose. That's Jungle Cruise, now in theaters and on Disney Plus.
Now streaming on Shudder is the thriller The Boy Behind the Door. This small-scale production mainly involves a single location and a handful of characters, but it successfully builds tension out of a basic scenario. Two young boys are kidnapped by a mysterious figure, and when one of them escapes his restraints, he has to figure out how to rescue his friend while also evading their captor. The filmmakers sustain the suspense for nearly the entire running time, as the main characters encounter a series of terrifying obstacles in their attempt to break free. It's a simple premise executed with confidence and style. That's The Boy Behind the Door, now on Shudder.