Another superhero movie and a quirky romance are on area screens this week. Here to review Shazam and Gloria Bell are film critics Pam Powell and Chuck Koplinski.
Shazam! (Starts Friday) The latest entry in the DC Comics movie universe is a breath of fresh air as the origin tale of Captain Marvel (Zachary Levi) is driven by a sense of whimsy and wonder that makes for a fun time at the movies. Orphan Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is given the powers of the wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) and when the boy says his name, he’s transformed into a Superman-like hero, who has to take down the villainous Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong) who longs to take away his powers. Think “Big” on steroids and you have some idea of what’s at play here as the teen in the body of the Earth’s Mightiest Mortal must learn how to use his new abilities responsibly. 3 ½ Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated PG-13. 132 minutes. AMC-C, AMC-D, HAR, SAV.
Gloria Bell (Starts Friday) Julianne Moore gives one of her best performances in the title role, a free-spirited woman in her 50s who seeks out love at L.A. dance clubs. Her loneliness and desperation are palpable, but the actress never resorts to cheap theatrics to convey the character’s emotions, rather opting for a more subtle, sincere approach. John Turturro lends wonderful support as another lost soul who just may be the man she’s looking for. Honestly heartfelt and optimistic in a way that’s all too rare. 3 Stars (Chuck Koplinski) Rated R. 102 minutes. SAV.