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Tipping Point: Our picks and pans

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MOVIE TIP

Thunder Force

If this comedy were in theaters, I might have had higher expectations. But seeing it on my TV screen, I found it diverting enough on a Saturday afternoon. Melissa McCarthy plays the kind of character we expect from Melissa McCarthy — a little out-there, a lot self-confident — who, through some scientific mumbo-jumbo, becomes an absurdly strong superhero. Said science was discovered by her straight-arrow pal (Octavia Spencer), who also gave herself the power of invisibility. They, of course, fight some colorful villains. The best part of the villain cadre: Jason Bateman. He plays The Crab, a man who has crab arms (it looks as ridiculous as it sounds), but Bateman brings his dry wit to lines that I’d wager were largely improvised. He elevates every scene he’s in.

— Kristina Dorsey 

BOOK TIP

The Lost Village

Camilla Sten

Hyped internationally as a literally fusion of "The Blair Witch Project" and "Midsommar," this translated-from-the-Swedish novel is a slow-burn thriller with plenty of atmospherics and an irresistible premise. Five 20-something amateur filmmakers head to the wilderness to find out what happened to an idyllic forest village whose entire population vanished without a trace in the late 1950s. Well, wait — there WAS the abandoned and still-alive baby left in the school house. And don't forget the supposed witch who was stoned to death and left hanging in the town square. Of course, the filmmakers have their own secrets and connections to the town, and disturbing events start happening on arrival that suggest they're not at all welcome. But who's out there? And should the evidence they uncover, suggesting a sort of Jim Jones/Jonestown element to the mystery, convince them the past is better left alone? I found some of the character development perfunctory and two-dimensional, but there's no denying a significant and magnetic Creep Factor.

— Rick Koster

MOVIE TIP

Sound of Metal

Although this drama has been nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, don’t expect the kind of big, hitting-the-mainstream-note movies that often earn a nod. “Sound of Metal” is a very naturalistic indie. What makes it stand out are two things: director/co-writer Darius Marder’s use of jarring sound and eerie silence to bring the audience in on what its main character is feeling as he loses his hearing, and the lead performance. Riz Ahmed plays heavy-metal drummer Ruben, who realizes he’s going deaf. Ahmed’s eyes alone express everything a viewer needs to know as Ruben fears, fights and mourns the change in his life. Marder wisely and slowly reveals more about Ruben and his girlfriend/bandmate (Olivia Cooke), making both characters and their relationship increasingly complicated.

 — Kristina Dorsey

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