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Cinematic Spillover: Capsule Reviews of Wild Rose and Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable 

click to enlarge KIKO MARTINEZ
  • Kiko Martinez

Here are a couple of short reviews of movies that will be released at San Antonio theaters July 12.

Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable

  • Entertainment Studios
In 2003, at the age of 13, surfer Bethany Hamilton was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while in Hawaii – an attack that severed her entire left arm just below the shoulder. Still, she was back on the surfboard after only one month. Her biography was adapted into the 2011 crowd-pleaser Soul Surfer starring AnnaSophia Robb. Now, Bethany’s harrowing story is given a new perspective on the big screen in her namesake documentary Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable, a sufficient overview of her childhood, the terrifying shark incident that defined her life and how she became a sports celebrity overnight. Through archive footage and interviews with Bethany, her family and friends and other professional surfers, Unstoppable’s message of fearlessness is palpable. But as a storyteller, director Aaron Lieber (Lakey Peterson: Zero to 100) is straightforward, which doesn’t leave any room for a more profound examination of Bethany as an athlete or person. Instead, it’s a documentary that fits in well with the brand Bethany has built for herself over the years. If Lieber had found a way to get her to open up more, Unstoppable might’ve risen higher above the surface of the ocean. Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable opens exclusively at the Santikos Silverado Theater July 12.
3 out of 5 stars

Wild Rose

click to enlarge NEON
  • Neon
There’s only so much a director can do with a star-is-born musical narrative, so when a film as authentic albeit familiar as Wild Rose comes along, fans of dramas like Tender Mercies, The Coal Miner’s Daughter and whichever version of A Star is Born is their favorite, should immediately pull up a seat and take notice. Directed by Tom Harper (TV’s Peaky Blinders) and written by Nicole Taylor (TV’s Three Girls), the British film stars Irish actress and singer Jessie Buckley (TV’s Chernobyl) as Rose-Lynn Harlan, an aspiring country musician and ex-convict from Glasgow, who is released from prison on drug charges with her dreams to make it to Nashville still intact. With two young kids and a mother (Julie Walters) who wants her to finally take on some adult responsibility, the door to the life Rose always wanted for herself is quickly slamming shut. But when her well-connected new boss Susannah (Sophie Okonedo) pulls some strings and gets Rose in front of the movers and shakers at the BBC, Rose realizes her aspirations might not be dead just yet, although the energy she puts in her music career continues to hurt her family. Is Rose a bad mother or is she really trying to do what’s best for her and her loved ones? We won’t lie and say Rose is a likeable character from start to finish, but her story, while sometimes formulaic, is well-written and heartfelt. The performances by Buckley, Walters and Okonedo are fantastic and Buckley’s talent behind the mic, whether you enjoy the genre or not, is exhilarating. Don’t be surprised if the emotionally satisfying “Glasgow (No Place Like Home),” which was co-written by Academy Award-winning actress Mary Steenburgen (Melvin and Howard), gets an Oscar nomination this year for Best Original Song. Wild Rose opens exclusively at the Santikos Bijou Cinema and Bistro July 12.
3.5 out of 5 stars

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