*** Documentarian Luke Lorentzen (Netflix's Last Chance U) spent three years and 85 nights inside a Mexico City ambulance winding up for this 80-minute gut punch. With oxygen tanks rattling and stethoscopes whipping, we ride along in the Ochoa family's privately owned emergency wagon—an unregulated operation in a metropolis with only a few dozen public ambulances. In full sirens-blaring veritae, the camera can't hide in a van crowded with multiple generations of Ochoas, but Lorentzen has polished their black-market trade into a stylish, escalating narrative. That's a shrewd choice for hooking an international audience, even if a little more grit, patience and informality might have deepened the portrait after the initial rush subsides. Still, Midnight Family's themes are as serious as the blitzes to the hospital. This glimpse of Mexico City reveals capitalism at its most nightmarish—a cottage industry fueled by tragedy and made profitable by shame. The Ochoas, then, are forced into an impossible paradox of social service and scavenging, and you can feel the family ache a little even when their gambit is working. Spend enough nights in the back of such an ambulance and it's not the sight of blood that'll turn your stomach; it's the salesmanship. NR. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. Living Room.
*** That Guy Ritchie's latest film is a British crime caper should surprise no one, but with The Gentlemen, the English filmmaker has managed to breathe new and entertaining life into his favorite genre. The story hinges on American expat and marijuana kingpin Mickey (Matthew McConaughey, terrible and bored here—he's better in those car commercials), who causes a stir by announcing he's cashing out. Despite McConaughey's lackluster performance, the director coaxes some of the best work out of Hugh Grant as a smarmy PI and Colin Farrell, whose absurdist track suit-clad Coach steals every scene he's in. Ritchie's writing is also top-notch here: The script provides a heavy dose of meta in-jokes on top of the usual witty Cockney tough-guy dialogue. Your enjoyment of The Gentlemen will largely depend on your patience for Ritchie's aesthetic in 2020, as the film is essentially an exercise in Guy Ritchie-ness. But the director proves the horse he's beating isn't dead quite yet. R. DONOVAN FARLEY. Dine-In Progress Ridge 13, Vancouver Mall 23, Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Eastport, Laurelhurst, Bridgeport, Cascade, Cinema 99, City Center, Division, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower, Lloyd, Tigard, Studio One.
* The Turning, based on Henry James' paranoid novella The Turn of the Screw, opens with the new nanny (Mackenzie Davis) driving toward a gothic mansion. "Incredible," she says while taking in the thick fog and acres of silence. The atmosphere really is incredible. But the rest of this horror flick is as hollow as a mannequin. Part of the problem is Floria Sigismondi's direction, which has none of the luxurious self-indulgence her music videos with David Bowie ("The Stars Are Out Tonight") and Marilyn Manson ("The Beautiful People") exhibited. Also missing is James' eerie potency. It isn't long before the nanny, Kate, begins hearing creaking floors and footsteps in the night. Could they be the little girl (Brooklynn Prince)? Or the weird teenager who keeps hitting on her (Finn Wolfhard)? Maybe it's ghosts—or maybe she is losing her mind. The script, written by twin brothers Chad and Carey Hayes (The Conjuring), frustratingly gives us more questions than answers. And then there's the ending. Instead of going the route of the classic story, the movie veers off course and delivers a climax with multiple twists, giving new meaning to the term "loose screw." PG-13. ASHER LUBERTO. Dine-In Progress Ridge 13, Mill Plain 8, Vancouver Mall 23, Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Cornelius, Eastport, Oak Grove, Bridgeport, Cascade, Cinema 99, City Center, Division, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd, Pioneer Place, Sherwood, Tigard.