New movies to stream this week: ‘Infinite,’ ‘Awake’ and more
Mark Wahlberg stars in Antoine Fuqua’s “Infinite,” a head-trippy but otherwise formulaic action thriller based on the book “The Reincarnation Papers.” After a somewhat chaotic and confusing 1985 prologue — centering on a guy named Heinrich Treadway (Dylan O’Brien) in a car speeding through Mexico City, during what on-screen titles identify as “the last life” — the action jumps to 2020 New York City, “in this life,” where it only gradually becomes clear what the heck going on. Wahlberg’s Evan McCauley — a guy so good at trivia his nickname is “Wikipedia,” who somehow knows how to forge samurai swords without ever having been trained — is the reincarnation of Treadway. People keep calling him that. People who, like Evan, are “Infinites” — i.e., they have perfect recall of all their previous lives (along with all their ever-accumulating wisdom and knowledge). But Evan just thinks he’s schizophrenic. This is an interesting concept: an action flick based on a slightly superficial interpretation of the concepts of enlightenment and karma. Eventually the film settles into its far less interesting groove, in which Evan and his presumed girlfriend from a previous lifetime (Sophie Cookson) team up to find and disable a doomsday device invented by a nihilistic Infinite named Bathurst (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who wants to escape from the endless prison of infinitude by destroying the world. Lots of car chases and gun battles ensue, along with a funny appearance by Jason Mantzoukas as an Infinite called the Artisan, who helps Evan come to accept that he’s not crazy. All this culminates in a pretty cool bit of midair hand-to-hand combat between Evan and Bathurst. It ain’t nirvana, but it is a kick in the pants. PG-13. Available on Paramount Plus. Contains sequences of strong violence, some bloody images, coarse language and brief drug use. 106 minutes.
— Michael O'Sullivan
Saul Williams (“Slam”) stars as a man raised amid violence that he has long struggled to escape in the crime thriller “Akilla’s Escape.” Williams plays the manager of a cannabis dispensary who is drawn into a world of violent gangs when his dispensary is robbed, in a drama that jumps between 1995 New York and 2020 Toronto. Variety call the film a “mature crime picture whose decades-hopping action makes the effects of generational poverty obvious without having to spell it out.” Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 90 minutes.
A pandemic of near-universal insomnia follows in the wake of a mysterious catastrophe that also seems to have caused the global failure of all electronic devices in the thriller “Awake.” Gina Rodriguez plays the mother of a child (Ariana Greenblatt) whose unexplained ability to sleep may hold the solution. TV-MA. Available on Netflix. 97 minutes.
Writer-director Nicole Riegel’s drama “Holler” stars Jessica Barden (“The Lobster”) as Ruth, an Ohio teen who dreams of escaping her dead-end town by joining a dangerous and illegal scrap metal crew to pay for college. According to Variety, “The director has a secret weapon in Barden, who makes Ruth’s story relatable, even to those who’ve been fortunate enough to avoid such hardship.” R. Available on various streaming platforms. contains coarse language and sexual references. 90 minutes.
In the action thriller “Rogue Hostage,” Tyrese Gibson plays a former Marine with post-traumatic stress disorder whose skill set is called upon when he is trapped inside a grocery store with his daughter (Zani Jones Mbayise) and stepfather (John Malkovich) by terrorists who are holding customers hostage. Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. 87 minutes.