Thurgood Marshall biopic heads up busy week at movie theaters
When he’s not playing T’Challa — the Marvel Comics superhero Black Panther, to us — you’ll likely find Chadwick Boseman playing a significant cultural figure in 20th-century American life.
No complaints here: Boseman was terrific as Jackie Robinson in “42” and as James Brown in “Get On Up.”
He has a different kind of real-life hero to play in “Marshall,” an origin story of sorts about Thurgood Marshall, a towering civil rights lawyer who would become the first African-American Supreme Court justice.
The Marshall he’s playing is a young attorney who, in 1940, is sent to Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur (Sterling K. Brown) accused of sexual assault of his white employer (Kate Hudson). Because the judge won’t let him speak in court, Marshall is paired with a young Jewish lawyer, played by Josh Gad, who’s fending off prejudice as well.
“The film stands on its own as a compelling courtroom drama, complete with surprising revelations — and while we hope things will go his way, this case could just as easily prove the one that motivated (Marshall’s) future crusade,” Variety critic Peter Debruge wrote.
“Marshall” is rated PG-13 for mature content, sexuality, violence and some language. It runs for 118 minutes.
‘Happy Death Day’
Let the “Halloween”meets-”Groundhog Day” jokes begin.
In “Happy Death Day,” Jessica Rothe plays a self-absorbed college student who, at the end of her birthday, is murdered by a masked crazy person — then she wakes up, to replay the same day over and over.
Unless, that is, she can figure out who the killer is and stop them.
“Happy Death Day” is rated PG-13 for violence, gore, sexual content, language, some drug material and partial nudity. It runs for 96 minutes.
Jackie Chan does something American audiences haven’t seen him do for a while in “The Foreigner”: He plays the action straight.
In this thriller directed by Martin Campbell (“Casino Royale”), Chan plays an ex-mercenary turned businessman in London who, after his daughter is killed before his eyes in a terrorist bombing, is hell-bent on learning the identity of the bomber. When the police won’t help, he turns to a government official (Pierce Brosnan) in Belfast who, it turns out, might have ties to the terrorists.
The joint U.K.-China production is getting solid reviews, with bonus points for Chan’s performance. “It’s good to see Chan swapping his happy-go-lucky persona for two hours for some gravitas as a tragic rogue with a marked past,” reviewer Clarence Tsui wrote for The Hollywood Reporter.
“The Foreigner” is rated R for violence, language and some sexual material. It runs for 113 minutes.
‘Professor Marston & the Wonder Women’
The story behind the man behind the comicbook character Wonder Woman is actually more complicated than all that stuff about living on an island with Amazons and having a Lasso of Truth.
In “Professor Marston & the Wonder Women,” Harvard psychologist William Moul- ton Marston (Luke Evans) sets out to create a comic book in the 1940s featuring a powerful woman hero, while having a secret identity of his own: a private life centered on his wife and academic partner, Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall), and their lover, Olive (Bella Heathcote). As his creation takes off, their complicated world gets even more complicated.
Newark Star-Ledger critic Stephen Whitty gave the movie 3 stars, saying the “unconventional love story at the heart of this — and the three actors who act it out — help paper over” some of the movie’s storytelling problems.
“Professor Marston & the Wonder Women” is rated R for strong sexual content and language. It runs for 108 minutes.
In “Columbus,” John Cho plays a man who, after coming from Korea to take care of his ailing father in Columbus, Ind., bonds with a local woman (Haley Lu Richardson).
Why Columbus? The city is celebrated as a mecca for Modernist architecture, and Cho’s father is a renowned architecture scholar who became ill during a speaking engagement there.
The movie is a latecomer to theaters in Milwaukee (it began its run elsewhere in August), but it had some of the best reviews of any movie this summer.
Arizona Republic critic Bill Goodykoontz gave it 4 stars (out of 5), calling the movie’s heartfelt, still-life approach “an invitation to see a movie whose beauty stays with you long after it ends.” “Columbus” is not rated, but has brief nudity and smoking. It runs for 104 minutes.
“Loving Vincent” is ambitious on two fronts: First, it sets out to explain the life and death of painter Vincent Van Gogh; then it does so using painted animation, done by hand, frame by frame by 125 artists.
Reviews have been mostly positive, especially for its visual style. Boston Globe critic Ty Burr gave it 21⁄2 stars, calling “Loving Vincent” “a jawdropper on the level of craft and technique.”
“Loving Vincent” is rated PG-13 for mature themes, some violence, sexual material and smoking. It runs for 94 minutes.
‘Take Every Wave’
If you seek a legendary surfer, look no further than “Take Every Wave.”
The documentary by Rory Kennedy about surf icon Laird Hamilton draws from fresh footage, Hamilton’s personal archives and interviews with just about everyone who knows him and marvels at his skills.
“What Kennedy came to see, and what ‘Take Every Wave’ demonstrates without doubt, is that Hamilton’s personal journey is extraordinary enough in its scope and pushing-the-limits achievements that we feel privileged to have such an intimate glimpse into how it all went down,” Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan wrote.
“Take Every Wave” is not rated. It runs for 118 minutes.
Chadwick Boseman plays lawyer and civil rights giant Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall.”
Jessica Rothe has to relive her birthday over and over — and get killed over and over — in “Happy Death Day.”
Jackie Chan plays a grieving father who will learn the identity of the terrorist who killed his daughter by any means necessary in "The Foreigner."