American Fable, directed by Anne Hamilton (Not Rated, 1 hour, 37 minutes) A dreamy, lyrical mystery with big ambitions and beautiful imagery, American Fable concerns self-assured 11-year-old Gitty (Peyton Kennedy), who finds escape from the financial woes her Wisconsin farm family is suffering during the 1980s by drifting into a fantastic world of imagination.
Reality rudely interrupts her make-believe realm when she discovers that a well-dressed, obviously distressed real-estate developer (Richard Schiff) who, because he has been running around taking advantage of the rural residents’ distress by buying up their farms at cheap prices, has been kidnapped by her family and is imprisoned in a silo — a bizarre and topsy-turvy situation that forces the girl to go in search of where her loyalties lie.
With Gavin MacIntosh, Kip Pardue, Rusty Schwimmer, Marci Miller; the first film from director Anne Hamilton, who worked as an
intern for Terrence Malick on The Tree of Life.
The Promise (PG-13, 2 hours, 14 minutes) A stylish, handsomely photographed, and lengthy war drama as backdrop to a not-so-substantial love triangle. Against the backdrop of the disintegrating Ottoman Empire near the end of World War I, a remarkably high-achieving medical student Michael (Oscar Isaac) is entranced by fellow Armenian Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), which causes a romantic showdown with Ana’s boyfriend (Christian Bale), a renowned American photojournalist specializing in political intrigue. With Shohreh Aghdashloo, Abel Folk; directed by Terry George.
Free Fire (R, 1 hour, 30 minutes) This rowdy, violent, noisy and high-spirited action comedy set in streettough 1970s Boston, where a black-market arms deal between a representative of the IRA (Cillian Murphy) and a sleazy South African (Sharlto Copley), set up by an American businesswoman (Brie Larson) and her sidekick (Armie Hammer), starts out well, then rapidly disintegrates. Directed by Ben Wheatley.
Kong: Skull Island (PG-13, 1 hour, 58 minutes) A too-good cast does its best with an ambitious but clumsy reimagining of the giant ape tale (heavily computer-generated), this time set in 1973 as the Vietnam War draws to a close. With Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Richard Jenkins; directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts.
A Quiet Passion (PG-13, 2 hours, 6 minutes) An elegant, intelligent bio-pic in which Cynthia Nixon is extraordinary as Emily Dickinson, an intellectually independent, witty and evocative poet with a deep attachment to her devoted family who uses
her writing to transcend the societal and spiritual restrictions and strict moral expectations of America in the mid-19th century. With Jennifer Ehle, Keith Carradine; directed by Terence Davies.
Tommy’s Honour (PG, 1 hour, 52 minutes) A fairly well-conceived and decently performed bio-pic concerning the founding of the modern game of golf by an argumentative and unusual Scottish father and son in the mid-19th century. With Peter Mullan, Jack Lowden, Sam Neill, Ian Pirie; directed by Jason Connery (Sean’s son).
Buster’s Mal Heart (not
rated, 1 hour, 36 minutes) In this shape-shifting psychological drama, Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) portrays a solitary Montana mountain man who shelters during the snowy winter by breaking into empty vacation homes and vents his frustrations by calling into radio talk shows. A former hotel concierge with a wife and daughter, his ambitions to take care of his family collide with the changes he undergoes when he meets a conspiracy-theory fanatic (DJ Qualls), which changes both of their lives forever. With Toby Huss, Kate Lyn Sheil; directed by Sarah Adina Smith.