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ALVIN AND THE CHIP­MUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP

This is the fourth film in the cur­rent Alvin and the Chip­munks se­ries, af­ter the orig­i­nal, The Squeakquel, and Chip­wrecked. Ap­par­ently, the movies will live as long as there are bad puns for the ti­tles. In this one, the de­light­fully self­less Chip­munks try to pre­vent their friend Dave (Ja­son Lee) from get­ting mar­ried, out of fears that he’ll ditch them shortly af­ter. Rated PG. 86 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas; Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Dream­Catcher. (Not re­viewed)

THE BIG SHORT

Adam McKay’s movie is by turns funny, fright­en­ing, sus­pense­ful, in­for­ma­tive, and tragic. It ex­am­ines the 2008 near-col­lapse of the world fi­nan­cial sys­tem from the per­spec­tives of four an­a­lysts, or teams, who had the vi­sion to rec­og­nize what no­body else saw com­ing: the rot­ten­ness of the sys­tem, the worth­less­ness of the pack­aged mort­gages on which the econ­omy was glid­ing, and the in­evitable dev­as­tat­ing crash when the bub­ble burst. They bet against the econ­omy. They bet big. And they won. That McKay is able to ex­plain the fi­nan­cial col­lapse that cost so many peo­ple their homes and sav­ings — and make it en­ter­tain­ing — is a re­mark­able achieve­ment. Ter­rific per­for­mances come from a cast that in­cludes Chris­tian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Steve Carell. And McKay leaves us with a warn­ing: It could hap­pen again. Rated R. 130 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

BROOK­LYN

In 1950s County Wex­ford, Ire­land, the for­ward­think­ing Rose (Fiona Glas­cott) has ar­ranged for her younger sis­ter Eilis (Saoirse Ro­nan) to go to Brook­lyn out of clear-eyed ne­ces­sity — Eilis can’t find a de­cent job, and there are few other prospects for her in Ire­land. In New York, Eilis set­tles into a clois­tered new life, liv­ing in a board­ing­house teem­ing with other, brasher young Ir­ish women. She’s in­tro­verted and home­sick, weep­ing over her sis­ter’s let­ters, re­act­ing like a star­tled deer when­ever any­one ad­dresses her di­rectly — un­til she meets Tony (an adorable Emory Cohen), an Ital­ian-Amer­i­can plumber who’s sweet on Ir­ish girls and loves the Brook­lyn Dodgers. Such a con­ven­tional plot would be slighter ma­te­rial in other hands, and though Nick Hornby’s screen­play is more sweetly sen­ti­men­tal than the Colm Tóibín novel it’s based on, the film never dips into trea­cly ter­ri­tory. The rea­son for that is Ro­nan, whose steely, un­demon­stra­tive per­for­mance ca­pa­bly an­chors the story. Rated PG-13. 111 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown.

(Molly Boyle)

CAROL This is di­rec­tor Todd Haynes’ sec­ond 1950s-era melo­drama, af­ter the Dou­glas Sirk-in­flu­enced

Far From Heaven, in which Ju­lianne Moore plays a sub­ur­ban house­wife with a clos­eted gay hus­band. This time — in a story adapted from a 1952 novel by Pa­tri­cia High­smith, which she pub­lished un­der a pseu­do­nym due to its les­bian plot­line — it’s glam­orous New Jer­sey house­wife Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) who’s gay and nudg­ing the closet door open. She’s go­ing through a dif­fi­cult sep­a­ra­tion and di­vorce from her hus­band, Harge (Kyle Chan­dler), dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son when she meets Therese Be­livet (Rooney Mara), an in­génue work­ing the counter at a New York City depart­ment store. The alchemy be­tween Therese and Carol is in­stant, and glo­ri­ous to be­hold, as the film cen­ters on the re­mark­able per­for­mances of th­ese two ac­tresses. Ev­ery dis­parate el­e­ment of the film adds to its vir­tu­os­ity, from the pe­riod de­signs to the score. Rated R.

118 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Molly Boyle)

CON­CUS­SION

Af­ter the re­cent suc­cess of Spot­light, here is an­other movie about peo­ple who are fight­ing for truth and jus­tice. In this case, in­stead of the Catholic Church, the he­roes are go­ing up against an­other pow­er­ful institution: the NFL. Will Smith plays Ben­net Omalu, a pathol­o­gist who dis­cov­ers the ex­tent of the brain dam­age suf­fered by foot­ball play­ers who re­ceive mul­ti­ple con­cus­sions, and tries to spread the word. Luke Wil­son plays his op­po­nent, NFL com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell. Rated PG-13. 123 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; Dream­Catcher. (Not re­viewed)

CREED

This Rocky se­quel takes the spot­light off Rocky Bal­boa and puts it on Ado­nis John­son (Michael B. Jor­dan), the son of Rocky’s ri­val and friend, Apollo Creed. Sick of liv­ing in the shadow of a fa­ther he never knew, Ado­nis heads to Philadel­phia and seeks out Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) to train him to fight. The film fol­lows a sat­is­fy­ing, if pre­dictable, sportsmovie arc, but of­fers a strong ro­man­tic sub­plot (with Tessa Thomp­son), ex­cel­lent act­ing, and a won­der­ful, au­then­tic feel for ur­ban Philadel­phia. Stallone was nom­i­nated for an Acad­emy Award for his 1976 per­for­mance as Rocky. Don’t be sur­prised if he is nom­i­nated for play­ing that char­ac­ter again. Rated PG-13. 132 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Dream­Catcher. (Robert Ker)

DADDY’S HOME

Will Fer­rell ef­fec­tively played the mil­que­toast to Mark Wahlberg’s tough guy in the 2010 buddy-cop romp The Other

Guys, and now they bring the same dy­namic to a fam­ily com­edy. Fer­rell plays a mild-man­nered ex­ec­u­tive who is try­ing to be the best fa­ther to his stepchil­dren that he can, un­til one day the real dad (Wahlberg) comes roar­ing in on his mo­tor­cy­cle and makes him look like a to­tal square. Linda Cardellini plays the mom who is caught be­tween them. Rated PG-13. 96 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas; Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Dream­Catcher. (Not re­viewed)

THE DAN­ISH GIRL

Ed­die Red­mayne, win­ner of last year’s best ac­tor Acad­emy Award for his por­trayal of the ALSbur­dened physi­cist Stephen Hawk­ing, tosses his hat in the ring again with an­other phys­i­cally chal­lenged Os­car-bait per­for­mance as Lili Elbe, née Ei­nar We­gener, a Dan­ish painter who in the early 1930s be­came a trans­gen­der pioneer. Per­haps even bet­ter is Ali­cia Vikan­der, who brings enor­mous sym­pa­thy to the role of Ei­nar’s artist wife, Gerda, with­out the ben­e­fit of tor­ment or con­fu­sion on which to hang her char­ac­ter. Di­rec­tor Tom Hooper has crafted a beau­ti­ful pic­ture. But there’s a sense of emo­tional dis­tance that the movie never quite man­ages to shake. Maybe it’s too taste­ful, too care­ful. What Lili Elbe did was ter­ri­fy­ingly bold. The movie is el­e­gant and safe. Rated R. 120 min­utes. In French, Ger­man, and English with sub­ti­tles. Re­gal DeVar­gas. (Jonathan Richards)

THE HATE­FUL EIGHT

Rated R. 168 min­utes. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema; Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; Dream­Catcher. See re­view, Page 34.

HEART OF A DOG

Artist and per­former Lau­rie An­der­son’s ex­per­i­men­tal doc­u­men­tary uses the story of her dog Lo­la­belle to tie to­gether sev­eral philo­soph­i­cal and autobiographical nar­ra­tives. It’s a ten­der and im­pres­sion­is­tic film, which was mostly shot us­ing an iPhone. An­der­son also uses home movies, an­i­ma­tion, draw­ings, and pho­to­graphs, de­scrib­ing mo­ments in her own life as well as those of oth­ers: friends and fam­ily — as well as the na­tion it­self. Through­out, she brings the nar­ra­tive back to her dog, whom she treats with re­spect, dig­nity, and love. An­der­son de­tails the ex­pe­ri­ences of the dog’s life, death, and af­ter­life from the per­spec­tive of Ti­betan Bud­dhist the­ol­ogy, mus­ing on Lo­la­belle’s jour­ney and the paths we take in our own lives. Not rated. 75 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Michael Abatemarco)

JOY

David O. Rus­sell’s lat­est ven­ture with the re­turn­ing cast of Jen­nifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Bradley Cooper (Amer­i­can Hustle, Sil­ver Lin­ings Play­book) opens with the ti­tle card, “In­spired by the true sto­ries of dar­ing women. One in par­tic­u­lar.” The film tells the story of Joy (Lawrence), based on the real-life tale of Joy Mangano’s rise to home-shop­ping net­work suc­cess af­ter she in­vented the self-wring­ing Mir­a­cle Mop while strug­gling to pay the bills as a sin­gle mother. Rus­sell es­tab­lishes a pleas­antly screw­ball pace early on, and the nar­ra­tive is en­ter­tain­ing for much of the film, car­ried along by Lawrence’s ra­di­ant en­ergy and De Niro’s wry comedic chops. But style ul­ti­mately trumps the movie’s frag­mented sub­stance, and af­ter all the sassy lines, sun­glasses, and saun­ter­ing are over, view­ers may be left won­der­ing what ex­actly the point was. Rated PG-13. 124 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; Dream­Catcher. (Molly Boyle)

MAC­BETH

Aus­tralian Justin Kurzel’s adap­ta­tion of Shake­speare’s play-that-must-not-be-named (the­atri­cal su­per­sti­tion for­bids the ut­ter­ing of the ti­tle in­side a theater) is pow­er­ful, bru­tal, orig­i­nal, and some­times al­most in­com­pre­hen­si­ble. The more fa­mil­iar you are with the lan­guage of the play, the bet­ter off you will be, be­cause, as half-whis­pered in hoarse Scot­tish brogues through­out most of the movie, against an in­sis­tent score that is some­times mourn­ful, some­times boom­ing, much of the di­a­logue is lost. The cast, headed by Michael Fass­ben­der in the ti­tle role, and the haunt­ing, saucer-eyed Mar­ion Cotil­lard as his lethal wife, is su­perb, and the film’s per­for­mances work mas­ter­fully to over­come the au­di­tory chal­lenge with their in­ten­sity. The cin­e­matog­ra­phy by Adam Arka­paw is ma­jes­tic, and al­most un­remit­tingly dark. By the time Bir­nam Wood comes to Dun­si­nane, the hell on earth that Mac­beth’s mis­guided am­bi­tion has wrought has be­come tan­gi­ble and ter­ri­fy­ing. Rated R. 113 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Art. (Jonathan Richards) Chilean film­maker Pa­tri­cio Guzmán creates a lyri­cal and wrench­ing es­say on the wa­tery beau­ties of his coun­try, with its thou­sands of miles of coast­line, its van­ish­ing in­dige­nous coastal tribes, and its other “dis­ap­peared”: the de­sa­pare­ci­dos who van­ished un­der Pinochet’s bru­tal dic­ta­tor­ship. Guzmán’s sub­jects are the wa­ters of Earth, the wa­ters of the uni­verse, and the spe­cific wa­ters of Patag­o­nia, where 10,000 years ago the first in­hab­i­tants came by wa­ter and lived by, near, and on the wa­ter for num­ber­less gen­er­a­tions un­til Euro­pean set­tlers ar­rived and be­gan to sys­tem­at­i­cally ex­ter­mi­nate them. The ex­quis­ite beauty of Katell Djian’s cin­e­matog­ra­phy, the ex­tra­or­di­nary ethno­graphic pho­to­graphs of a dis­ap­pear­ing peo­ple, the heart-rend­ing rec­ol­lec­tions of a hand­ful of sur­viv­ing Kawésqar el­ders, and the reflections of a few con­tem­po­rary po­ets and oceanog­ra­phers and philoso­phers work to­gether to weave an en­chant­ing, ex­hil­a­rat­ing, and pro­foundly dis­turb­ing work of cin­e­matic poetry. Not rated. 82 min­utes. In Span­ish and Kawésqar with sub­ti­tles. The Screen. (Jonathan Richards)

POINT BREAK

THE PEARL BUT­TON

The 1991 thriller Point Break, which starred Pa­trick Swayze as a surf­ing bank rob­ber and Keanu Reeves as an un­der­cover FBI agent try­ing to catch him, was a big hit that en­joys a cult fol­low­ing to this day. It’s hard to imag­ine that the film’s fans ever wanted a re­make, yet here one is, with Édgar Ramírez in the Swayze role and Luke Bracey play­ing Reeves’ part. Rated PG-13. 113 min­utes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal DeVar­gas; Dream­Catcher. (Not re­viewed)

SIS­TERS

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have been comedic part­ners from their early days in Chicago’s Im­provO­lympic in the 1990s through Satur­day Night Live in the 2000s and up to their re­cent run as co-hosts of the Golden Globe Awards. This film finds them us­ing that chem­istry to play sis­ters who throw one last party at their par­ents’ house be­fore it is sold. Rated R. 118 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown; Dream­Catcher. (Not re­viewed)

SPOT­LIGHT

It’s not a re­li­gion that comes un­der the glare of

Spot­light, but an institution. In Tom McCarthy’s splen­did, crack­ling ode to jour­nal­ism, the “Spot­light” in­ves­tiga­tive team at The Bos­ton Globe tack­les pe­dophilia and its coverup within the Church. The se­ries won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003. McCarthy is care­ful not to glam­or­ize his re­porters. They’re played as hard­work­ing stiffs by a su­perb cast that in­cludes Mark Ruf­falo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McA­dams, and Liev Schreiber, and it will be hard to over­look any of them come Os­car time. This movie will evoke com­par­i­son to All the Pres­i­dent’s Men. There’s a lot of the same shoe-leather ap­proach, con­ducted here in an even lower key, which in a per­verse way gives it even more drama. McCarthy keeps nib­bling at the ques­tion of how this story could have re­mained buried for so long. Part of it has to do with the power of the Church, and the shame of the vic­tims. And some of it has to do with the cozy re­la­tion­ships among the city’s power in­sti­tu­tions. At the end of the film, the truly stag­ger­ing ex­tent and reach of this scan­dal is re­vealed.

Rated R. 128 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas. (Jonathan Richards)

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAK­ENS

It has been more than 30 years since the Rebel Al­liance de­feated the Em­pire in Re­turn of the Jedi (1983) but now the First Or­der has arisen from the Em­pire’s ashes, want­ing con­trol of the galaxy. With the help of Finn (John Boyega), a re­formed Stormtrooper, the Re­sis­tance (for­merly the Rebel Al­liance) seeks the as­sis­tance of Luke Sky­walker (Mark Hamill), who some be­lieve is only a leg­end. Finn joins Re­sis­tance

fighter Poe Dameron (Os­car Isaac) and Rey (Daisy Ri­d­ley), a scav­enger from the planet Jakku. They’re aided in their ef­forts by Han Solo (Har­ri­son Ford) and Chew­bacca (Peter May­hew) while re­lent­lessly pur­sued by the First Or­der’s Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who’s bent on light­ing up the cos­mos with a Death Star-like weapon of awesome power. But Rey is har­bor­ing a se­cret power of her own that could change all of their des­tinies. Helmed by J.J. Abrams, this spir­ited sev­enth chap­ter in the saga is the Star Wars movie you’ve been wait­ing for. Ap­plaud you will. Rated PG-13. 135 min­utes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; Dream­Catcher. (Michael Abatemarco)

THEEB

Theeb (Jacir Eid Al-Hwi­etat) lives with his Be­douin tribe in the wilds of the Ot­toman Em­pire in 1916. His fa­ther has died, so Theeb is learn­ing life skills — how to shoot a gun, how to wa­ter the camels — from his older brother Hus­sein (Hus­sein Salameh Al-Sweil­hiy­een). When Hus­sein is sent to guide a Bri­tish of­fi­cer to a se­cret lo­ca­tion, Theeb fol­lows them. This gor­geous film is told en­tirely from Theeb’s point of view and is at heart a lit­tle boy’s ad­ven­ture tale — but this story is tied to how progress has changed the coun­try­side and the liveli­hoods of the tribes that in­habit it. Plot and char­ac­ter de­tails are finely wrought, with Al-Hwi­etat turn­ing in a sub­tle, en­tranc­ing per­for­mance in which he con­veys in­ti­mate com­fort with heat and sand, the vis­ceral re­lief of slaked thirst, and a fierce de­ter­mi­na­tion not to al­low a mys­te­ri­ous stranger to fur­ther be­tray him. Not rated. 100 min­utes. In Ara­bic with sub­ti­tles.

The Screen. (Jen­nifer Levin)

YOUTH

In this lat­est homage to Fellini from Paolo Sor­rentino (The Great Beauty), two old friends con­tem­plate life from op­po­site per­spec­tives in a lux­u­ri­ous Alpine re­sort. Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) is a cel­e­brated com­poser/con­duc­tor who has turned his back on his past and his fu­ture and is wal­low­ing in the present. Mick Boyle (Har­vey Kei­tel) is a cel­e­brated film di­rec­tor, but the cel­e­bra­tion is wind­ing down. Sor­rentino’s premise of char­ac­ters gath­ered at a grand ho­tel is not a fresh one, but the top-notch cast and the lovely sur­round­ings give us enough to enjoy a pleas­ant couple of hours. There are some strik­ing scenes and mo­ments. But Sor­rentino is too much in thrall to the mas­ter, Fellini; he never seems to get an orig­i­nal feel for the ma­te­rial, and make it mat­ter. Not rated. 118 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas. (Jonathan Richards)

The ac­tress and the pick­pocket: Anna Mag­nani and Ben Gaz­zara in The Pas­sion­ate Thief, at Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts

The Pearl But­ton, at The Screen

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