Not rated. 100 minutes. In Basque with subtitles. The Screen. See review, Page 34.
The first horror movie of 2016 stars Natalie Dormer as Sara, a woman who senses that something is terribly wrong with her twin sister. She travels to Japan and searches for her sibling in a mysterious forest at the foot of Mount Fuji. Sara enters the woods, infamous as a place where suicides occur, on a rescue mission. When the sun goes down, she must rely on her survival instincts against all of those spooky ghosts. Rated PG-13. 95 minutes. Regal Stadium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not reviewed)
Rated PG-13. 79 minutes. In English, French, and Japanese with subtitles. Center for Contemporary Arts. See review, Page 33.
PERFORMANCE AT THE SCREEN
The series of high-definition screenings continues with a showing of The Lady of the Camellias performed by members of Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet. Choreographer John Neumeier’s work is based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas and features prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova in the title role. 11:15 a.m.
Sunday, Jan. 10, only. The Screen. (Not reviewed)
Rated R. 158 minutes. In English, French, Pawnee, and Arikara with some subtitles. Regal Stadium 14; Violet Crown; DreamCatcher. See review, Page 32.
THE WINTER’S TALE
Judi Dench stars as Paulina and Kenneth Branagh plays Leontes in this staging of Shakespeare’s play, which is co-directed by Branagh and Rob Ashford and performed by Branagh’s Londonbased theater company. This is Dench’s third time tackling a role in the play, having portrayed Hermione and Perdita in past productions. Center for Contemporary Arts. (Not reviewed)
NOW IN THEATERS
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 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; DreamCatcher. (Jonathan Richards)
BRIDGE OF SPIES
Steven Spielberg resurrects the fascinating tale of the Cold War prisoner exchange of Soviet spy Rudolf Abel and Francis Gary Powers, the U-2 pilot shot down over the Soviet Union. The story centers on James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks), a Brooklyn insurance lawyer and former Nuremberg prosecutor who is drafted to represent Abel and uphold the image of the American justice system. As he works with Abel (Mark Rylance), a bond of admiration forms between the two. The first half of the movie hums along nicely, despite an occasional Spielbergian weakness for movie cliché. The second half, which sets Donovan to work arranging the swap, has too many threads to follow and loses focus. Both Hanks and Rylance are terrific. The movie reaches a powerful dramatic climax with the exchange on a West Berlin bridge and then sputters on a little further, reaching for a feel-good ending. Rated PG-13. 141 minutes. Regal DeVargas. (Jonathan Richards)
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.
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) After the recent success of Spotlight, here is a movie about more 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. (Not reviewed)
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, sports-movie 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. DreamCatcher. (Robert Ker)
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
Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film centers on a couple of bounty hunters bringing their scores into a little Wyoming town to collect their rewards. Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) hitches a ride on a stagecoach chartered by a colleague named John Ruth (Kurt Russell), who is handcuffed to a nasty piece of work called Daisy Domergue, played with venomous glee by Jennifer Jason Leigh. And filling out the coach party is another hitchhiker, Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), who claims to be on his way to become the new sheriff of Red Rock. When they take shelter from a winter storm in a way station, they encounter a few more hateful characters, and the rest of the story unfolds in one room, like an Agatha Christie story, with mayhem, gore, foul language, and lots of blood. Leading the pack of swaggering, full-throated performances is Jackson, who is about as tough and smooth and vengeful as a man can be. And driving it all is Tarantino’s terrific storytelling screenplay, loaded with clever, nasty, exuberant dialogue and his love of movies. Rated R. 168 minutes, with a 15-minute intermission. Jean Cocteau Cinema; Regal Stadium 14; Violet Crown; DreamCatcher. (Jonathan Richards)
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)
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. (Molly Boyle)
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)
THE PEARL BUTTON
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)
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 DreamCatcher. (Not reviewed)
This adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel (with a screenplay by the author) from director Lenny Abrahamson is both suspenseful and deeply moving. It’s the harrowing tale of a young woman (Brie Larson) and her son (Jacob Tremblay) who are being held captive in a grungy 11-by-11-foot garden shed. It’s no one’s idea of a feel-good story, and in less capable hands, it could easily have been dark, melodramatic, or sensationalist. Instead, Abrahamson has created a gripping tale of survival and a tender depiction of a mother and son who save each other. Rated R. 118 minutes.
Regal DeVargas. (Laurel Gladden)
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. Regal Stadium 14; Violet Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not reviewed)
A sad tale’s best for winter: Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh in The Winter’s Tale, at the Center for Contemporary Arts
The Forest, at Regal Stadium 14 and DreamCatcher in Española