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THE BIG SHORT Adam McKay’s Os­car-nom­i­nated movie (in the Best Pic­ture, Di­rec­tor, and Sup­port­ing Ac­tor cat­e­gories) 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 Academy Award-nom­i­nee Chris­tian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Steve Carell. Rated R. 130 min­utes.

Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards) An Amer­i­can nanny (Lau­ren Co­han) is hired for a job in a re­mote English vil­lage and finds that her charge is ac­tu­ally a life-size doll. At first, this seems like an easy, if ex­tremely weird, as­sign­ment. It be­comes more chal­leng­ing when she sus­pects that the boy is alive — and evil. Rated PG-13. 98 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Dream­Catcher. (Not re­viewed)

THE DAN­ISH GIRL Ed­die Red­mayne, win­ner of last year’s best ac­tor Academy Award for his por­trayal of physi­cist Stephen Hawk­ing, tosses his hat in the ring again with an­other Os­car-nom­i­nated 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)

DEAD­POOL This spinoff of the X-Men fran­chise thumbs its nose at su­per­hero tropes right from the open­ing cred­its, which in­cludes a list of stereo­types (a Bri­tish vil­lain, a hot chick) in lieu of the char­ac­ters’ names. From there, the indestructible su­per-an­ti­hero Dead­pool (Ryan Reynolds) breaks the fourth wall and makes crude and self-ref­er­en­tial gags while en route to killing the Bri­tish vil­lain (Ed Skrein), who dis­fig­ured him, and win­ning back his hot chick (Morena Bac­carin) with the help of some D-lis­ters from the X-Men. The film doesn’t avoid the clichés it lam­poons, par­tic­u­larly in telling the char­ac­ter’s

ori­gin story — which is like ev­ery su­per­hero back­story, only with more can­cer and tor­ture — but the jokes of­ten work, even if they can be overly puerile. The movie was made on the cheap (by su­per­hero-movie stan­dards), and looks it, stretch­ing it­self too far over a cou­ple of set pieces. Dead­pool pro­vides an ir­rev­er­ent new an­gle on the span­dex genre, but it’s never quite as mad­cap as it thinks it is. Rated R. 108 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; Dream­Catcher. (Robert Ker)

THE FINEST HOURS In 1952, two oil tankers were cap­sized by a ter­ri­ble storm off the coast of Cape Cod. Four Coast Guards­men were sent to res­cue the crews. This film, based on the 2009 book of the same name, tells this true story with disas­ter-movie ef­fects and what prom­ises to be an in­spi­ra­tional fi­nale. Chris Pine, Casey Af­fleck, and Ben Foster star. Rated PG-13. 117 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal DeVar­gas. (Not re­viewed)

45 YEARS Ge­off ( Tom Courte­nay) opens a let­ter to learn that the body of a for­mer girl­friend, Katya, has been found in the Swiss glacier where she fell to her death a half- cen­tury be­fore. The news rocks him and his wife, Kate (Char­lotte Ram­pling, nom­i­nated for a Best Ac­tress Os­car). Di­rec­tor An­drew Haigh uses this story and the con­sid­er­able tal­ents of his vet­eran stars to ex­plore the way lives can turn on a mo­ment. Katya’s life turned and ended on the slip of a foot. Ge­off and Kate’s life to­gether — span­ning a com­fort­able 45 years that they’re about to cel­e­brate — turns on the open­ing of that let­ter. Ge­off is be­gin­ning the slow, painful process of los­ing his abil­ity to re­mem­ber, and here comes Katya, a dis­tant but vivid mem­ory, pre­served in ice, her body as fresh as it was on that fate­ful day. Courte­nay and Ram­pling de­liver on their life­time of ex­pe­ri­ence, giv­ing us touch­ing, haunt­ingly nu­anced per­for­mances that re­flect not only the char­ac­ters they are play­ing here, but their own youth­ful selves as well. Rated R. 95 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

HAIL, CAE­SAR! It’s a ma­jor Hol­ly­wood stu­dio lot in the early 1950s, and on ev­ery cor­ner they’re shoot­ing clas­sic genre pic­tures — a mer­maid ex­trav­a­ganza (Scar­lett Jo­hans­son), a singing Western (Alden Ehren­re­ich), a Gene Kelly- es­que sailor’s mu­si­cal (Chan­ning Ta­tum), a Man­hat­tan pen­t­house drama (Ralph Fi­ennes), and a bib­li­cal epic: Hail, Cae­sar! A Tale of the

Christ (Ge­orge Clooney). The miss­ing genre is a film noir, but that’s in the movie that sur­rounds all this, the Coen Brothers’ slyly af­fec­tion­ate, win­ning satire of the dream fac­to­ries that turned out the movies of their child­hood. Gran­ite-faced Josh Brolin is the stu­dio fixer who deals with prob­lems on all of the sets, in­clud­ing the kid­nap­ping of a ma­jor star (in Ro­man cos­tume) by a das­tardly cell of Com­mie screen­writ­ers. There are a few seams and soft spots, but over­all it’s glo­ri­ous fun. Rated PG-13. 106 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

HOW TO BE SIN­GLE Rebel Wil­son, who rose to fame thanks in large part to the

Pitch Per­fect films, brings her sassy, raunchy on-screen per­sona to this com­edy, in which she plays a young woman who just wants to help a friend (Dakota John­son) en­joy the sin­gle life in New York City. This life nat­u­rally in­volves a lot of pam­per­ing, al­co­hol, clubs, and one-night stands — all at­tended to with zany aplomb. Rated R. 110 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; Dream­Catcher. (Not re­viewed)

IN­GRID BERGMAN: IN HER OWN WORDS In­grid Bergman never threw any­thing away, and Stig Björk­man’s docu-por­trait draws on her fam­ily pho­to­graphs, reels of home movies, and di­aries and jour­nals. Bergman won Amer­ica’s heart with her en­chant­ing smile and poignant aura of mys­tery in movies like Casablanca, lost it when she fled Hol­ly­wood and hus­band for a ca­reer, af­fair, mar­riage, and chil­dren (not strictly in that or­der) with Ital­ian di­rec­tor Roberto Ros­sellini, and then won it again as time and evolv­ing stan­dards healed the wounds she’d in­flicted on the Pu­ri­tan Amer­i­can psy­che. “I re­gret the things I didn’t do, not what I did,” she tells a reporter. “I was given courage and I was given a sense of ad­ven­ture. And that has car­ried me along, with a sense of hu­mor and a lit­tle bit of com­mon sense. And it’s been a very rich life.” Not rated. 114 min­utes. In English, Swedish, French, and Ital­ian with sub­ti­tles. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)

JA­NIS: LIT­TLE GIRL BLUE Forty-five years af­ter Ja­nis Jo­plin died of a heroin over­dose in Los An­ge­les, her friends, rel­a­tives, lovers, and col­leagues still get emo­tional when spec­u­lat­ing what more the rock pi­o­neer might have done had she lived be­yond her 27th year. We hear from them through in­ter­views, home movies, let­ters, and re­hearsal and con­cert footage in Amy Berg’s new doc­u­men­tary. Berg’s film al­lows view­ers to dis­cover what made Jo­plin a leg­end de­spite the brevity of her tran­scen­dent ca­reer. Not rated. 105 min­utes. The Screen.

(Sandy Nelson)

KUNG FU PANDA 3 The third film in the an­i­mated Kung Fu Panda saga finds the Fu­ri­ous Five un­der at­tack by a su­per­nat­u­ral vil­lain named Kai (J. K. Sim­mons) and Po the panda (voiced by Jack Black once more) re­united with his es­tranged father (Bryan Cranston). Po and his pop travel to their se­cret panda com­mu­nity, but when Kai finds the vil­lage, Po must train a whole fight­ing force of kung-fu pan­das. The an­i­ma­tion and ac­tion is up to the se­ries’ typ­i­cally beau­ti­ful, colorful highs, and the jokes land like karate chops, but the first film in the se­ries is still the most novel and af­fect­ing. Rated PG. 95 min­utes. Screens in 3-Dand 2-Dat Re­gal Sta­dium 14. Screens in 2-Donly at Vi­o­let Crown; Dream­Catcher. (Robert Ker)

OS­CAR  NOM­I­NATED SHORT FILMS Watch­ing the Os­car- nom­i­nated shorts is a speedy tour of in­ter­na­tional sto­ry­telling. In the live-ac­tion cat­e­gory, Ave Maria, a fam­ily of Is­raeli set­tlers crashes their car on the grounds of a con­vent in the West Bank. In the nu­anced live-ac­tion drama,

Day One, an Afghan-Amer­i­can woman be­gins work as an in­ter­preter for the U. S. forces in war torn Afghanistan. In Ev­ery­thing

Will Be Okay, an­other live-ac­tion drama, a di­vorced father takes his eight-year- old daugh­ter out for a sur­real week­end. Among the an­i­ma­tion nom­i­nees is Bear Street, in which a soli­tary bear ped­dles his me­chan­i­cal dio­rama. Cloning will play a sig­nif­i­cant part in the fu­ture, es­pe­cially for those who are well off and hope to live for­ever; World of To­mor­row, an an­i­mated drama, ex­plores this premise. Not rated. Var­i­ous run­ning times. The Screen. (Priyanka Ku­mar)

THE REVENANT The ad­ven­tures of Hugh Glass, one of the leg­endary moun­tain men of the Amer­i­can fron­tier, make for spell­bind­ing sto­ry­telling. Whether they make a spell­bind­ing movie is most likely in the eye of the be­holder. The facts of this tale are grisly, and di­rec­tor Ale­jan­dro G. Iñár­ritu (last year’s Os­car- win­ner with Bird­man) hews closely to them. Mauled by a bear and left to die by his com­pan­ions, Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) in­cred­i­bly sur­vived, made it back over hun­dreds of miles of wilder­ness to civ­i­liza­tion, and sought re­venge on the men who had aban­doned him. A man be­ing at­tacked by a bear is riv­et­ing cinema; a man drag­ging him­self over hun­dreds of miles of frozen land­scape is not. The true story of Hugh Glass is a tes­ta­ment to man’s ca­pac­ity for en­durance. For bet­ter or for worse, so is the movie, which has none­the­less drawn 12 Os­car nom­i­na­tions, in­clud­ing Best Pic­ture, Di­rec­tor, Ac­tor, and Sup­port­ing Ac­tor. Rated R. 158 min­utes. In English, French, Pawnee, and Arikara with some sub­ti­tles. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; Dream­Catcher. (Jonathan Richards)

RIDE ALONG 2 The pair­ing of Ice Cube’s bad cop with Kevin Hart as the bel­liger­ent, of­ten-an­noy­ing brother- in- law was such a hit that the duo is get­ting back into the squad car for a se­quel. This time, the set­ting shifts to Mi­ami, but the premise re­mains the same: There’s a bad guy to fight, a few ac­tion se­quences, and lots of odd- cou­ple com­edy. Rated PG-13. 101 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Dream­Catcher. (Not re­viewed)

ROOM This adap­ta­tion of Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel (with a screen­play by the au­thor) from di­rec­tor Lenny Abra­ham­son is both sus­pense­ful and deeply mov­ing, — and in the run­ning for sev­eral Os­cars, in­clud­ing Best Pic­ture, Di­rec­tor, and Ac­tress. 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)

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 Catholic Church. McCarthy is care­ful not to glam­or­ize his re­porters. They’re played as hard-work­ing stiffs by a su­perb cast that in­cludes Mark Ruf­falo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McA­dams, and Liev Schreiber. 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. The film is up for sev­eral Academy Awards, in­clud­ing Best Pic­ture, Di­rec­tor, and Sup­port­ing Ac­tor and Ac­tress.

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

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAK­ENS It has been more than 30 years since 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 seeks the as­sis­tance of Luke Sky­walker

(Mark Hamill), who some be­lieve is only a leg­end. Finn joins Re­sis­tance fighter Poe Dameron (Os­car Isaac), the scav­enger Rey (Daisy Ri­d­ley), Han Solo (Har­ri­son Ford), and Chew­bacca while pur­sued by the First Or­der’s Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who’s bent on light­ing up the cos­mos with a Death Star-like weapon. Helmed by J. J. Abrams, this spir­ited sev­enth chap­ter in the saga is the Star Wars movie you’ve been wait­ing for — and nom­i­nated for sev­eral Os­cars, in­clud­ing Best Vis­ual Ef­fects and Score. Ap­plaud you will. Rated PG-13. 135 min­utes. Screens in 2- D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Michael Abatemarco)

THEEB Theeb (Jacir Eid Al-Howei­tat) 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-Sal­i­heen). When Hus­sein is sent to guide a Bri­tish of­fi­cer to a se­cret lo­ca­tion, Theeb fol­lows them. This gor­geous film, nom­i­nated for a Best For­eign Lan­guage Film Os­car, 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-Howei­tat 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)

WHERE TO IN­VADE NEXT In this good-hearted doc­u­men­tary of ideas, Michael Moore sets off for Europe to see what other coun­tries have that we don’t, and claims what he can for the Stars and Stripes. He in­vades Italy first, then France, and cuts a swath through other Euro­pean coun­tries, with a side trip to North Africa. In each place he fo­cuses on an as­pect of the cul­ture — political, eco­nomic, or ed­u­ca­tional — that he can bring home as booty. On one level, this movie might seem to smack of wide- eyed naiveté. But Moore’s thrust is sub­ver­sively canny. He hasn’t in­vaded Europe to ex­pose its rot­ten un­der­belly; he’s there to cap­ture the best of its ideas. And in do­ing so, he pro­vides for all of us — whether we’re lib­eral, con­ser­va­tive, lib­er­tar­ian, or march­ing to the drum­mer of our choos­ing — a smor­gas­bord of ideas on which to chew. Rated R.

110 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas. (Jonathan Richards)

ZOOLANDER 2 Ben Stiller once again dons out­ra­geous clothes and puck­ers up for the cam­era as the dimwit­ted su­per­model Derek Zoolander. Shortly af­ter the events of that 2001 movie, Zoolander’s wife died, his son was taken from him, and he dis­ap­peared into ob­scu­rity. The be­lated se­quel finds him seek­ing re­demp­tion with the help of his old pal Hansel (Owen Wil­son), and fac­ing off against the evil Mu­gatu (Will Fer­rell) again. There are some hu­mor­ous gags and in-jokes about the fash­ion in­dus­try, as well as a slew of hit-and-miss celebrity cameos. Some of this is amus­ing, but none of it re­ally jus­ti­fies the movie’s ex­is­tence. Rated PG-13. 102 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14;

Vi­o­let Crown; Dream­Catcher. (Robert Ker)

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