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AL­LIED

Robert Ze­meckis’ tale of ro­mance and in­trigue in World War II starts off like a rip­ping yarn, as Cana­dian RAF pi­lot and spy Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) parachutes into the Moroc­can desert and hooks up with his con­tact, the beau­ti­ful French agent Mar­i­anne Beauséjour (Mar­ion Cotil­lard). Their as­sign­ment is to in­fil­trate Nazi cir­cles in Casablanca and carry out an as­sas­si­na­tion by pos­ing as a French mar­ried cou­ple. This de­cep­tion is so suc­cess­ful that they fall in love, marry, and

set­tle down in Lon­don, where they have a baby and Mar­i­anne re­tires while Max con­tin­ues in wartime in­tel­li­gence. But there’s a catch, and the last half of the film de­votes it­self to a rev­e­la­tion that will test their mar­riage and their very lives. The movie, like the cou­ple, is much hap­pier in Casablanca, with der­ringdo em­braced by lush lo­cales. Cotil­lard is beau­ti­ful, sexy, and mys­te­ri­ous, but glum sto­icism does not show Pitt to his best ad­van­tage. The plot strains with Panzer-sized holes, and by the end, the movie labors to tap the tear ducts in the Lon­don rain. De­spite all that, there’s some old-fash­ioned fun to be had. Rated R. 124 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas; Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Jonathan Richards)

AL­MOST CHRIST­MAS

Danny Glover, Gabrielle Union, Omar Epps, Mo’Nique, and Jessie T. Usher play mem­bers of a dys­func­tional fam­ily who re­unite for the hol­i­days for the first time since the ma­tri­arch passed away. They at­tempt to make it through the gath­er­ing with ex­ces­sive drink­ing, rough touch-foot­ball games, flirt­ing, and try­ing to fix each other up with sin­gle friends of the fam­ily. Rated PG-13. 113 min­utes. DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

AQUAR­IUS

Clara has lost a lot. Her youth is long gone, her hus­band is long dead, her nest is empty, her right breast is a dis­tant mem­ory, and now they’re com­ing for her home. But she has a lot left, too. She has plenty of money, an in­domitable at­ti­tude, an un­quench­able beauty, and a lust for life — and she has the great So­nia Braga to play her. A de­vel­oper wants to tear down the sea­side Aquar­ius apart­ment build­ing, in which Clara is the lone re­main­ing ten­ant; as she digs in her heels, things get ugly. Di­rec­tor Kle­ber Men­donça Filho has built this story around a num­ber of themes that in­clude fam­ily, class, sex, dig­nity, and preda­tory busi­ness prac­tices. Braga is the main event here — her im­pe­ri­ous, stylish, gutsy Clara is the pri­mary rea­son to see this movie, but not the only one. Not rated. 142 min­utes. The Screen. (Jonathan Richards)

AR­RIVAL

Ris­ing di­rec­tor De­nis Vil­leneuve (Si­cario), adapt­ing Ted Chiang’s story about large space­crafts that have landed all over Earth, of­fers a quiet thriller that plays like an art­house ver­sion of Close En­coun­ters of the Third

Kind. Amy Adams stars as a bril­liant lin­guist who, along with a physi­cist (Jeremy Ren­ner), is charged by an Army colonel (For­est Whi­taker) to com­mu­ni­cate with the aliens. This the­mat­i­cally rich story un­folds slowly, of­ten with­out mu­sic, but never feels slow. It of­fers philo­soph­i­cal ques­tions about how we ex­pe­ri­ence life and em­pha­sizes the im­por­tance of lan­guage and to­geth­er­ness — the story’s big­gest bar­ri­ers are not be­tween peo­ple and aliens but be­tween Earth’s na­tions. Ex­pect a few big plot twists, which not only daz­zle you with their clev­er­ness but also add re­newed emo­tional heft to ev­ery­thing that has come be­fore. Rated PG-13. 116 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Robert Ker)

BAD SANTA 2

Billy Bob Thorn­ton reprises his 2003 role as Wil­lie, a crude and slovenly Santa Claus. Di­rec­tor Terry Zwigoff isn’t back (he’s re­placed by Mark Wa­ters, di­rec­tor of Mean Girls), and two of the orig­i­nal film’s co-stars (Bernie Mac and John Rit­ter) are no longer with us. The se­quel of­fers a lot of raunchy hu­mor, a plot about the at­tempts by Wil­lie and his “elf” Marcus (Tony Cox) to rip off a Chicago char­ity, and a cast that in­cludes Kathy Bates and Christina Hen­dricks. Rated R. 92 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

DOC­TOR STRANGE

The em­i­nently watch­able trio of Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch, Tilda Swin­ton, and Chi­we­tel Ejio­for ush­ers au­di­ences be­yond the veil in this ex­pertly pitched adap­ta­tion of the trip-o-delic comics cre­ated by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Cum­ber­batch’s Dr. Stephen Strange, an ar­ro­gant sur­geon who en­rolls at a meta­phys­i­cal dojo af­ter sus­tain­ing in­juries to his hands, is a flawed but lik­able hero and a re­luc­tant con­vert to the “mys­tic arts.” Though there are tid­bits for the Marvel faith­ful, the movie re­fresh­ingly keeps ref­er­ences to the brand’s end­less tie-in prod­ucts to a min­i­mum. It’s also the rare film that truly ben­e­fits from com­puter an­i­ma­tion and 3-D cinematography, which are well suited to its pandi­men­sional set­tings. Cum­ber­batch and com­pany keep things lively, de­liv­er­ing the snappy di­a­logue with pre­cise comic tim­ing. Per­haps the most en­ter­tain­ing char­ac­ter — a mag­i­cal cloak — has no lines at all. Rated PG-13. 115 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jeff Acker)

THE DRESSMAKER

In this film based on the novel by Ros­alie Ham, Kate Winslet stars as Tilly Dun­nage, a dressmaker who in the 1950s re­turns to her home­town in the Aus­tralian Out­back. She and her so­phis­ti­cated haute-cou­ture de­signs in­vig­o­rate the ru­ral town with new en­ergy. How­ever, she also har­bors a se­cret and is look­ing to ex­act sweet re­venge. Rated R. 119 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas. (Not re­viewed)

THE EDGE OF SEVEN­TEEN

As if high school weren’t hard enough for Na­dine (Hailee Ste­in­feld), she sud­denly be­comes even more iso­lated when her big brother (Blake Jen­ner) starts dat­ing her best friend (Ha­ley Lu Richard­son). Her for­tunes turn, how­ever, when she strikes up a friend­ship with a boy (Hay­den Szeto) who, like her, is a bit of a so­cial out­cast. Woody Har­rel­son plays the sar­cas­tic his­tory teacher who serves as Na­dine’s men­tor in this foul-mouthed com­ing-of-age film. Rated R. 104 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas. (Not re­viewed)

FAN­TAS­TIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

J.K. Rowl­ing’s screen­writ­ing de­but ex­pands the world of wiz­ardry she cre­ated in the Harry Pot­ter books to 1920s New York, cen­ter­ing on the au­thor of a ref­er­ence guide to mag­i­cal crea­tures. The plot is con­vo­luted, and the com­puter-an­i­ma­tion de­part­ment gets car­ried away, in­dulging in pro­tracted car­toon­ish chase se­quences as Newt Sca­man­der (Ed­die Red­mayne) and a trio of com­pan­ions (Kather­ine Water­ston, Ali­son Su­dol, and Dan Fogler) at­tempt to herd a menagerie of es­caped beast­ies. Por­tions of the movie are too scary for younger kids, while the sen­ti­men­tal­ity and oc­ca­sional corni­ness may test adults’ pa­tience. But Rowl­ing’s core themes — re­spect for diver­sity, the value of learn­ing and open-mind­ed­ness, and the im­por­tance of sup­port­ive friend­ships — in­fuse the scram­bled nar­ra­tive with warmth, and there is comic chem­istry be­tween the ac­tors. Rated PG-13. 133 min­utes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. Screens in 2-D only at Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Jeff Acker)

HACK­SAW RIDGE

Mel Gib­son re­turns to the di­rec­tor’s chair for the first time since 2006’s Apoca­lypto to tell this World War II tale about an Army medic named Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), who re­fuses to fight or kill peo­ple. Doss’ peers de­ride him for his paci­fism, but when he saves many of their lives and be­comes the first con­sci­en­tious ob­jec­tor to be awarded the Medal of Honor, he earns their re­spect. Vince Vaughn, Hugo Weav­ing, and Sam Wor­thing­ton co-star. Rated R. 131 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

THE HANDMAIDEN

Chan-wook Park’s erotic thriller is a dev­il­ish delight and an im­mensely sat­is­fy­ing cin­e­matic ex­pe­ri­ence. A con man pos­ing as a Ja­panese count (Jung-woo Ha) in 1930s Korea has a plan to ob­tain the for­tune of a Ja­panese heiress named Lady Hideko (Min-hee Kim), who lives a shel­tered ex­is­tence on her op­pres­sive un­cle’s se­cluded es­tate. The count re­cruits a pick­pocket named Sookhee (Tae Ri Kim) to pose as her handmaiden and aid the count in his ef­forts to se­duce her, marry her, and then de­clare her in­sane and steal her for­tune. But Sookhee soon finds her­self drawn to Hideko, and her own feel­ings over­take her. The film has more plot twists than you can shake a stick at, but most are mas­ter­fully han­dled by Park, who em­ploys his usual fetishis­tic zeal. It’s a stylish foray into eroti­cism that rev­els in the grad­ual dis­cov­ery of se­crets and de­sires. Not rated. 144 min­utes. In Korean and Ja­panese with sub­ti­tles. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Michael Abatemarco)

HELL OR HIGH WA­TER

New Mex­ico dou­bles for Texas in this film about two broth­ers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) who take to rob­bing banks while a pair of ex­pe­ri­enced law­men (Jeff Bridges and Gil Birm­ing­ham) doggedly pur­sue them. As a heist-ac­tion film, the story of­fers lit­tle that’s new, but Tay­lor Sheri­dan’s in­sight­ful script and David Mackenzie’s deft di­rec­tion trans­form the tale into an in­volv­ing drama about the bonds of love and loy­alty and the lengths to which mod­ern-day out­laws and law­men will go to up­hold their re­spec­tive codes of the West. Rated R. 102 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas. (Robert Nott)

IN­CAR­NATE

In the lat­est hor­ror flick in­debted to The Ex­or­cist, Aaron Eck­hart plays Dr. Seth Em­ber, a sci­en­tist who has the abil­ity to en­ter the sub­con­scious minds of peo­ple who are pos­sessed. This un­en­vi­able gift is put to the test when he is asked to help a boy (David Ba­zouz) who is un­der the con­trol of a de­mon that has pow­ers that the doc­tor has never seen be­fore. Rated PG-13. 91 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed)

LOV­ING

As late as a half cen­tury ago, in Virginia and a num­ber of other states where the “pe­cu­liar in­sti­tu­tion” had flour­ished, it was still against the law for a man and a woman to marry if one were white and the other black. This is the painfully re­cent world writer-di­rec­tor Jeff Ni­chols re­vis­its to tell the true story of the ap­pro­pri­ately named Lov­ing fam­ily, Richard (white) and Mil­dred (part African Amer­i­can, part Chero­kee), sen­si­tively played by Joel Edger­ton and Ruth Negga. This quiet, unas­sum­ing film, short on court­room the­atrics, makes a mov­ing state­ment about the le­gal right to marry in­ter­ra­cially, es­tab­lished by 1967’s

Lov­ing v. Virginia Supreme Court de­ci­sion, which swept aside cen­turies of mis­ce­gena­tion laws. Rated PG-13. 123 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

A MAN CALLED OVE

The re­wards of this Swedish film about a cur­mud­geonly old man — well, he’s fifty-nine, but he’s an old fifty-nine — are in the ex­e­cu­tion, not the con­cept. Very lit­tle here reaches be­yond the clichés of the old grouch grad­u­ally soft­ened by ex­po­sure to chil­dren, cats, and other heart­warm­ing

el­e­ments. But Rolf Lass­gård, in the ti­tle role, does his best, and his best is al­most good enough. Ove’s re­peated sui­cide at­tempts — he wants to join his re­cently de­ceased wife, Sonja (Ida Engvoll) — pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for flash­backs and al­low us to ex­plore how he got this way. “Fate is the sum to­tal of our stu­pid­ity,” he ob­serves. The old saws that drive this film may be no more than we de­serve, but their sum to­tal is ap­peal­ing and some­times funny, and they have pro­pelled this movie into be­ing cho­sen as Swe­den’s For­eign Lan­guage Os­car sub­mis­sion. Rated PG-13. 116 min­utes. In Swedish with sub­ti­tles. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)

MOANA

Dis­ney An­i­ma­tion has been on a cre­ative and com­mer­cial hot streak with Frozen, Big Hero 6, and Zootopia, and their lat­est is a crowd-pleas­ing take on Poly­ne­sian mythol­ogy. Moana (Auli’i Cravalho), the daugh­ter of a Pa­cific Is­lands chief­tain, is cho­sen to save her peo­ple, and with the burly demigod Maui (Dwayne John­son), she sets sail to re­turn a mys­ti­cal stone to a vol­cano-like vil­lain. Lively mu­sic, in part by Lin-Manuel Mi­randa of Hamil­ton fame, buoys the film’s first half, while imag­i­na­tive ad­ven­ture se­quences pep­per the voy­age’s back end. The film’s run­ning time is fat­tened by an over­long first act and ex­ces­sive bick­er­ing be­tween Moana and Maui, but it’s a win­some bit of es­capism and another strong ef­fort by the stu­dio to stick a pin in the Dis­ney princess stereo­type. It’s also as­ton­ish­ing how much com­puter an­i­ma­tion has im­proved in the last decade — the trop­i­cal vi­su­als are so gor­geous and vivid that it’s nearly be­yond be­lief. Rated PG. 113 min­utes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. Screens in 2-D only at Vi­o­let Crown; Dream-Catcher. (Robert Ker)

MOONLIGHT

Writer-di­rec­tor Barry Jenk­ins has crafted a pow­er­ful Os­car con­tender with his story of an African-Amer­i­can boy grow­ing up sen­si­tive and sex­u­ally un­cer­tain in the ma­cho jun­gle of a Mi­ami slum. We see his cen­tral char­ac­ter, Ch­i­ron, as a child (Alex Hib­bert), a teenager (Ash­ton San­ders), and a man (Tre­vante Rhodes). He has a drug-ad­dicted mother (Naomie Har­ris), no fa­ther, a crack-deal­ing men­tor (Ma­her­shala Ali), a gang of tor­ment­ing bul­lies, and one friend, Kevin, played in suc­ces­sion by Jaden Piner, Jhar­rel Jerome, and An­dré Hol­land. With up-close vi­su­als and hand-held cam­era work, Jenk­ins en­hances the sense of a claus­tro­pho­bic ex­is­tence with no es­cape. He gets great work from his team of ac­tors as Ch­i­ron moves from child­hood to the adult world. It’s a sen­si­tive, mov­ing story of grow­ing up, com­ing out, and self-re­al­iza­tion in a des­per­ate ma­cho world. Rated R. 110 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

SEED: THE UN­TOLD STORY

The earth’s food sup­ply is in dan­ger, largely ow­ing to agro­chem­i­cal and agri­cul­tural biotech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies like Mon­santo patent­ing seeds that have ex­isted for thou­sands of years and legally re­strict­ing farm­ers from grow­ing them. These prac­tices limit bio­di­ver­sity and put the nour­ish­ment of hu­man­ity in the hands of big busi­ness. This beau­ti­fully made, in­spir­ing film doc­u­ments the heroic ef­forts of seed savers and or­ganic farm­ers who are try­ing to re­gain con­trol of their land and liveli­hoods. Not rated. 94 min­utes. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema. (Jen­nifer Levin)

SHUT IN

Naomi Watts plays a child psy­chol­o­gist who repairs to ru­ral New Eng­land af­ter a car ac­ci­dent kills her hus­band and par­a­lyzes her son (Char­lie Heaton). She starts pro­vid­ing ther­apy, and even­tu­ally room and board, for a grief-stricken young boy (Ja­cob Trem­blay). While in her care, how­ever, the boy dis­ap­pears in a snow­storm and is pre­sumed dead. Af­ter a se­ries of scary events, she soon sus­pects that he — or his ghost — is ac­tu­ally in her house. Rated PG-13. 91 min­utes. DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

A STREET CAT NAMED BOB

In 2007, James Bowen was a re­cov­er­ing ad­dict and for­merly home­less man in Lon­don, busk­ing on the streets for a small in­come and liv­ing in sup­ported hous­ing. One day, a cat showed up at his door and wouldn’t go away. He tried to find an owner, and when that failed, he took the cat with him ev­ery­where. He got no­tice in the me­dia and spun that into a book deal. The re­sult, A Street Cat Named Bob, be­came a best­seller and even­tu­ally spawned this film adap­ta­tion, in which Bowen is played by Luke Tread­away. Not rated. 103 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas. (Not re­viewed)

TROLLS

For those who have hoped that the wide-eyed, crazy-coiffed, mul­ti­col­ored troll dolls would get an an­i­mated movie run through with ra­dio hits, your wait is over — Justin Tim­ber­lake and Gwen Ste­fani are among the ac­tors pro­vid­ing both voice work and mu­sic here. Anna Ken­drick voices the cheer­ful Poppy, who teams up with Branch (Tim­ber­lake) to save their friends from gi­ant mon­sters. Zooey Deschanel, John Cleese, and Rus­sell Brand also lend their voices. Rated PG. 92 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Dream-Catcher. (Not re­viewed)

Casey Af­fleck in Manch­ester by the Sea, at Re­gal Sta­dium 14 and Vi­o­let Crown

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