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AR­RIVAL

Ris­ing di­rec­tor De­nis Vil­leneuve, 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. Vi­o­let Crown. (Robert Ker)

AWAK­EN­ING IN TAOS

Us­ing rare pho­to­graphs, archival footage, and voiceovers based on Ma­bel Dodge Luhan’s own cor­re­spon­dences, tells the story of the art pa­tron’s early years as a so­cialite in Buf­falo through to her es­tab­lish­ment of a Taos haven for mod­ernist artists and writ­ers in­clud­ing D.H. Lawrence, Marsden Hart­ley, and Ge­or­gia O’Ke­effe. The film, nar­rated by Ali MacGraw with Les­lie Har­rell Dillen as Ma­bel Dodge Luhan, chron­i­cles Luhan’s sev­eral mar­riages, the deep spir­i­tual con­nec­tion she felt with her last hus­band Tony Lu­jan, and her strug­gle to find a place to ex­press her in­de­pen­dent na­ture. Not rated. 63 min­utes. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema. (Not re­viewed)

THE EA­GLE HUNTRESS

Train­ing golden ea­gles to aid the Kazakh hun­ters of Mon­go­lia has been a tra­di­tional skill, handed down from fa­ther to son, for gen­er­a­tions. The Ea­gle

Huntress tells the dra­matic story of one girl, thir­teen-year-old Aishol­pan Nur­gaiv, who trains with her fa­ther to be the first fe­male ea­gle hunter in her fam­ily. This mov­ing doc­u­men­tary by di­rec­tor Otto Bell, nar­rated by Daisy Ri­d­ley, bal­ances a por­trait of Kazakh fam­ily life and cul­ture with breath­tak­ing aerial footage of the Al­tai Moun­tains by cin­e­matog­ra­pher Si­mon Niblett. Aishol­pan in­hab­its a harsh, un­for­giv­ing ter­rain, where the Kaza­khs live in sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship with their en­vi­ron­ment and hunt out of ne­ces­sity. An in­ti­mate look at the re­la­tion­ship be­tween fa­ther and daugh­ter, the film is a feel­good, in­spi­ra­tional story for all ages, es­pe­cially for young girls. Rated G. 87 min­utes. In Kazakh with sub­ti­tles. Re­gal DeVar­gas. (Michael Abatemarco) FENCES It’s taken 30 years for Au­gust Wil­son’s prizewinning drama, Fences, to make it from Broad­way to the screen. Fences is about words, hopes and dreams, pride and anger — and about songs from the heart. Much of the film takes place in the back­yard of a house in a run­down black neigh­bor­hood of Pitts­burgh. The house be­longs to Troy Max­son, a fifty-three-year-old for­mer Ne­gro League ballplayer whose best years are be­hind him. Den­zel Wash­ing­ton, who plays Troy, also di­rects, and match­ing him stroke for stroke is the great Vi­ola Davis as Rose, Troy’s long-suf­fer­ing wife, who pro­vides wis­dom and bal­last to his larger-than-life mood swings. The apartheid that robs the dig­nity of a black man in Amer­ica is the fo­cus of Wil­son’s story, but in Davis’ Rose we see an­other rung down the lad­der: a black woman. Wash­ing­ton’s di­rec­tion hon­ors his fine cast, and cel­e­brates the words of the play­wright, which seem to have sur­vived al­most in­tact from the stage. Rated PG-13. 138 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards) HID­DEN FIG­URES This movie tells the story of three AfricanAmer­i­can women, Dorothy Vaughan (Oc­tavia Spencer), Kather­ine John­son (Taraji P. Henson), and Mary Jack­son (Janelle Monáe), bril­liant math­e­ma­ti­cians who were em­ployed in NASA’s pro­gram in the early ‘60s. Their jobs car­ried a sec­ond­class sta­tus that was de­fined by color and ex­ac­er­bated by gen­der. Di­rec­tor and co-screen­writer Theodore Melfi (St. Vin­cent) uses a tra­di­tional struc­ture in adapt­ing (with co-writer Al­li­son Shroeder) Mar­got Lee Shetterly’s non­fic­tion book about these pi­o­neer­ing women in the Amer­i­can space pro­gram. There’s noth­ing gritty or ground­break­ing in his sto­ry­telling tech­niques, but the com­fort­able, movie-mo­ment-strewn ap­proach seems to suit the tale, and moves it along in a way that’s ac­ces­si­ble, sat­is­fy­ing, and ex­tremely ef­fec­tive. Rated PG. 127 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Jonathan Richards) JACKIE Pablo Lar­raín’s Jackie fo­cuses on three days in 1963, from that fate­ful Nov. 22 mo­tor­cade in Dal­las through the state fu­neral for the slain pres­i­dent on the 25th. Natalie Port­man plays Jackie Kennedy, and she makes pierc­ingly real the an­guish, the dis­ori­en­ta­tion, and the de­ter­mi­na­tion of this young woman cop­ing with tragedy. De­ci­sions had to be made quickly, from the plan­ning of the fu­neral to the rushed re­moval from the White House. Port­man hits con­vinc­ing notes in con­vey­ing the hu­man drama, and there are stretches where she suc­ceeds in in­hab­it­ing the young widow — but there is also a sense of im­per­son­ation. Lar­raín, the gifted Chilean di­rec­tor, makes his Amer­i­can movie de­but here, and takes a de­cent stab at hu­man­iz­ing the per­son we have mythol­o­gized be­yond recog­ni­tion. But a real con­nec­tion re­mains elu­sive. Rated R. 100 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards) LA LA LAND The Great De­pres­sion of the 1930s gave rise to one of the great Amer­i­can art forms, the movie mu­si­cal. When the go­ing got des­per­ate, the des­per­ate got es­capist, and found an­other re­al­ity to live in, at least for 90 or so mag­i­cal min­utes at a time. And now here comes Damien Chazelle, the di­rec­tor of Whiplash, to salve the wounds of a bruised and riven coun­try with a movie that’s a throw­back and an homage to the movies, es­pe­cially the mu­si­cals, of an ear­lier age. La La Land, like so many sto­ries be­fore it, pays trib­ute to the young artist with a dream. Here the young hope­fuls are Mia (Emma Stone), an as­pir­ing ac­tress, and Seb (Ryan Gosling), a jazz pi­anist. La La Land wears its movie in­flu­ences lov­ingly, from the open­ing Cine­mas­cope credit to the Tech­ni­color pas­tels and brights that bathe its scenes in nos­tal­gia. The story moves through love and loss, tri­umphs and dis­ap­point­ments. Seb’s dream of a jazz club gets beaten down, and Mia loses heart, aban­dons her quest, and goes home. That’s not the end of it, of course, and there are plenty of highs to come, but it’s a warn­ing: Things don’t al­ways work out the way you think, or hope, or dream. Rated PG-13. 128 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards) LION A five-year-old boy named Sa­roo (Sunny Pawar) falls asleep on an out-of-ser­vice train in a small­town sta­tion in cen­tral In­dia, and when he wakes, it’s taken him a thou­sand miles from home. He winds up in a Cal­cutta or­phan­age, and is even­tu­ally adopted by an Aus­tralian cou­ple (Ni­cole Kid­man and David Wen­ham) and raised in Ho­bart, Tas­ma­nia. Twenty years later he’s played by Dev Pa­tel, and de­ter­mined to find his way back to his mother and sib­lings. He re­lies on child­hood me­mories and Google Earth to find his home. Lion is a true story, adapted by di­rec­tor Garth Davis from the au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal tale by Sa­roo Bri­er­ley. The first half is won­der­ful, with Greig Fraser’s cin­e­matog­ra­phy fram­ing the tiny kid against the enor­mity of the world in which he is lost. The sec­ond half loses steam. But the end­ing will wring tears out of a turnip. Rated PG-13. 118 min­utes. In English, Ben­gali, and Hindi with sub­ti­tles. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards) MANCH­ESTER BY THE SEA Writer/di­rec­tor Ken­neth Lon­er­gan tells a tale steeped in a coastal New Eng­land win­ter, and in the per­mafrost an­guish of ter­ri­ble per­sonal tragedy. Casey Af­fleck is re­mark­able as Lee Chan­dler, liv­ing as a su­per in an apart­ment com­plex in Bos­ton when he gets the news that his older brother Joe (Kyle Chan­dler) has died of a heart at­tack. Re­turn­ing to his home­town, Lee dis­cov­ers that Joe has left him with the re­spon­si­bil­ity for his six­teen-year-old son Pa­trick (Lu­cas Hedges, ex­cel­lent, among a cast of equally fine per­form­ers). But it’s old demons that tor­ment Lee’s soul, and run­ning into for­mer friends and ac­quain­tances, as well as his ex-wife Randy (Michelle Wil­liams), bring them un­bear­ably to the sur­face. Lon­er­gan moves back and forth in time seam­lessly through flash­backs, keep­ing the story com­pelling, some­times very funny, filled with subtlety, and al­ways real. Rated R. 137 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards) MIFUNE: THE LAST SA­MU­RAI Di­rec­tor Steven Okazaki’s trib­ute to ac­tor Toshirô Mifune is a look at one of cin­ema’s most en­dur­ing fig­ures, the feu­dal sa­mu­rai, most pow­er­fully on dis­play in the films of Akira Kuro­sawa and other Ja­panese di­rec­tors. A hand­some man with a com­mand­ing voice, Mifune was a nat­u­ral for the screen, but as the film­mak­ers fo­cus more on the le­gends he brought to life than on his per­sonal his­tory, he re­mains ab­stract. In­ter­views with Martin Scors­ese, Steven Spiel­berg, and Mifune’s sons, along with Ja­panese ac­tors, film technicians, and

Si­lence, at Re­gal Sta­dium 14 and Vi­o­let Crown

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