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AR­RIVAL

Di­rec­tor De­nis Vil­leneuve, adapt­ing Ted Chi­ang’s story about large space­crafts that have landed all over Earth, gives us 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 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. Nom­i­nated for eight Academy Awards, in­clud­ing Best Pic­ture and Best Di­rec­tor. Rated PG-13. 116 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Robert Ker)

BEST PIC­TURE FILM FES­TI­VAL

With the Os­cars around the cor­ner on Sun­day, Feb. 26, Re­gal Sta­dium 14 of­fers a chance to catch up on some of the Academy Award nom­i­nees for Best Pic­ture — Ar­rival, Fences, Hid­den Fig­ures, Hell or High Wa­ter, La La Land, Lion, Manch­ester By the Sea, and Moon­light, with a dis­counted pass for the whole series. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed)

A CURE FOR WELL­NESS

Di­rec­tor Gore Verbin­ski re­turns to hor­ror for the first time since 2002’s The Ring with this tale of a young ex­ec­u­tive named Lock­hart (Dane DeHaan) who is sent to re­trieve his com­pany’s CEO from a spa in the Swiss Alps. When Lock­hart ar­rives, how­ever, he finds some­thing strange is go­ing on. The fa­cil­ity’s di­rec­tor (Ja­son Isaacs) di­ag­noses him with the myste­ri­ous ill­ness that the other pa­tients suf­fer from — and he will re­quire the same un­ortho­dox treat­ment. Rated R. 146 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

A DOG’S PUR­POSE

Di­rec­tor Lasse Hall­ström (The Cider House Rules) trains his lens on the life of a dog in this story. Across sev­eral own­ers and rein­car­na­tions, one pup at­tempts to dis­cover the rea­son it was put on this planet. Britt Robert­son, Dennis Quaid, and Peggy Lip­ton play some of the hu­mans in its lives. It sounds like a harm­less, feel-good movie for dog­gie lovers, but be aware: It has at­tracted con­tro­versy and a PETA boy­cott for al­legedly treat­ing one ca­nine star cru­elly. Rated PG. 120 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (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, bal­ances a por­trait of Kazakh fam­ily life and cul­ture with breath­tak­ing ae­rial footage of the Al­tai Moun­tains. 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. Vi­o­let Crown. (Michael Abatemarco)

ELLE

“The rape joke cries out to be told,” writes Pa­tri­cia Lock­wood in the 2013 vi­ral poem “Rape Joke.” That’s one way to look at Paul Ver­ho­even’s darkly comic French­language thriller star­ring Is­abelle Hup­pert (nom­i­nated for a Best Ac­tress Os­car here). The ac­tress por­trays Michéle Leblanc, who is vi­o­lently raped by a masked man in the movie’s open­ing. Fol­low­ing her as­sault, rather than call the po­lice, she charges head­long back into her messy life. The sus­pects are nu­mer­ous, and when the per­pe­tra­tor is re­vealed, she be­gins to toy with him. Ver­ho­even (Ba­sic In­stinct) loves a de­mented wo­man, and Michéle’s de­tached machi­na­tions are the most com­pelling as­pect of Elle, boosted by a Te­flon per­for­mance from Hup­pert. But de­spite the film’s hav­ing been touted as an em­pow­er­ing tale of re­venge, its un­der­cur­rents are uglier, emp­tier, and much more cyn­i­cal than cathar­tic. “Imag­ine the rape joke look­ing in the mir­ror, per­fectly re­flect­ing back it­self, and groom­ing it­self to look more like a rape joke,” Lock­wood writes, and therein lies an­other way of look­ing at Elle. Rated R. 130 min­utes. In French with sub­ti­tles. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Molly Boyle)

FIFTY SHADES DARKER

In the lat­est in­stall­ment of the erotic fran­chise that started with

Fifty Shades of Grey — adapted from the block­buster best­selling tril­ogy by E.L. James — Chris­tian Grey (Jamie Dor­nan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota John­son) are up to naughty busi­ness in the bed­room once more. This time, Anastasia takes charge

of the frac­tured re­la­tion­ship as Chris­tian grap­ples with his trou­bled past. Rated R. 115 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

FIST FIGHT

When a teacher named Camp­bell (Char­lie Day) gets his col­league Strick­land (Ice Cube) fired in this com­edy, Strick­land re­sponds in a star­tling man­ner: by chal­leng­ing Camp­bell to a fight on the school­yard af­ter school. Camp­bell does ev­ery­thing he can to ei­ther pre­pare for or avoid the bout, while also dodg­ing Strick­land’s in­creas­ingly de­ranged be­hav­ior. Christina Hen­dricks and Tracy Mor­gan also star. Rated R. 91 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

THE GREAT WALL

The largest film ever shot en­tirely in China and the first English-lan­guage film by di­rec­tor Yi­mou Zhang (House of Fly­ing

Dag­gers) is al­ready a big hit in his home coun­try, and now it comes to Amer­i­can au­di­ences. Matt Da­mon stars as a Euro­pean merce­nary on a mis­sion in his­tor­i­cal China. While there, he learns the hard way that the Great Wall isn’t there to keep out bar­bar­ians, but rather a race of dan­ger­ous mon­sters — and they’re about to in­vade. Rated PG-13. 103 min­utes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. Screens in 2-D only at Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

HID­DEN FIG­URES

This movie, which was nom­i­nated for a Best Pic­ture Academy Award, tells the story of three African-Amer­i­can women — Dorothy Vaughan (Oc­tavia Spencer, nom­i­nated for Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tress), Kather­ine John­son (Taraji P. Hen­son), and Mary Jack­son (Janelle Monáe) — bril­liant math­e­ma­ti­cians who were em­ployed in NASA’s pro­gram in the early ‘60s. Di­rec­tor and co-screen­writer Theodore Melfi uses a tra­di­tional struc­ture in adapt­ing Mar­got Lee Shet­terly’s non­fic­tion book about these pi­o­neer­ing women in the Amer­i­can space pro­gram. There’s noth­ing 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. (Jonathan Richards)

I AM NOT YOUR NE­GRO

The open­ing credits for this dev­as­tat­ing and in­spir­ing movie read “A film by Raoul Peck, writ­ten by James Bald­win.” The text, nar­rated with sen­si­tiv­ity and feel­ing by Sa­muel L. Jack­son, is taken largely from the notes for a book Bald­win un­der­took to write in 1979. Re­mem­ber

This House was to be an ex­am­i­na­tion of Amer­ica through the lives and early deaths — all be­fore the age of forty — of three mur­dered black Amer­i­can lead­ers: Medgar Evers, Mal­colm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. In a let­ter to his agent, Bald­win ex­presses his trep­i­da­tion about this daunt­ing project, which he de­scribes as “a jour­ney … where you never know what you will find.” He never got beyond 30 pages of the book; but that con­tent, but­tressed with tele­vi­sion clips of Bald­win speak­ing, and with news­reel, pho­to­graphs, and sam­plings from the pop cul­ture of white Amer­ica, paint an im­age that needs to be seen and heard and ab­sorbed. “Not ev­ery­thing that is faced can be changed,” Bald­win ob­serves near the end of the movie, “but noth­ing can be changed that is not faced.” PG-13. 95 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

JOHN WICK: CHAP­TER 2

In 2014’s John Wick, Keanu Reeves plays a former hit man who is forced out of re­tire­ment when crim­i­nals beat him up and kill his dog. This time around, Wick’s got a new dog, but his guns, his dap­per suits, and the chip on his shoul­der re­main. There’s a bounty on his head, and when he finds out who put it there, that per­son is go­ing to be on the busi­ness end of some dex­ter­ous gun­play. Brid­get Moy­na­han, Ian McShane, and Reeves’ Ma­trix co-star Lau­rence Fish­burne also star. Rated R. 122 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

JULIETA

With Julieta, adapted from short sto­ries by the No­bel Prize-win­ning writer Alice Munro, di­rec­tor Pe­dro Almod­ó­var is a lit­tle less op­er­atic than he has been in the past — but it’s all still there, the rich­ness, the deep sat­u­rat­ing hues, the star­tling images, and the prob­ing in­sights into the fe­male psy­che. The story fol­lows its ti­tle char­ac­ter in mid­dle age (Emma Suárez) and as a young wo­man (Adri­ana Ugarte), with a tale of pas­sion, love, jeal­ousy, and guilt, with guilt as the defin­ing qual­ity. It hinges on Julieta’s anguish over the dis­ap­pear­ance, many years ear­lier, of her beloved daugh­ter, whom she has not seen since. The du­al­ity and con­ti­nu­ity be­tween the young and the older Julieta sug­gests an echo of Almod­ó­var’s own tran­si­tion from the ec­static ex­u­ber­ance of his youth­ful movies to some­thing more thought­ful, but still drenched in color and im­agery, full of pas­sion and hu­mor, and any­thing but sub­dued. Rated R. 96 min­utes. In Span­ish with sub­ti­tles. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

LA LA LAND

This story, 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, as Seb’s dream of a jazz club gets beaten down, and Mia loses heart and aban­dons her quest. That’s not the end of it — 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. La La Land leads in Academy Award nom­i­na­tions this year with 14, in­clud­ing Best Pic­ture, Best Di­rec­tor, and nom­i­na­tions in both lead act­ing cat­e­gories. Rated PG-13. 128 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

THE LEGO BAT­MAN MOVIE

The comedic in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Bat­man as an over­con­fi­dent jack-of-all-trades nearly stole the show in 2014’s The LEGO Movie. In this spinoff flick, the Caped Cru­sader, voiced again by Will Ar­nett, fights nearly ev­ery­one in his rogue’s gallery along with vil­lains across nu­mer­ous other fran­chises. The an­i­ma­tion is daz­zling, and sight gags fill the screen at nearly all times. This over­stim­u­la­tion, cou­pled with a break­neck pace, means it would re­quire mul­ti­ple view­ings to get ev­ery joke. For­tu­nately, a lot of them are funny, and it’s a rare film that chil­dren and par­ents will en­joy for dif­fer­ent rea­sons: kids will rel­ish the col­or­ful Bat­man ad­ven­ture, while adults will be tick­led by the nods to 50 years of Bat­man mythos. It’s got all of this plus a heart­felt char­ac­ter arc about how Bat­man won’t let any­one get close to him, from po­ten­tial wards such as Robin (Michael Cera) to po­ten­tial arch-en­e­mies such as the Joker

(Zach Gal­i­fi­anakis). Rated PG. 104 min­utes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. Screens in 2-D only at Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Robert Ker)

LION

A five-year-old boy named Sa­roo (Sunny Pawar) falls asleep on an out-of-ser­vice train in a small-town sta­tion in cen­tral In­dia, and when he wakes, it’s taken him a thou­sand miles from home. He is even­tu­ally adopted from a Cal­cutta or­phan­age 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 fam­ily, re­ly­ing on child­hood mem­o­ries and Google Earth to find his home. Based on a true story, Lion has landed a Best Pic­ture Os­car nom­i­na­tion. 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. Kid­man and Pa­tel were nom­i­nated for their work. Rated PG-13. 118 min­utes. In English, Ben­gali, and Hindi with sub­ti­tles. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

MANCH­ESTER BY THE SEA

Writer/di­rec­tor Ken­neth Lon­er­gan tells a tale steeped in the per­mafrost anguish of 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). 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, who, along with Af­fleck and Hedges, is nom­i­nated for an act­ing Os­car), bring them un­bear­ably to the sur­face. Lon­er­gan — also Os­car-nom­i­nated as both writer and di­rec­tor — 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. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Jonathan Richards)

MAYA AN­GELOU: AND STILL I RISE

“Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy is aw­fully se­duc­tive,” says the late Maya An­gelou in this doc­u­men­tary de­voted to her life and work. In An­gelou’s case, at least, this state­ment bears out — be­fore she be­came revered as an award-win­ning au­thor, her var­ied jobs in­cluded stints as a fry cook, night­club per­former, sex worker, jour­nal­ist, and ac­tivist. Best known for her series of seven au­to­bi­ogra­phies, be­gin­ning with I Know Why

the Caged Bird Sings (1969), An­gelou con­sid­ered her­self a writer who con­tin­ued a tra­di­tion es­tab­lished by Fred­er­ick Dou­glass — that of the slave nar­ra­tive. This straight­for­ward film is low on in­no­va­tion and stuffed with celebrity ap­pear­ances, in­clud­ing Cicely Tyson, Bill and Hil­lary Clin­ton, and Oprah Win­frey, but An­gelou’s re­mark­able story out­shines the movie’s some­what mun­dane pack­ag­ing. Not rated. 114 min­utes. Jean Cocteau Cinema. (Molly Boyle)

MOON­LIGHT

Writer-di­rec­tor Barry Jenk­ins — Os­carnom­i­nated for both jobs — has crafted a pow­er­ful 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

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