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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Di­rec­tor Bill Con­don seems to call on his col­lec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence di­rect­ing Gods and Mon­sters, Dream­girls, and some Twi­light films to ef­fec­tively imag­ine Dis­ney’s 1991 an­i­mated fairy tale as a Gothic mu­si­cal hor­ror­ro­mance. Emma Watson steps into the role of the book­worm Belle, who is im­pris­oned by the Beast (Dan Stevens) in his cas­tle. Un­be­knownst to her, if she falls in love with him, she will re­lease him and his friends from a curse. Luke Evans cuts a de­li­cious vil­lain as Gas­ton, and Emma Thomp­son, Ewan McGre­gor, and Ian McKellen voice some of the Beast’s mag­i­cal knick-knacks. The story hews so closely to the an­i­mated orig­i­nal — which is more charm­ing and con­cise — that this re­make doesn’t fully val­i­date its ex­is­tence, aside from serv­ing as a li­cense for Dis­ney to print money. This won’t mat­ter to the core au­di­ence, how­ever, who will adore the clas­sic-Hol­ly­wood ex­trav­a­gance and the crowd-pleas­ing fi­nale. Rated PG. 129 min­utes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. Screens in 2-D only at Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Robert Ker)

CHIPS

Dax Shep­ard wrote, di­rected, and co-stars in this comedic adap­ta­tion of the pop­u­lar TV show of the same name, which ran from 1977 to 1983. For peo­ple un­der thirty, the ti­tle stands for Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol, and the con­cept cen­ters around a pair of mo­tor­cy­cle cops (played in the film by Shep­ard and Michael Peña) who scour the free­ways and get into ad­ven­tures.

This one finds them fac­ing off against a rogue ex-cop (Vin­cent D’Onofrio) and his mer­ce­nar­ies. Rated R. 100 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

FIST FIGHT

In this com­edy, a teacher named Camp­bell (Char­lie Day) gets his col­league Strick­land (Ice Cube) fired. Strick­land re­sponds in a star­tling man­ner: by chal­leng­ing Camp­bell to a fight af­ter school. Camp­bell does ev­ery­thing he can to ei­ther pre­pare for or avoid the bout while also dodg­ing Strick­land’s in­creas­ingly de­ranged be­hav­ior. Rated R. 91 min­utes. DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

GET OUT

The first di­rec­to­rial ef­fort by Jor­dan Peele, of the comic duo Key and Peele, is a hor­ror movie about a black man named Chris (a per­fect Daniel Kalu­uya) who trav­els to the home­town of his girl­friend (Al­li­son Wil­liams) to meet her par­ents (Cather­ine Keener and Bradley Whit­ford, both ter­rific). Once there, he learns that African-Amer­i­cans have been dis­ap­pear­ing from the af­flu­ent white com­mu­nity, only to reap­pear as sub­servient and docile — and he could be the next to go. The cul­tural com­men­tary in this new take on The Step­ford

Wives is rich and thought-pro­vok­ing, as fans of Peele’s com­edy might ex­pect. How­ever, Peele’s di­rec­to­rial sense is a sur­prise, as his use of fore­ground and back­ground and his vis­ual and mu­si­cal clues draw you in, deepen the mys­tery, and creep you out, re­call­ing (and some­times pay­ing di­rect homage to) such slow-burn­ing clas­sics as Rosemary’s Baby. Ex­pect a jar­ringly vi­o­lent turn in the third act, but the film is still an en­gag­ing de­light. Peele shows more acu­men for the hor­ror genre than most di­rec­tors who work in it full-time. Rated R. 103 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Robert Ker)

HU­MAN

French film­maker Yann Arthus-Ber­trand’s mon­u­men­tal tes­ta­ment to hu­man­ity in its cur­rent state is a mov­ing look at peo­ple from all walks of life and from all con­ti­nents. With a team of 16 jour­nal­ists, Arthus-Ber­trand trav­eled the globe, vis­it­ing 60 coun­tries and con­duct­ing count­less in­ter­views. He has one story to tell and al­lows it to be told through many voices: Syr­ian refugees, sol­diers, sur­vivors of the Kh­mer Rouge and the Rwan­dan geno­cide, peo­ple ek­ing out a mea­ger ex­is­tence among moun­tains of trash in the de­spoiled re­gions of third world na­tions, no­mads, and vet­er­ans, to name a few. They share their ac­counts of per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence with­out added con­text or re­port­ing; they don’t give their names; and the film com­bines these poignant in­ter­views with poetic im­ages of aerial and slow-mo­tion photography. What emerges is a por­trait of hu­man­ity that is di­verse but shares in uni­ver­sal suf­fer­ing, the search for a mean­ing to ex­is­tence, and ex­pres­sions of love. It’s a com­pelling and beau­ti­ful film with the power to move you to tears of sor­row and of joy. Not rated. 143 min­utes. In mul­ti­ple lan­guages with sub­ti­tles. The Screen. (Michael Abatemarco)

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 by tele­vi­sion clips of Bald­win speak­ing, news­reels, pho­to­graphs, and sam­plings from the pop cul­ture of white Amer­ica — paints 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.” Rated PG-13. 95 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)

KEDI

Di­rec­tor Ceyda Torun grew up sur­rounded by the street cats of Istanbul. “They were my friends and con­fi­dants, “she wrote, “and I missed their pres­ence in all the other cities I ever lived in.” This warm­hearted film, shot partly from hu­man per­spec­tive and partly from cat height, is a love let­ter to the fe­lines and the peo­ple who share her na­tive city. “Peo­ple who don’t love an­i­mals can’t love peo­ple ei­ther — I know that much,” ob­serves one mat­ter-of-fact fish­mon­ger. Yet the film is not sappy, just gen­er­ous and wise. By the end, you’ll feel as if a cat has been purring on your lap for 80 min­utes. Not rated. 80 min­utes. In Turk­ish with sub­ti­tles. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (James Keller)

KONG: SKULL IS­LAND

It’s 1973, and a dis­parate group led by Viet­nam vet­eran Pre­ston Packard (Sa­muel L. Jackson) and mon­ster-hunter Bill Randa (John Good­man) blindly blun­der into an un­charted is­land ruled over by a gi­ant ape and many other crea­tures that are at least as big as he is — all of which like to eat peo­ple. This in­trigu­ing premise seems to have ev­ery­thing you would want out of a B-level ac­tion-ad­ven­ture, but then it over­plays its hand as it turns into a se­ries of se­quences in which the ac­tors run, shoot, and get eaten up. The cli­matic bat­tle be­tween Kong and a rep­til­ian ad­ver­sary also goes on way too long. For all that, this may be the per­fect fod­der for thir­teen-year-olds, and a few of the ac­tors — in­clud­ing John C. Reilly as a World War II pi­lot who has been stuck on the isle for 30 years — ac­tu­ally give well-shaded per­for­mances. The gi­ant wa­ter buf­falo is pretty cool, too. Rated PG-13. 120 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Robert Nott)

LAND OF MINE

In 1945, af­ter the de­feat of the Ger­man forces in Den­mark, Sgt. Carl Ras­mussen (Roland Møller), a hard, un­com­pro­mis­ing man, is as­signed to clear the west coast of Den­mark of over two mil­lion land mines that lit­ter the beaches, us­ing the la­bor of young Ger­man pris­on­ers of war. Their unenviable task sets the stage for hair-rais­ing sus­pense in di­rec­tor Martin Zand­vliet’s taut and bloody war film about a lit­tle-known chap­ter of World War II his­tory. But Zand­vliet misses op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­plore the moral dilem­mas of war, plac­ing em­pha­sis in­stead on the ac­tion and in­ten­sity of the mo­ment. Rated R. 100 min­utes. In Ger­man, Dan­ish, and English with sub­ti­tles. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Michael Abatemarco)

THE LAST WORD

Shirley MacLaine plays Har­riet, a woman who is such a con­trol freak that she needs to make sure her obit­u­ary is ac­tu­ally the way she wants it. She en­lists Anne (Amanda Seyfried), the obit­u­ary writer at the lo­cal news­pa­per, to pen it with her help. When Anne can’t find a sin­gle per­son to say a nice thing about her sub­ject, Har­riet takes it upon her­self to re­write her own obit­u­ary by chang­ing her life, em­brac­ing a care­free at­ti­tude, and men­tor­ing an un­der­priv­i­leged girl (An­nJewel Lee Dixon). Rated R. 108 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed)

LIFE THE LEV­EL­LING

El­lie Ken­drick is fan­tas­tic as Clover Catto in this story about a young woman who comes home from veterinary school to find that her brother has died in an ap­par­ent sui­cide. Set on her fa­ther’s (David Troughton) muddy English dairy farm, the story is an in­tense im­mer­sion in a fam­ily’s strug­gles and alien­ations, as the two main char­ac­ters con­front the state of the farm and the cir­cum­stances of the boy’s death. Writ­ten and di­rected by Hope Dick­son Leach, the film pro­ceeds at a slow, nat­u­ral­is­tic pace, with sound­track mu­sic added only oc­ca­sion­ally for ef­fect. It’s a pro­foundly hon­est por­trayal. Rated R. 84 min­utes. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema. (Paul Wei­de­man) There’s a new Alien movie com­ing out on May 19, but if you can’t wait that long, this sci­ence-fiction hor­ror flick should tide you over. The story cen­ters on a mis­sion to Mars to ex­plore what ap­pears to be the first ev­i­dence of life on the planet. Un­for­tu­nately for the crew (Jake Gyl­len­haal, Re­becca Fer­gu­son, Ryan Reynolds, and oth­ers), the life is quite hos­tile. Rated R. 103 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

LOGAN

At one point in Hugh Jack­man’s swan song as the X-Man Wolver­ine, the char­ac­ters re­lax in a ho­tel room watch­ing the 1953 clas­sic Shane. It’s a nod to the kind of Western this film as­pires to be, with Wolver­ine as an au­tum­nal hero in a near-fu­tur­is­tic desert land­scape (which in­cludes mem­o­rable New Mex­ico lo­ca­tions), help­ing Charles Xavier (Pa­trick Ste­wart) pro­tect a young mu­tant (Dafne Keen) who of­fers mu­tan­tkind new hope. It’s an un­usual and emo­tion­ally af­fect­ing ap­proach to the su­per­hero genre, brought to life by re­li­ably su­perb act­ing from Jack­man and Ste­wart along with nice sci­ence-fiction world-build­ing by di­rec­tor James Man­gold. Don’t bring the kids to this one, how­ever — it earns its R rat­ing with plenty of dis­mem­ber­ments and pro­fan­ity, and the plot trav­els to much darker places than nec­es­sary. It’s a su­per­hero story as if writ­ten by Cormac McCarthy, al­though McCarthy would have kept the third act on its rails. Rated R. 137 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Robert Ker)

LOVESONG

Ri­ley Keough (Elvis Pres­ley’s grand­daugh­ter) plays Sarah, a de­pressed young mother whose hus­band’s work takes him away for months at a time. When her old friend Mindy (Jena Malone) vis­its, a long-dor­mant pas­sion stirs be­tween the two. Fast-for­ward three years to Mindy’s wed­ding, which Sarah at­tends as a guest — not as a brides­maid. This leisurely yet tense mood piece is el­e­vated by im­pres­sive per­for­mances and a pitch-per­fect take on the dis­tance and awk­ward­ness that grows be­tween two peo­ple who were pre­vi­ously close. Not rated. 84 min­utes. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema. (Jennifer Levin)

OFF THE RAILS

Adam Irv­ing’s sen­si­tive pro­file of New York City tran­sit en­thu­si­ast Dar­ius McCol­lum is

fas­ci­nat­ing. Hav­ing mem­o­rized the sub­way map by age eight, McCol­lum has al­ways felt at home in the tran­sit sys­tem. At fif­teen, he made tabloid head­lines af­ter he took over an E train, an­nounc­ing each stop. Since then, McCol­lum, who has been di­ag­nosed with Asperger’s syn­drome, has been ar­rested over 30 times for im­per­son­at­ing an MTA em­ployee and/or hi­jack­ing a mass tran­sit ve­hi­cle. Once the film takes full stock of McCol­lum’s life, the au­di­ence’s won­der at this ob­ses­sive man turns to dis­ap­point­ment and anger — at a le­gal sys­tem that has al­lowed him to re­peat­edly fail with­out pro­vid­ing the men­tal health sup­port he so des­per­ately needs. The doc­u­men­tary in­cludes in­ter­views with McCol­lum, tran­sit em­ploy­ees, fam­ily mem­bers, and men­tal health con­sul­tants, driving the point home: We need a bet­ter way to help peo­ple like him. 86 min­utes. Not rated. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema. (Molly Boyle)

POWER RANGERS

Chil­dren of the 1990s are now get­ting their own nos­tal­gia-fu­eled cin­ema, as the af­ter­school TV sta­ple Mighty Mor­phin Power Rangers gets a new fea­ture-film adap­ta­tion that hopes to jump-start the franchise. The five col­or­ful su­per­heroes, now em­bod­ied by a young un­known cast, are tasked with fight­ing a witch named Rita Repulsa (El­iz­a­beth Banks). Bryan Cranston plays Zor­don, the Rangers’ men­tor. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

THE SHACK

Wil­liam P. Young’s 2007 self-pub­lished faith-based novel, which has sold mil­lions of copies and dom­i­nated best­seller lists, comes to the big screen. Sam Wor­thing­ton plays a man whose daugh­ter is mur­dered in a shack on a camp­ing trip. Strug­gling with grief, he re­turns to the shack and meets a woman named Papa (Oc­tavia Spencer) and two other strangers, who ease him into a spir­i­tual world where he re­con­nects with God and heals him­self. Rated PG-13. 132 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

WIL­SON

Indie comic-book au­teur Dan Clowes (most fa­mous for Ghost World) adapts his own graphic novel into the screen­play for this film di­rected by Craig John­son (The Skele­ton

Twins). Woody Har­rel­son plays the ti­tle char­ac­ter, a di­rec­tion­less mis­an­thrope who dis­cov­ers he has a teenage daugh­ter (Is­abella Amara) and joins his es­tranged wife (Laura Dern) to meet her for the first time. Rated R. 94 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed)

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