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A new mi­cro­cosm of hu­man di­ver­sity showed up in 2001 with The Fast and the Fu­ri­ous, about a multi-cul­tural band of broth­ers and sis­ters united by their sin­gu­lar in­abil­ity to drive fifty-five. The Fast se­ries’ cast­ing de­part­ment struck gold, par­tic­u­larly with the easy rap­port be­tween leads Vin Diesel and Michelle Ro­driguez, but the films’ scope has ex­panded to such an ex­tent that the last few en­tries min­i­mize street rac­ing in fa­vor of cocka­mamie clap­trap about in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ists and sav­ing the world. The trend is par­tic­u­larly galling in this movie, which opens with an en­joy­able romp in Cuba’s clas­sic-car scene and then swerves with zero ex­pla­na­tion into a na­tional-se­cu­rity-re­lated heist in Ber­lin. Did the pro­jec­tion­ist skip a reel? By the time we’ve reached the fi­nale, in­volv­ing ve­hic­u­lar com­bat be­tween cars and a sub­ma­rine, it’s clear that the fran­chise has rel­e­gated its lik­able char­ac­ters to the back seat. What mat­ters isn’t what’s un­der the hood, it’s who’s be­hind the wheel, or so goes the wis­dom of Do­minic Toretto (Diesel). The Fast movies should take that sen­ti­ment to heart and fo­cus more on peo­ple and less on things that go boom. Rated PG-13. 136 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Jeff Acker)

FRANTZ

Anna (Paula Beer) is a young Ger­man woman griev­ing over the death of her fi­ancé, Frantz (played in flash­backs by An­ton von Lucke), who was killed near the end of the Great War. She lives with his par­ents (Ernst Stötzner and Marie Gru­ber), and vis­its his grave daily to place fresh flow­ers. One day she finds that some­one else has done the same. The mys­te­ri­ous mourner turns out to be Adrien (Pierre Niney), a sen­si­tive young French­man. There is a se­cret that comes out about mid­way through, and the rest of the movie wres­tles with the is­sue of con­ceal­ing var­i­ous truths from var­i­ous par­ties. The ini­tial rev­e­la­tion it­self may not come as a shock, but the ethics and pur­pose of its con­tin­ued con­ceal­ment are the sea­son­ings with which di­rec­tor François Ozon stirs this pot. Rated PG-13. 113 min­utes. In French and Ger­man with sub­ti­tles. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)

FREE FIRE

When one gang meets another gang to buy guns at an aban­doned ware­house in 1978 Bos­ton, the re­sult­ing con­flict is the kind of ki­netic, semi-comic, ul­tra­vi­o­lent en­counter that was com­mon to 1990s in­die cin­ema. With a lot of weaponry and a host of fluc­tu­at­ing al­le­giances, the gang­sters face a strug­gle just to get out alive. Brie Lar­son, Ar­mie Ham­mer, and Cil­lian Mur­phy star. Rated R. 90 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (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. Rated R. 103 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Robert Ker)

GIFTED

In this brief break be­tween Marvel movies, Chris Evans puts down Cap­tain Amer­ica’s shield to play Frank Adler, a man tasked with rais­ing his niece (Mckenna Grace), who is a child prodigy. He’s han­dling the re­spon­si­bil­ity as best he can, but when his mother (Lind­say Dun­can) shows up at his door, she feels she could do a bet­ter job, so a cus­tody bat­tle en­sues. Marc Webb (who also dab­bled in su­per­heroes with the Amaz­ing

Spi­der-Man films) di­rects, and Jenny Slate plays Frank’s love in­ter­est. Rated PG-13. 101 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed)

GO­ING IN STYLE

A buddy-heist movie must de­liver two things: good bud­dies and a good heist. Zach Braff’s re­make of a 1979 geri­atric ca­per flick comes through on the first count, bring­ing to­gether three cin­e­matic trea­sures — in Mor­gan Free­man, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin — who plot to rob a bank. Un­for­tu­nately, the ca­per it­self falls flat. We want clev­er­ness in our movie heists, and there’s not enough of that here to knock off a 7-Eleven, much less a bank. The script and di­rec­tion never rise to the chal­lenge, but the three old pros (plus An­nMar­gret) still make good on their hour and a half of screen time, dis­play­ing a cou­ple of cen­turies worth of charm and act­ing chops to make this palat­able. Rated PG-13. 96 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (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)

THE LOST CITY OF Z

Could there be any­thing more ex­ot­i­cally ro­man­tic than a cen­tury-old real-life ad­ven­ture down the un­charted wilder­ness of the Ama­zon? It’s a tale that seems ripped si­mul­ta­ne­ously from news­pa­per head­lines and from the pages of Boy’s Own Mag­a­zine. And it’s all true. Or most of it. Or some of it. Col. Percy Fawcett (Char­lie Hun­nam) was an ad­ven­turer who made a num­ber of ex­pe­di­tions down the Ama­zon in search of a ru­mored lost civ­i­liza­tion near the turn of the 20th cen­tury. Fawcett’s ad­ven­tures must have been in­cred­i­bly chal­leng­ing, dan­ger­ous, and ex­cit­ing. Writer-di­rec­tor James Gray, adapt­ing David Grann’s 2009 non­fic­tion best­seller, cap­tures some of that, but he sur­ren­ders too of­ten to the clichés of the movies. Rated R. 141 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

NEI­THER WOLF NOR DOG

In the 1990s, au­thor Kent Ner­burn was con­tacted by a Na­tive Amer­i­can el­der named Dan to help him write a book that con­veyed Dan’s wis­dom, po­lit­i­cal opin­ions, and so­cial com­men­tary. That col­lab­o­ra­tion be­came the 1995 book Nei­ther

Wolf Nor Dog, and now Ner­burn has adapted the book into a screen­play about the jour­ney the two men un­der­took. Christo­pher Sweeney plays Ner­burn, and Dave Bald Ea­gle plays Dan, in this telling of how Ner­burn ac­cepted this re­spon­si­bil­ity while travers­ing Lakota coun­try. Not rated. 110 min­utes. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema. (Not re­viewed)

PHOENIX FOR­GOT­TEN

The low-bud­get, “found footage” style of hor­ror film that was pop­u­lar­ized with 1999’s The Blair Witch Project will never go out of fash­ion as long as the re­turn on in­vest­ment re­mains so high. This lat­est take on the trope fo­cuses on a UFO sight­ing in Ari­zona, which three teenagers (Florence Har­ti­gan, Luke Spencer Roberts, and Chelsea Lopez) de­cide to in­ves­ti­gate on their own with noth­ing but a video cam­era. They don’t re­turn, and their footage sur­faces 20 years later. Rated PG-13. 80 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

THE PROM­ISE

Chris­tian Bale, Os­car Isaac, and Char­lotte Le Bon play the cor­ners of a love tri­an­gle in the wan­ing days of the Ot­toman Em­pire. Isaac por­trays a man in a small Ar­me­nian vil­lage who trav­els to Con­stantino­ple to study medicine. He falls in love with an Ar­me­nian woman (Le Bon) who is in­volved with an Amer­i­can re­porter (Bale). Soon af­ter, how­ever, the Ar­me­nian Geno­cide of 1915 and World War I dras­ti­cally com­pli­cate what is al­ready a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion. Rated PG-13. 132 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (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. DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

SMURFS: THE LOST VIL­LAGE

Any­one who has ever watched The Smurfs — ei­ther the 1980s car­toon se­ries or the most re­cent films — has prob­a­bly won­dered why there is only one fe­male in the vil­lage, the heels-wear­ing Smur­fette (voiced here by Demi Lo­vato). This

movie seeks to an­swer that ques­tion by send­ing a hand­ful of Smurfs to a lost vil­lage, which is pre­sum­ably where Smur­fette came from. Ju­lia Roberts, Rainn Wil­son, and Mandy Patinkin also sup­ply voice­work. Rated PG. 89 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

THEIR FINEST

By turns funny, ro­man­tic, mov­ing, and har­row­ing, this movie about movies, war, and fe­male em­pow­er­ment hits ev­ery note with the ex­quis­ite ping of a fork struck to fine crys­tal. Gemma Arter­ton is Ca­trin Cole, a young woman who in blitz-rav­aged Lon­don un­ex­pect­edly finds her­self hired by the Bri­tish Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion’s film divi­sion as a screen­writer to han­dle the “slop” (women’s di­a­logue) for pro­pa­ganda movies. The as­sign­ment is to find real wartime hu­man in­ter­est sto­ries and turn them into morale-rais­ing pot­boil­ers. The per­fect cast­ing in­cludes Sam Claflin as her writ­ing part­ner and per­haps more, Bill Nighy as an aging star, Ed­die Mars­den as his agent, plus He­len McCrory, Richard E. Grant, Jeremy Irons, and many more. To see Nighy raise an eye­brow, or sing an Ir­ish air in a pub, is pure cin­ema magic. Im­pec­ca­bly di­rected by Dan­ish film­maker Lone Sher­fig (An Ed­u­ca­tion) and adapted by Gaby Chi­appe from Lissa Evans’s 2009 novel Their Finest Hour and a Half (a ti­tle they should have kept), this is cer­tainly one of the year’s finest to date. Rated R. 117 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

UN­FOR­GET­TABLE

Long­time pro­ducer Denise Di Novi (par­tially re­spon­si­ble for Heathers and many of Tim Bur­ton’s 1990s films) makes her di­rec­to­rial de­but with this thriller that ap­pears set on bring­ing back steamy patho­log­i­cal-woman thrillers such as Fatal At­trac­tion and The

Hand That Rocks the Cra­dle. Kather­ine Heigl plays a woman, con­sumed by jeal­ousy, who is de­ter­mined to de­stroy the life of the new wife (Rosario Daw­son) of her ex-hus­band (Ge­off Stults). Rated R. 100 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE

In this drama based on Diane Ack­er­man’s non­fic­tion book, Jes­sica Chas­tain and Jo­han Helden­bergh play An­ton­ina and Jan Żabiński, the keep­ers of the War­saw Zoo in 1939. An­ton­ina in par­tic­u­lar holds all life in high re­gard, car­ing for the an­i­mals in an al­most ma­ter­nal way. When the Nazis in­vade Poland, she takes the lead in us­ing the zoo grounds and re­sources to help save hun­dreds of Jewish peo­ple. Rated PG-13. 124 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed)

Anne Hath­away in Colos­sal, at Vi­o­let Crown

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