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ALIEN: COVENANT

With the 2012 film Prometheus and now this fol­low-up, it feels like di­rec­tor Ri­d­ley Scott — of­fi­cially an oc­to­ge­nar­ian later this year — is at­tempt­ing to re­lease his grand trea­tise on life. Th­ese sci-fi films, which cen­ter on hu­mans who seek out their maker and man-made an­droids with their own sets of daddy is­sues, med­i­tate on who we are, where we’ve come from, where we’re go­ing, and what it means to be hu­man and to cre­ate. If Scott must at­tach th­ese themes to the Alien fran­chise to get them made, then the Love­craftian ter­ror of the unknown only adds a cherry to the the­matic sun­dae. In this film, a col­o­niza­tion mission comes into the ruined ship from Prometheus, where they en­counter the aliens that doomed that mission. The usual game of hunter and hunted en­sues, but the good stuff lies in the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the ship’s ro­bot, Wal­ter (Michael Fass­ben­der) and the an­droid from the first film, an ear­lier model named David (also Fass­ben­der, a won­der in both roles). With lush, de­tailed sets and awe-in­spir­ing ef­fects and cin­e­matog­ra­phy, the film re­calls ev­ery­thing from silent hor­ror movies to The Bride of Franken­stein to Scott’s own Blade Run­ner, and is so strong that you don’t mind if the movie’s se­condary char­ac­ters are un­de­vel­oped and the hor­ror el­e­ments fall back on cliché. Kather­ine Water­ston and Danny McBride fit the bill per­fectly as the pri­mary hu­man heroes. Rated R. 122 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Robert Ker)

BAYWATCH

The ac­tion-packed, life­guard-themed TV show Baywatch achieved tremen­dous suc­cess through­out the world in the 1990s. Millions tuned in to watch hunks and babes, led by David Has­sel­hoff and Pamela An­der­son, run­ning in the sand, and most view­ers knew the show would not be win­ning any awards. This film adap­ta­tion winks back at the au­di­ence with know­ing jokes, re­layed by stars Dwayne John­son and Zac Efron — two beefy ac­tors who are known to use their hard bod­ies for hu­mor. Priyanka Cho­pra and Alexan­dra Dad­dario are among the ac­tresses wear­ing the red swim­suits, and long­time fans will be re­lieved to know that Has­sel­hoff and An­der­son also ap­pear. Rated R. 116 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

THE COLORADO

This 2016 doc­u­men­tary about the Colorado River boasts a score of stunning vo­cal mu­sic with cin­e­matog­ra­phy that is al­ter­nately awe-in­spir­ing (the Rocky Moun­tains in Colorado and the Grand Canyon) and de­press­ing (the dams, the Sal­ton Sea, and the dried-up delta in Mex­ico). Mark Ry­lance nar­rates text writ­ten by Santa Fe author Wil­liam deBuys and di­rec­tor Mu­rat Eyuboglu. The film’s mul­ti­di­men­sional por­trait of the river in­cludes spot­lights on a 17th-cen­tury Je­suit map­maker, a 19th-cen­tury ex­plorer, and a 20th-cen­tury farm­worker. The doc­u­men­tary of­fers an ed­u­ca­tional im­mer­sion in ecol­ogy and re­gional his­tory, and it’s just a joy of an ex­pe­ri­ence. Not rated. 91 min­utes. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema. (Paul Wei­de­man)

DI­ARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE LONG HAUL

The Di­ary of a Wimpy Kid fran­chise cen­ters on a twelveyear-old boy who nav­i­gates a se­ries of em­bar­rass­ing events in mid­dle school, and how much you’ll en­joy the books and films de­pends on how close you are to the age and gen­der of their pro­tag­o­nist. The fourth film stars Ja­son Drucker as the wimpy kid, here on a road trip with his fam­ily. It as­pires to be a film like Na­tional Lam­poon’s Va­ca­tion, but more re­sem­bles some­thing you’d see on Nick­elodeon, com­plete with zany mu­sic, scat­o­log­i­cal jokes, and the vis­ual feel of a sit­com. There are funny bits (in­clud­ing, in­ex­pli­ca­bly, a shot-for-shot spoof of the Psy­cho shower scene), but the movie suf­fers from pulling the se­ries away from the school­yards and locker-filled hall­ways of its roots. Ali­cia Sil­ver­stone, once a teenage icon in Clue­less, now plays the lame mom who asks her fam­ily not to check their phones on the road trip. Par­ents bring­ing their kids to this movie will have a hard time re­sist­ing that temp­ta­tion as well. Rated PG. 90 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Robert Ker)

THE COMMUNE

Dan­ish film­maker Thomas Vin­ter­berg tells this story of a 1970s commune in Den­mark. The group of peo­ple get to­gether with the best of in­ten­tions, wide-eyed with naiveté and op­ti­mism, but soon the per­son­al­ity clashes and in­di­vid­ual mo­tives make the dream sour. Not rated. 111 min­utes. In Dan­ish with sub­ti­tles. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema. (Not re­viewed)

EV­ERY­THING, EV­ERY­THING

Af­ter the block­buster suc­cess of 2014’s The Fault in Our Stars, sto­ries in­volv­ing se­ri­ously ill teenage girls who find dash­ing boys who bring them joy and love has be­come a genre unto it­self. This lat­est take, based on the 2015 young-adult novel, in­volves a teenager (Amandla Sten­berg) who is forced to stay in­side her house be­cause of an au­toim­mune dis­ease. When the boy across the street (Nick Robin­son) com­mu­ni­cates with her through their win­dows, a ro­mance blos­soms. Rated PG-13. 96 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS

In the crew of his star­ship En­ter­prise, Star Trek cre­ator Gene Rod­den­berry sought to rep­re­sent the var­ied peo­ples of planet Earth, along with a few other life forms. 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. (Jeff Acker)

GUARDIANS OF THE GAL­AXY VOL. 2

The gang from the 2014 space opera re­turns: Chris Pratt as Star Lord, Zoe Sal­dana as Gamora, and Dave Bautista as Drax, with Vin Diesel voic­ing the tree­like Groot (in adorably minia­tur­ized form this time around) and Bradley Cooper voic­ing the snarky rac­coon Rocket. The plot is thor­oughly un­in­volv­ing, but you won’t no­tice amid all the in­ter­ga­lac­tic fire­works and daz­zling ac­tion se­quences chore­ographed to the sounds of Fleet­wood Mac, ELO, and Cheap Trick. The high­light is the rapid-fire zinger-laden di­a­logue, es­pe­cially as de­liv­ered by Bautista, whose comic tim­ing is im­pec­ca­ble. All the ex­plo­sions get tire­some and the vi­o­lence can be trou­bling, but at mo­ments the movie plays like Se­in­feld in space. Rated PG-13. 136 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Jeff Acker)

HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER

Mex­i­can com­edy star Eugenio Der­bez gets his big­gest shot to cross over into the United States yet. He plays Máx­imo, a man who has cre­ated a pam­pered life for him­self by se­duc­ing wealthy older women. When he is hum­bled and must move in with his sis­ter (Salma Hayek), he learns lessons about what is re­ally im­por­tant in life. Rob Lowe also stars. Rated PG-13. 115 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed)

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)

KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD

In 2009, di­rec­tor Guy Ritchie reimag­ined the Sher­lock Holmes sto­ries as a ki­netic ac­tion flick. Now, he at­tempts to give an­other Bri­tish myth a sim­i­lar trans­for­ma­tion by ap­ply­ing his vis­ual style to King Arthur. This story fo­cuses on the years sur­round­ing Arthur’s (Char­lie Hun­nam) pulling the sword from the stone and be­com­ing a some­what re­luc­tant king. Astrid Bergès-Fris­bey, Jude Law, Dji­mon Houn­sou, and Eric Bana also star. Rated PG-13. 126 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed)

THE LOVERS

Michael (Tracy Letts) and Mary (De­bra Winger) are un­hap­pily mar­ried. They main­tain the fa­cade of mat­ri­mony, sleep­ing in the same bed while sur­rep­ti­tiously tex­ting their se­cret part­ners (played by Melora Wal­ters and Ai­dan Gillen) — who have been promised le­git­i­macy and ac­knowl­edge­ment — the word “soon.” And then one day, Michael and Mary start cheat­ing anew — on their lovers, with each other. This fo­cused, tonally neu­tral film from wri­ter­di­rec­tor Azazel Ja­cobs takes its time, tele­graph­ing lit­tle as the nar­ra­tive un­folds. Though it’s set in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, it seems more like a Euro­pean pro­duc­tion than an Amer­i­can one — refreshingly di­rected at adults, with long, il­lu­mi­nat­ing takes of the ac­tors’ faces and sparse, freighted di­a­logue. There is hu­mor here, but it’s tem­pered by cur­rents of suf­fer­ing that run be­neath the sur­face. Letts and Winger are su­perb, deftly in­hab­it­ing char­ac­ters who are swept along by their in­stincts, how­ever in­de­ci­pher­able those may be. Rated R. 94 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jeff Acker)

LOWRIDERS

Set in East LA, this drama fo­cuses on Danny (Gabriel Chavar­ria), a teenage graf­fiti artist who is en­cour­aged by his fa­ther (Demián Bichir) to be­come a me­chanic and join the fam­ily busi­ness. When his no-good brother (Theo Rossi) re­turns from prison and seeks to com­pete with their fa­ther at a lowrider com­pe­ti­tion, Danny must choose his al­le­giances. Rated PG-13. 99 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

MAN­I­FESTO

Ger­man vis­ual artist Ju­lian Rose­feldt’s film is the con­ver­sion of his 2015 art in­stal­la­tion that as­sem­bled a dozen video screens, each pre­sent­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ously a 10-minute video of the Os­car-win­ning ac­tress Cate Blanchett as a dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter, spout­ing the dec­la­ra­tions of var­i­ous thinkers on art. Blanchett plays a home­less man, a mourner, a re­li­gious house­wife, a CEO, a chore­og­ra­pher, a punk rocker, and more, and it is her chameleonic vir­tu­oso turn in th­ese gen­der-hop­ping roles that cre­ates the glue that binds it all to­gether. There’s an in-your-face ar­ro­gance to Rose­feldt’s fugue of man­i­festos. “Get it or not,” he seems to be say­ing, “I don’t care.” Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing will de­pend on your per­spec­tive. If you are in­trigued enough by the con­cept and the sub­ject mat­ter to go see this film, you’re prob­a­bly half­way to em­brac­ing it. Not rated. 95 min­utes. The Screen. (Jonathan Richards)

NOR­MAN: THE MOD­ER­ATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER

Richard Gere plays Nor­man, the epony­mous hero of this char­ac­ter study of a flim­flam man who sud­denly finds him­self op­er­at­ing at an un­ac­cus­tomed al­ti­tude and gasp­ing for breath. Gere is gar­ner­ing fine reviews, and one’s tol­er­ance for the ac­tor’s idio­syn­cra­sies will pro­vide a pretty ac­cu­rate gauge of one’s re­ac­tion to this quirky New York tale. In the movie’s key setup, Nor­man in­sin­u­ates him­self into the com­pany of a mi­dlevel Is­raeli politi­cian named Micha Eshel (a su­perb Lior Ashke­nazi) by buy­ing him a pair of shoes. It’s an in­vest­ment that pays off three years later, when Eshel re­turns to New York as his coun­try’s prime min­is­ter. The po­lit­i­cal in­tri­ca­cies of this story, by the Is­raeli-Amer­i­can writer-di­rec­tor Joseph Cedar, keep things in­ter­est­ing, and a solid sup­port­ing cast helps us to over­look some of the story’s weak points. Even­tu­ally, as the threads tan­gle around Nor­man and threaten to bring him and his pre­car­i­ous house of cards to grief, there is only one av­enue that leads to re­demp­tion. Rated R. 118 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)

PI­RATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES

Johnny Depp ap­plies Jack Spar­row’s eye­liner for one more turn at the helm of the Pi­rates of the Caribbean fran­chise, this time as he seeks out the tri­dent of Po­sei­don. Un­for­tu­nately for Spar­row, an old en­emy (Javier Bar­dem) has es­caped from the Devil’s Tri­an­gle and is hot in pur­suit with re­venge in mind. Ge­of­frey Rush, Or­lando Bloom, and Keira Knight­ley also re­turn. Keith Richards once played Spar­row’s fa­ther; in this film, Paul McCart­ney plays his un­cle. Rated PG-13. 129 min­utes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. Screens in 2-D only at Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

SNATCHED

In the lat­est Amy Schumer com­edy, she plays Emily, a woman who is dumped by her boyfriend just be­fore they are sched­uled to em­bark on a trip to South Amer­ica. In­stead she coaxes her home­body mother (Goldie Hawn, in her first film role since 2002) to join her for a lit­tle bond­ing in par­adise. Their ad­ven­ture goes awry when they are kid­napped and must work to­gether to get away from their cap­tors. Rated R. 91 min­utes. 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 and adapted by Gaby Chi­appe from Lissa Evans’ 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)

His finest hours: Brian Cox in Churchill, at Vi­o­let Crown

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