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BOMB­SHELL: THE HEDY LA­MARR STORY

The “bomb­shell” in this doc­u­men­tary’s ti­tle is twofold. One is Hedy La­marr, the Aus­trian-born screen siren. The other is Hedy Kiesler Markey, the mar­ried name La­marr used on the 1942 patent for her fre­quency-hop­ping tech­nol­ogy, which was de­signed to keep Al­lied tor­pe­does on course in World War II and later led to the de­vel­op­ment of Blue­tooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi. Writer-di­rec­tor Alexan­dra Dean’s aim is to rec­on­cile the two Hedys, telling the sig­nif­i­cant story of La­marr’s great­est in­ven­tion as well as the ac­tress’s mul­ti­ple per­sonae. Through in­ter­views with sub­jects like au­thor Richard Rhodes and di­rec­tors Peter Bog­danovich and Mel Brooks, the doc­u­men­tary casts La­marr as a prodigy whose in­no­va­tion changed the course of tech­nol­ogy over the 20th cen­tury and be­yond. If the film’s pace seems too fre­netic at times — hop­ping as it does from the ac­tress’s movies to in­ven­tions to hus­bands (La­marr had six), with per­haps too lit­tle time in be­tween for re­flec­tion — we might bear in mind the un­re­lent­ing drive of the won­der woman her­self. Not rated. 90 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Molly Boyle)

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Noth­ing hap­pens very fast in this sun-drenched, lan­guorous love story adapted by di­rec­tor Luca Guadagnino and screen­writer James Ivory from An­dré Aci­man’s much-ac­claimed novel of sex­ual awak­en­ing. Seven­teen-year-old Elio (Timothée Cha­la­met) whiles away his sum­mers in the early 1980s at his par­ents’ va­ca­tion villa in north­ern Italy. He reads vo­ra­ciously, plays pi­ano, swims, dal­lies with girls, and waits for some­thing im­por­tant to hap­pen in his life. Then Oliver (Ar­mie Ham­mer) — a tall, blond Ado­nis of an Amer­i­can grad­u­ate stu­dent — ar­rives to fill a sum­mer in­tern­ship with Elio’s fa­ther, an Amer­i­can clas­sics pro­fes­sor (Michael Stuhlbarg). The young men cir­cle each other war­ily. When they fi­nally come to­gether, it is the teenager who makes the de­ci­sive move. The film­ing is dis­creet, but the com­bus­tion is in­tense. And there is a scene with a peach that may change for­ever the way you look at that fruit. Call Me By

Your Name has gar­nered three Os­car nom­i­na­tions: Best Pic­ture, Best Ac­tor (Cha­la­met), and Best Adapted Screen­play. Rated R. 130 min­utes. In English, French, and Ital­ian with sub­ti­tles. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

COCO

Pixar An­i­ma­tion heads south of the border to tell a story about a boy in ru­ral Mex­ico named Miguel (voiced by An­thony Gon­za­lez) who dreams of be­com­ing a fa­mous mu­si­cian like his hero, the de­ceased Ernesto de la Cruz. Miguel’s fam­ily for­bids any mem­ber from pur­su­ing a ca­reer in mu­sic, how­ever, be­cause of an an­ces­tor who left the clan for those very rea­sons. Dur­ing a Día de los Muer­tos cel­e­bra­tion, Miguel crosses over to the Land of the Dead to seek out de la Cruz and re­verse this rule. Pixar pop­u­lates this af­ter­life with a faith­ful imag­in­ing of Mex­i­can folk art that in­cludes bright col­ors, lively skele­tons, and spirit an­i­mals that seem to glow. As with Pixar’s best work, it’s the script that shines bright­est — and this air­tight ex­am­ple in­cludes a num­ber of sat­is­fy­ing plot twists

and a help­ing of heart. The film is Os­car-nom­i­nated for Best An­i­mated Fea­ture. Rated R. 109 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Robert Ker)

DARK­EST HOUR

Gary Old­man, up for an Academy Award for this role, is ex­tra­or­di­nary as Win­ston Churchill. Wreathed in fat, lum­ber­ing through the halls of Par­lia­ment or the rooms of his pri­vate res­i­dence with a cigar lodged firmly in his mouth, the ac­tor dis­ap­pears, and the leg­endary Bri­tish wartime prime min­is­ter is all there is to see. Di­rec­tor Joe Wright gives us Bri­tain at her dark­est hour, with Adolf Hitler run­ning roughshod over Europe and poised to cross the chan­nel. King Ge­orge VI (Ben Men­del­sohn), with con­sid­er­able re­luc­tance, in­vites Churchill to form a cab­i­net. The movie shows us a man iso­lated and with the bur­den of his coun­try’s sur­vival squarely on his shoul­ders. But de­spite the stakes, Dark­est Hour strug­gles to get us in­volved. At the end of it all, de­spite Old­man’s bravura per­for­mance, we are not as en­light­ened as we would like to be about the many con­tra­dic­tions of the man whose bull­dog de­ter­mi­na­tion saved Bri­tain. The movie is also nom­i­nated this year for Best Pic­ture. Rated PG-13. 125 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

FOR­EVER MY GIRL

Alex Roe plays Liam Page, a coun­try singer who left his girl­friend Josie (Jes­sica Rothe) be­hind to pur­sue fame and for­tune. When he re­turns to his home­town eight years later, he finds Josie own­ing a cof­fee shop and rais­ing a girl (Abby Ry­der Fort­son) who just hap­pens to be eight years old. Liam then sets about re­turn­ing to his roots and rein­vent­ing him­self as the sta­ble man and fa­ther that he never was. Rated PG. 104 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed)

THE GREAT­EST SHOW­MAN

Hugh Jack­man plays P.T. Bar­num, pro­fes­sional show­man and a founder of Rin­gling Bros. and Bar­num & Bai­ley Cir­cus, in this mu­si­cal based on the man’s life and ca­reer. Zac Efron plays ac­tor Phillip Car­lyle, and Zen­daya is trapeze per­former Anne Wheeler, two of the peo­ple drawn into Bar­num’s or­bit to be­come en­ter­tain­ers in what Bar­num dubbed the Great­est Show on Earth. Rated PG. 139 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed)

HAPPY END

This film be­gins with a nar­row ver­ti­cal video im­age shot on a cell­phone cam­era. The im­pact of that footage lingers, mak­ing us un­com­fort­ably aware that we’re voyeurs of all that fol­lows. The story cen­ters on the dys­func­tional house­hold of the Lau­rent fam­ily, which in­cludes pa­tri­arch Ge­orges (Jean-Louis Trintig­nant), a crusty old tyrant with in­cip­i­ent de­men­tia and a death wish; his daugh­ter Anne (Is­abelle Hup­pert), who runs the fam­ily busi­ness; her sur­geon brother Thomas (Mathieu Kasso­vitz) and his new wife and child; and his thir­teen-year-old daugh­ter Eve (Fan­tine Har­duin), who moves in af­ter the ap­par­ent sui­cide at­tempt of her mother. Di­rec­tor Michael Haneke scat­ters hints that this film may con­tain el­e­ments of a se­quel to his Os­car-win­ning Amour (2012), but the heart­break­ing ten­der­ness of that touch­ing story is nowhere to be seen. This is Haneke cut­ting with cold steel. Not rated. 107 min­utes. In French with sub­ti­tles. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)

HOS­TILES

Writer and di­rec­tor Scott Cooper’s Western plays fast and loose with the facts, but its three pro­tag­o­nists are vi­brantly brought to life in a story of hope, redemp­tion, and sur­vival. Chris­tian Bale is ter­rific as a soon-to-re­tire Army of­fi­cer given the job of es­cort­ing a dy­ing Cheyenne chief (Wes Studi, also giv­ing a pow­er­ful turn) from New Mex­ico to Wy­oming. Also on this jour­ney is a wi­dow (the ex­cel­lent Rosamund Pike) who wit­nessed the mas­sacre of her hus­band and chil­dren. The film paints the West as it once was: wild, un­com­pro­mis­ing, beau­ti­ful, yet for­giv­ing — just like we all want to be, maybe. Rated R. 133 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Robert Nott)

I, TONYA

From the start, the odds were stacked high against fig­ure skater Tonya Hard­ing (Mar­got Rob­bie, up for a Best Ac­tress Os­car), as di­rec­tor Craig Gille­spie demon­strates in this quick-wit­ted, if un­even, take on Hard­ing’s strangerthan-fic­tion tabloid saga. Her hell of a mother, LaVona (Al­li­son Jan­ney, nom­i­nated for her sup­port­ing role), was the driv­ing force be­hind the blue-col­lar skater’s un­likely rise to the top of a sport de­signed for rich girls. The wacky plot to hand­i­cap Hard­ing’s ri­val Nancy Ker­ri­gan, dreamed up by Hard­ing’s (now ex) hus­band Jeff Gil­looly (Se­bas­tian Stan), is the movie’s bread and but­ter, and there’s a lot of fun in the retelling. But the flip­pancy of the film’s Good­fel­las-style pack­ag­ing over­shad­ows its de­pic­tion of the darker side of Hard­ing’s life: the do­mes­tic vi­o­lence she suf­fered at the hands of first her mother and then Gil­looly. I, Tonya re­lies heav­ily on Hard­ing’s sass to give a toooften bizarrely light­hearted ac­count of the tragic cir­cum­stances that led to her no­to­ri­ety. As with the blar­ing head­lines that her­alded Hard­ing’s des­cent into scan­dal, one can’t help but feel that the real story seems to have got­ten lost some­where along the way. Rated R. 120 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Molly Boyle)

JU­MANJI: WEL­COME TO THE JUN­GLE

This se­quel to the 1995 Robin Williams-led ad­ven­ture film Ju­manji finds the board game of the orig­i­nal trans­formed into a video game for mod­ern au­di­ences. Four teenagers stum­ble upon the game while serv­ing de­ten­tion, and when they press “start,” they’re sucked into its world. Now find­ing them­selves em­bod­ied by the avatars they se­lected (played by Dwayne John­son, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gil­lan), they must find a way to sur­vive the dan­gers of the jun­gle and re­turn to their nor­mal lives. Whereas the 1995 film stacked dis­parate per­ils and goofy jokes atop each other to whip up a frenzy of car­toon­ish chaos, this up­date es­corts view­ers from one ac­tion se­quence to the next at a slug­gish pace, stop­ping for char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment when the heroes aren’t run­ning from rhi­nos or star­ing down snakes. The cast is lively, charis­matic, and ideal for the scenes of bond­ing and blos­som­ing ro­mances, but these mo­ments are not staged with enough zip to keep up with the ac­tors’ wit. Rated PG-13. 119 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Robert Ker)

LADY BIRD

Greta Ger­wig’s ex­tra­or­di­nary com­ing-of-age solo di­rec­to­rial de­but — Os­car-nom­i­nated for both Best Pic­ture and Best Di­rec­tor — feels in­ti­mately au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal. Not so, says Ger­wig. Like her ti­tle char­ac­ter (Saoirse Ro­nan, up for Best Ac­tress), she grew up in Sacra­mento and went to a Catholic school, but she was not the slacker rebel with dyed hair that she has cre­ated for Ro­nan to play. The film takes Lady Bird through the tribu­la­tions of se­nior year and par­ty­ing and friend­ship and first love and the dream of head­ing East to col­lege de­spite grades that make her col­lege coun­selor burst out laugh­ing. The heart of the movie is Lady Bird’s con­tentious re­la­tion­ship with her mother, played to in­tense, lov­ing, pas­sive-ag­gres­sive per­fec­tion by the great Lau­rie Met­calf, who is a con­tender for Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tress. Ger­wig has en­listed su­perb ac­tors with the­ater back­grounds, in­clud­ing ac­tor/play­wright Tracy Letts as the dad, and the won­der­ful Lois Smith as an un­der­stand­ing nun. Rated R. 93 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

LOV­ING VIN­CENT

Vin­cent van Gogh was a bril­liant artist who was also a bit mad. That might ap­ply as well to Dorota Ko­biela and Hugh Welch­man, the cre­ators of Lov­ing Vin­cent, a movie that is be­ing billed as the world’s first fully hand-painted fea­ture. The story fol­lows a vaguely Cit­i­zen Kane-like tem­plate, with a dead let­ter serv­ing as this film’s Rose­bud. The let­ter, from Vin­cent (Robert Gu­laczyk) to his brother Theo (Cezary Łukaszewicz), is dis­cov­ered by Joseph Roulin (Chris O’Dowd), the post­mas­ter at Ar­les, two years af­ter the painter’s death. Roulin dis­patches his son Ar­mand (Dou­glas Booth) to de­liver it. The story, which raises ques­tions about Vin­cent’s sui­cide, is ser­vice­able, but the real ap­peal of Lov­ing Vin­cent is in its ex­trav­a­gant visu­als of van Gogh paint­ings brought to an­i­mated life and used as ar­ma­tures for movie scenes. Nom­i­nated for Best An­i­mated Fea­ture Os­car. Rated PG-13. 94 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)

MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER

Di­rec­tor Hiro­masa Yonebayashi (The Se­cret World

of Ar­ri­etty) left Ja­pan’s renowned an­i­ma­tion stu­dio Ghi­bli to cre­ate this, the de­but film for the new Stu­dio Ponoc. The stu­dio fea­tures many Ghi­bli alumni, and this film bears all of Ghi­bli’s trade­marks, from the ex­pres­sive, col­or­ful an­i­ma­tion to the sin­gu­lar way of ren­der­ing fa­mil­iar fan­tasy tropes in fresh ways that some­how feel both grounded and fan­ci­ful. The story cen­ters on a young witch named Mary (voiced by Ruby Barn­hill) who is in­vited to an academy for witch­craft. That may sound fa­mil­iar, but the plot takes turns that fans of the Harry Pot­ter se­ries won’t ex­pect. It might un­fold too slowly for some view­ers, but Yonebayashi takes the Ghi­bli ap­proach of show­ing the world the way chil­dren ex­pe­ri­ence it: full of won­der, un­cer­tainty, and un­ex­pected trans­for­ma­tions, where al­lies can seem evil and vil­lains can be al­lur­ing. Rated PG. 102 min­utes. Dubbed in English. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Robert Ker)

MAZE RUN­NER: THE DEATH CURE

The third and fi­nal film in the Maze Run­ner saga finds Thomas (Dy­lan O’Brien) hav­ing to solve the most dif­fi­cult labyrinth yet in or­der to break into the fa­bled Last City. If he and his friends can get to the city, they’ll find the head­quar­ters to the evil or­ga­ni­za­tion WCKD and ac­quire a cure for the Flare virus that has in­fected the Earth’s pop­u­la­tion. Rated PG-13. 142 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed)

PADDING­TON 2

No mat­ter how strong you think your de­fenses are against cute, cud­dly, and whim­si­cal fare, di­rec­tor Paul King’s Padding­ton films aim to force you to sur­ren­der. The over­coat-wear­ing, mar­malade-munch­ing bear Padding­ton is back for more Lon­don ad­ven­tures: this time, he is framed in the theft of a rare book and must break free from jail and prove his in­no­cence. Hugh Bon­neville and Sally Hawkins re­turn as the par­ents of Padding­ton’s adopted fam­ily, who work on the out­side to clear his name, while Hugh Grant ap­pears as the vil­lain and seems to sa­vor ev­ery sec­ond of his per­for­mance. As with the first film, King adds vis­ual touches far more in­ven­tive than the min­i­mum of what the story re­quires, and the spe­cial ef­fects, par­tic­u­larly of Padding­ton’s fur, are de­light­ful. Even the

cli­mac­tic ac­tion se­quence — which is so of­ten a noisy, over­long bore in fam­ily films — is bril­liant and thrilling, in­volv­ing two trains run­ning par­al­lel to each other. This se­quel shows how to treat a beloved, decades-old char­ac­ter prop­erly. Rated PG. 103 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Robert Ker)

PHAN­TOM THREAD

In Paul Thomas An­der­son’s new movie, many things hang from a slen­der thread — cre­ativ­ity, sta­bil­ity, rep­u­ta­tion, love, even life it­self. The slight­est jolt could send things crash­ing down. Reynolds Wood­cock (Daniel DayLewis) is a fa­mous cou­turier in ‘50s Lon­don. At a coun­try inn he meets a wait­ress, a lis­some wench named Alma (Vicky Krieps), and be­fore you can say Ba­len­ci­aga, she has be­come his mis­tress, model, and muse. Alma rec­og­nizes that she is only the lat­est in Wood­cock’s string of com­pan­ions, but she is de­ter­mined to also be the last. He’s an ob­ses­sive-com­pul­sive tyrant; but, she dis­cov­ers, he can be a sweet, cud­dly lad when he’s un­der the weather. The love po­tion that she dreams up to keep him close adds the spice of in­trigue and sus­pense to the film’s sec­ond half. The three stars are riv­et­ing. Day-Lewis in par­tic­u­lar com­mands our at­ten­tion ev­ery mo­ment he’s on screen. Wood­cock’s phan­tom sig­na­ture de­vice is to sew hid­den mes­sages into the hems and lin­ings of his cre­ations. The mes­sage we have from Day-Lewis is all too stark: This, he says, is his farewell to film. Say it ain’t so. The movie has re­ceived Os­car nom­i­na­tions that in­clude Best Pic­ture, Ac­tor, and Di­rec­tor. Rated R. 130 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

THE POST

This is the story of Katharine “Kay” Gra­ham and her re­luc­tant stew­ard­ship of her fam­ily news­pa­per, The Wash­ing­ton Post, fol­low­ing the sui­cide of her hus­band, Post pub­lisher Philip Gra­ham. Di­rected by Steven Spiel­berg and star­ring Meryl Streep as Gra­ham and Tom Hanks as Post ed­i­tor Ben Bradlee, the movie has two fish to fry. One is fem­i­nism. The other is the role of a free press in a democ­racy. The Post ar­rives at a time when both of these is­sues res­onate with a par­tic­u­lar force. But it’s the press is­sue that must have gal­va­nized Spiel­berg. The script landed on his desk last fall at a time of na­tional shock and trauma, and the prospect of a movie cel­e­brat­ing hon­est, fear­less, fact-based re­port­ing must have seemed a moral man­date. Un­for­tu­nately, de­spite its pow­er­house act­ing, the movie too of­ten moves for­ward by the num­bers. It’s not bad, but it lacks the power to grab you. Jour­nal­ism movies in which we know the out­come of the story, like Spot­light and All the Pres­i­dent’s Men, still man­age to gin up in­spired sus­pense. The Post as­pires to this level but can’t quite pull it off. Academy Award-nom­i­nated for Best Pic­ture and Best Ac­tress (Streep). Rated PG-13. 105 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

THE SHAPE OF WA­TER

Elisa (a mag­i­cal Sally Hawkins) is a mute jan­i­tor who works the night shift at a mys­te­ri­ous gov­ern­ment fa­cil­ity where a heav­ily guarded pack­age is de­liv­ered. It’s a tank con­tain­ing a hu­manoid am­phib­ian (Doug Jones) that Strickland (a malev­o­lent Michael Shan­non), the fa­cil­ity’s bru­tal head of se­cu­rity, has cap­tured. Elisa finds her­self drawn to the crea­ture, and grad­u­ally her feel­ings ripen into a fullfledged Beauty and the Beast at­trac­tion. Mean­while, Strickland de­cides to cut the crea­ture up for study. This is re­sisted by one of the fa­cil­ity’s top sci­en­tists, Dr. Hoff­stetler (a soul­ful Michael Stuhlbarg), who turns out to have se­crets of his own. Del Toro has cre­ated a story that moves ef­fort­lessly for­ward through mul­ti­ple gen­res, en­com­pass­ing gothic ro­mance, fairy tale, Cold War spy thriller, and fan­tasy, with other bits and pieces strewn in. The sump­tu­ous visu­als are dom­i­nated by wa­ter themes. By it­self, wa­ter has no shape. It adapts it­self to the con­tours of any ves­sel that it fills. The same is true of love. The film is up for 13 Oscars, in­clud­ing Best Pic­ture, Ac­tress (Hawkins), Sup­port­ing Ac­tor (Richard Jenk­ins), Sup­port­ing Ac­tress (Oc­tavia Spencer), and Di­rec­tor. Rated R. 123 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

THREE BILL­BOARDS OUT­SIDE EBBING, MIS­SOURI

Film­maker Mar­tin McDon­agh is like a mad chemist, throw­ing to­gether el­e­ments that have no busi­ness be­ing in the same pot ex­cept to fizz and ex­plode. In this tale of re­venge, vi­o­lence and hu­mor rub shoul­ders with tragedy and pathos like an­gry com­muters at rush hour, knit to­gether with the rawest of lan­guage and a script that scat­ters loose ends like birdseed. But it’s a tour de force, riv­et­ing from start to fin­ish. Frances McDor­mand is ex­tra­or­di­nary as the em­bit­tered Mil­dred, who hires three derelict bill­boards along a lonely road in a Burma-Shave-like se­quence to protest the po­lice’s in­abil­ity to solve her daugh­ter’s rape and mur­der. Woody Har­rel­son brings a gen­tle no­bil­ity to Chief Wil­loughby, and Sam Rock­well is a racist deputy with the sub­tlety and in­tel­lect of a blunt in­stru­ment. Like Tarantino at his best, McDon­agh cre­ates movie scenes that land like wild cin­e­matic hay­mak­ers. The film has been nom­i­nated for seven Academy Awards, in­clud­ing Best Pic­ture, Best Ac­tress (McDor­mand), and Sup­port­ing Ac­tor (Har­rel­son and Rock­well). Rated R. 115 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

WALK WITH ME

This doc­u­men­tary of­fers a closer look at Viet­namese Zen Bud­dhist monk Thích Nhat Hanh and his mind­ful­ness prac­tice. Filmed over the course of three years, the movie shows him in his monastery in ru­ral France and also fol­lows him around the world, spend­ing sig­nif­i­cant time not only with him, but with his many fol­low­ers and devo­tees as well. Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch nar­rates. Not rated. 94 min­utes. In English, French, and Viet­namese with sub­ti­tles. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema. (Not re­viewed)

WINCH­ESTER

He­len Mir­ren takes the hor­ror genre for a spin, play­ing Sarah Winch­ester, the wife of gun man­u­fac­turer William Winch­ester. Very loosely based on Sarah’s real life, this movie fol­lows Sarah in the years af­ter William’s death as she be­comes in­creas­ingly con­vinced that the ghosts of those who were killed by Winch­ester weapons are haunt­ing her. She builds a strange, sprawl­ing house in San Jose, Cal­i­for­nia — known to­day as the Winch­ester Mys­tery House — to es­cape the spir­its. Rated PG-13. 99 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed)

Peter Rab­bit, at Re­gal Sta­dium 14 and Vi­o­let Crown

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