New releases for a night at the movies
Paul Dano’s keenly intelligent and quietly piercing directorial debut is about a marriage that collapses during autumn, 1960.
Fourteen-year-old Joe Brinson (Ed Oxenbould) watches as his newly unemployed father Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) leaves town to help fight a forest fire raging in the mountains nearby.
Dad’s departure ignites a different kind of conflagration at home, where Joe’s mother, Jeanette (Carey Mulligan), releases years of pent-up dissatisfaction and emerges into a defiant new understanding of herself. Joe’s father is absent for a long stretch of the picture, and Gyllenhaal makes you feel the weight of his absence. Mulligan’s performance is too specific and too wrenching to be reduced to a mere generational statement. This is her most fully formed role since her performance in another early-60s piece, the British coming-of-age drama An Education. Rated M. TNS
Rami Malek should be applauded for capturing the spirit of Freddie Mercury with such finesse in this biopic. Hats off also to Gwilym Lee for his portrayal of Brian May. The film follows Queen from their beginnings playing in pubs, when Freddie was still Farrokh Bulsara, a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport, to the band’s height of super-stardom.
The film climaxes with Queen’s unforgettable performance at Live Aid in 1985. The internal arguing, relationships with his friends, family, lovers and management offer insight into the workings of Queen and the man who fronted the band with such passion but, more than anything, this is a celebration of their unique style of music. It will rock you.
Rated M. Annelies Gartner
GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN
There’s a new group of kids in a new town who are taken in by the evil machinations of ventriloquist’s dummy Slappy. Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and his friend Sam (Caleel Harris) pick up Slappy at a creepy old house while doing a junk run.
Of course, they promptly recite the incantation found in his pocket, as one does when one happens upon a terrifying puppet, and bring him home. Slappy, who apparently longs for a family, is happy to ingratiate himself with Sonny’s sister, Sarah (Madison Iseman), a senior struggling with a scummy boyfriend and college applications, and their harried, snarky mum, Kathy (Wendi McLendon-Covey).
The plot is of little consequence. All that matters is once Slappy’s out of the box, he wants to make some mischief, and mischief he makes, with the assistance of all the creatures he brings into existence.
It’s a shame Goosebumps 2 misses the mark so badly, when the first film was such a surprising and delightful hoot. Rated PG. TNS