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AQUA­MAN This premiere solo out­ing for DC comics’ Aqua­man is as big and (oc­ca­sion­ally) dumb as its hero, but it can also match the weird charm of Ja­son Mo­moa’s per­for­mance. The story takes us to Aqua­man’s be­gin­ning as a half-hu­man, half-merman kid who can speak to ma­rine wildlife (he gets that from his mom, an At­lantean queen played by Ni­cole Kid­man). When At­lantis threat­ens war on the land dwellers, Aqua­man must re­al­ize his des­tiny as the un­der­wa­ter king­dom’s leader and usurp his hot-headed half-brother Orm (Pa­trick Wil­son). Much of the di­a­logue lands with a thud, and the act­ing could be stronger (Am­ber Heard, play­ing Aqua­man’s love in­ter­est, is the big­gest of­fender), but as ef­fects-laden spec­ta­cles go, di­rec­tor James Wan de­liv­ers the goods and then some. The movie’s MVP, how­ever, is cos­tume de­signer Kym Bar­rett, who crafts ev­ery­thing from the bug-like out­fit of vil­lain Black Manta (Yahya Ab­dul-Ma­teen II) to the At­lantean ar­mor with such won­drous cre­ativ­ity that she could find her­self among the crafts­peo­ple be­hind the cos­tume dra­mas and pres­tige pictures on Os­car night. Rated PG-13. 143 min­utes. Screens in 2D only at Re­gal Santa Fe 6; Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Robert Ker) AT ETER­NITY’S GATE Ju­lian Schn­abel’s wildly un­even ac­count of the fever­ish last stretch of the life of Vin­cent van Gogh is largely about ways of see­ing. The por­trait that Schn­abel has put on film is in many ways as much about his own way of see­ing as van Gogh’s. Willem Dafoe cap­tures the artis­tic in­ten­sity and emo­tional in­sta­bil­ity that seem to have char­ac­ter­ized the fate­ful months in the spring and sum­mer of 1890 that pre­ceded the artist’s death. The main draw­back to Dafoe’s cast­ing is that he’s about 30 years older than van Gogh was when he died. De­spite its flaws, this ver­sion of van Gogh’s end game packs plenty of power and char­ac­ter as it takes Vin­cent from fail­ure and de­pres­sion in grey, grimy Paris to Ar­les af­ter meet­ing Paul Gau­guin (an im­pe­ri­ous Os­car Isaac) and be­ing ad­vised to “go south, Vin­cent!” There’s plenty to an­noy you in this lat­est ad­di­tion to the well-stocked van Gogh cin­ema shelf, but also plenty to ad­mire, in­clud­ing Dafoe’s per­for­mance, some fine cameos by ac­tors Mathieu Amal­ric and Mads Mikkelsen, and a beau­ti­ful de­pic­tion of the creative process of paint­ing it­self. Rated PG-13. 110 min­utes. In English and some French with sub­ti­tles. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jonathan Richards) BO­HEMIAN RHAP­SODY In 1991, Queen front­man Fred­die Mer­cury died from AIDS-re­lated com­pli­ca­tions. With this biopic, the band’s sur­viv­ing mem­bers at­tempt to do right by his legacy while also wa­ter­ing it down, set­tling petty scores with for­mer man­age­ment and re­mind­ing the pub­lic that they were there and con­trib­uted a great deal, too — as when gui­tarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee) in­forms no­body in par­tic­u­lar that he wrote the solo in “Bo­hemian Rhap­sody.” The re­sults are grandiose, goofy, and largely en­ter­tain­ing. While a bit more en­ergy would have gone a long way, the film du­ti­fully hits the bench­marks of the band’s rise to fame with­out fuss­ing too much over de­tails, and Rami Malek em­bod­ies the larger-than-life lead singer Mer­cury with par­tic­u­lar relish. Con­cerns from the gay com­mu­nity about the sur­face-level treat­ment de­voted to Mer­cury’s sex­u­al­ity are well noted, but for what the film is — a nearly fam­ily-friendly over­view of Queen’s ca­reer — it de­liv­ers crowd-pleas­ing re­sults. More im­por­tantly, the film­mak­ers also know when to fore­ground Queen’s eter­nally vi­brant mu­sic and just get out of the way. Some screen­ings are “sin­ga­long” screen­ings; check the the­ater for de­tails. Rated PG-13. 134 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Robert Ker) BUM­BLE­BEE The 1980s era of fam­ily movies is ef­fec­tively recre­ated in this first en­try in the Trans­form­ers fran­chise not to be di­rected by Michael Bay. The year is 1987, and Char­lie

(Hailee Ste­in­feld) is a mis­fit teenage girl with a sin­gle mom (Pamela Ad­lon). She fishes a ca­nary-yel­low Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle out of a scrap­yard with the in­tent to fix it up, and dis­cov­ers that it’s a ro­bot from a dis­tant world named Bum­ble­bee, who was ren­dered mute in a bat­tle. The two bond over their shared out­cast sta­tus and soon must de­fend them­selves from the evil De­cep­ti­cons, as well as some army bros (led by an agent played by John Cena) who want the alien gone. It’s all ca­pa­bly crafted by di­rec­tor Travis Knight, and in­cludes sev­eral scenes that ex­ude a tan­gi­ble warmth. But there isn’t an orig­i­nal bolt in the frame of this movie, which apes E.T. the Ex­tra-Ter­res­trial down to al­most all of its de­tails, and that fa­mil­iar­ity can be charm­ing at some times and bor­ing at oth­ers. The ’80s set­ting also re­minds us that this prop­erty was cre­ated in that era as a cheap car­toon to sell toys; de­spite ef­forts to pro­vide the fran­chise with a soul, it still gives off that whiff of bland cap­i­tal­ism. Rated PG-13. 113 min­utes. Screens in 2D only at Re­gal Santa Fe 6; Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Robert Ker) BURN­ING In South Korean di­rec­tor Lee Chang-dong’s slowburn psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller, fire is a metaphor for the pas­sions of love, de­sire, and pos­si­bly mur­der. Noth­ing is as it seems when Jong-su (Ah-in Yoo), an in­tro­verted young man, gets mixed up with Haemi ( Jong-seo Jun), an old friend, and the brazen and con­fi­dent Ben (Steven Yeun), a ri­val for Haemi’s af­fec­tions. When Haemi mys­te­ri­ously dis­ap­pears with­out a trace, Jong-su sus­pects Ben, who pro­fesses a pen­chant for dark crimes, of killing her. Thus be­gins a taut game of cat and mouse. But are Ben’s con­fes­sions of ar­son, which may have helped him cover up a string of mur­ders, true? Is Jong-su the vic­tim of a hoax, or is some­thing more in­ex­pli­ca­ble and ne­far­i­ous afoot? An ex­pertly crafted, at­mo­spheric of­fer­ing with nods to clas­sic film noir tropes, Burn­ing builds to a stun­ning cli­max. Not rated. 148 min­utes. In Korean with sub­ti­tles. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Michael Abatemarco) ESCAPE ROOM Uti­liz­ing a plot sim­i­lar to that of Saw, this hor­ror film cen­ters on six strangers (with Tay­lor Rus­sell in the lead role) who are in­vited to try out a new escape room puzzle in town with the aim of winning $1 mil­lion. When they ar­rive at the meet­ing place, they re­al­ize they’re al­ready in the room, and that the chal­lenge has be­gun. As they nav­i­gate one deadly trap af­ter an­other, they also dis­cover the se­cret that ties them all to­gether. Rated PG-13. 100 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed) THE FAVOURITE All pol­i­tics is sex­ual in the court of Queen Anne (Olivia Col­man), in this rav­ish­ingly en­ter­tain­ing cos­tume romp as imag­ined by di­rec­tor Yor­gos Lan­thi­mos (The

Lobster). Anne ruled Eng­land for a seven-year stretch in the early 18th cen­tury. Her clos­est ad­vi­sor and con­fi­dante was Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marl­bor­ough. When that re­la­tion­ship soured, Sarah (Rachel Weisz) was re­placed in Anne’s af­fec­tions by Abi­gail Hill (Emma Stone), Sarah’s poor re­la­tion. Both were Ladies of the Bed­cham­ber to the Queen, and in this movie’s de­li­ciously bawdy take, they lived up to that ti­tle in more ways than one. Ev­ery­thing clicks in this darkly funny satire. The cos­tumes are rich, as is the pro­duc­tion de­sign in which palace in­trigue swirls and wars are al­ter­nately launched and halted, funded and starved, and min­is­ters come and go. The hu­mor is some­times so­phis­ti­cated, some­times slap­stick. All three women should be near the front of the line at Os­car time. Weisz and Stone duel for Anne’s af­fec­tions with wit, charm, de­ceit, and other, more sin­is­ter weapons. And Col­man is tran­scen­dent, cre­at­ing a doughy, gouty, self-pity­ing ego­tist with oc­ca­sion­ally glimpsed re­serves of no­bil­ity and steel. Rated R. 119 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards) GREEN BOOK This “in­spired by a true story” tale fol­lows a well­worn for­mula: an odd-cou­ple pair­ing of po­lar opposites who take a while to warm up to each other, but when they fi­nally do, it’s as cozy as Christ­mas (where the movie ends). The mis­matched pair is Tony Val­le­longa (Viggo Mortensen), a brawl­ing goom­bah from a Bronx Ital­ian neigh­bor­hood, and Dr. Don Shirley (Ma­her­shala Ali), a fas­tid­i­ous African-Amer­i­can con­cert pi­anist who lives high atop Carnegie Hall. The year is 1962. Dr. Shirley and his trio are em­bark­ing on a con­cert tour of the Deep South, and he re­quires a driver who can dou­ble as en­forcer. Mortensen warms into the role af­ter lay­ing the boor on a bit thick in the es­tab­lish­ing scenes. Ali, too, has to play through a stereo­type, but he emerges tri­umphant, and he ices the deal with su­perb pi­ano work. There is scarcely a scene that you don’t see com­ing, scarcely a but­ton that is not pushed. Yet they are pushed and ex­e­cuted so win­ningly that in the end you’d be in­clined to for­give the movie even if an an­gel got his wings. Rated PG-13. 130 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards) HOLMES AND WATSON Will Fer­rell and John C. Reilly, the dy­namic duo from pop­u­lar comedic films like Tal­ladega Nights: The Bal­lad of Ricky Bobby and Step Broth­ers, re­unite for this movie based on one of the most fa­mous lit­er­ary part­ner­ships of all time: Sherlock Holmes (Fer­rell) and Dr. Watson (Reilly). When a mur­der oc­curs at Buck­ing­ham Palace, the bum­bling pair must solve the case in or­der to pro­tect the Queen (Pam Fer­ris). Rated PG-13. 90 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed) IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK Barry Jenk­ins (Moon­light) has fash­ioned painfully beau­ti­ful cine­matic po­etry from James Bald­win’s 1974 novel of young love and racial in­jus­tice. Jenk­ins moves slowly, build­ing scenes, re­vis­it­ing them, and weav­ing in new threads to tell the story of Fonny (Stephan James) and Tish (KiKi Layne), two sweet and sen­si­tive young peo­ple. They fall in love and make a baby be­fore Fonny is locked away on a false rape charge and left to wither in prison with­out a trial. Bald­win’s story is about love, fam­ily, sup­port, and en­durance against crush­ing odds. It takes place in 1970s New York, with Mem­phis’ Beale Street plucked for the ti­tle from the W.C. Handy clas­sic song “Beale Street Blues” to rep­re­sent the bleak op­por­tu­nity a racist so­ci­ety of­fers African Amer­i­cans. The ac­tors are all su­perb, with Layne’s Tish grow­ing from a nine­teen-year-old into a woman be­fore our eyes, and a ter­rific Regina King as her lov­ing, in­domitable mother. If the film has a flaw, it lies per­haps in a shade too much lyrical sen­si­tiv­ity, but that sen­si­tiv­ity also serves the at­mos­phere of con­trasts that Jenk­ins so pow­er­fully cre­ates. Rated R. 119 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards) THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH Ni­co­las Roeg’s 1976 sci-fi clas­sic, based on the novel by Wal­ter Te­vis, stars David Bowie as Thomas Jerome New­ton, an in­ter­stel­lar trav­eler who is stuck on Earth and try­ing to get back to his fam­ily. The film — which also fea­tures Candy Clark, Buck Henry, and Rip Torn — is a sur­real odyssey that tells a very hu­man story. New­ton’s al­le­gor­i­cal fall is tragic, leav­ing view­ers to ques­tion his very na­ture. Bowie played mem­o­rable roles in Basquiat, Labyrinth, and other films, but New­ton, an alien who suc­cumbs to hu­man vice, is per­haps his most iconic. New Mex­ico is among the film’s set­tings (Fenton Lake is where New­ton crash-lands) and the movie was shot at lo­ca­tions in Je­mez Springs, Madrid, Be­len, Arte­sia, Alam­ogordo, and Roswell, among other places. Roeg died in 2018; Jan. 10 marked the three-year an­niver­sary of Bowie’s death. The cin­ema is show­ing a new high-qual­ity DCP dig­i­tal print of the film. Rated R. 139 min­utes. Jean Cocteau. (Michael Abatemarco) MARY POP­PINS RE­TURNS Emily Blunt blows into London via the um­brella of Mary Pop­pins, the whim­si­cal Bri­tish nanny famously por­trayed by Julie An­drews, for this se­quel to the 1964 film. The Banks sib­lings, now adults played by Emily Mor­timer and Ben Whishaw, find them­selves at risk of los­ing their child­hood home. Pop­pins ap­pears in or­der to help them, as well as the next gen­er­a­tion of Banks kids, through this rough patch, get­ting them back in tune with the magic of life. The plot is clichéd, but di­rec­tor Rob Mar­shall nails the tone per­fectly, por­tray­ing London with a small-town friend­li­ness and uti­liz­ing clas­sic-style an­i­ma­tion for Pop­pins’ flights of fancy. Lin-Manuel Mi­randa plays the Dick Van Dyke-like side­kick, a singing street lamp­lighter, and Mi­randa’s ex­pe­ri­ence with Hamil­ton lends a pol­ished air to the de­light­ful (and plen­ti­ful) mu­si­cal num­bers. Blunt is charm­ing in the lead role, thread­ing the nee­dle be­tween stern nanny and big­hearted ma­gi­cian per­fectly. While the run­ning time is too long for some tod­dlers, this movie finds Dis­ney re­cap­tur­ing the ef­fort­lessly warm feel­ing of their clas­sic live-ac­tion movies, right down to the ap­pear­ances by Van Dyke and An­gela Lans­bury. Rated PG. 130 min­utes. Re­gal Santa Fe 6; Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Robert Ker) MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS Based on John Guy’s 2004 bi­og­ra­phy Queen of Scots: The True

Life of Mary Stu­art, this pe­riod drama tells the story of Mary, Queen of Scots (Saoirse Ro­nan), who re­turned to Scot­land from France as a teenage widow in 1561 and pro­ceeded to ruf­fle many feath­ers, most no­tably those of Queen El­iz­a­beth (Mar­got Rob­bie). Di­rec­tor Josie Rourke at­tempts to ex­am­ine both pow­er­ful women with a sym­pa­thetic eye, as they vie for the throne

of Eng­land with sup­port­ers on each side. The clash doesn’t end well for one of them; those aware of Bri­tish his­tory know which one, while for ev­ery­one else, it might be con­sid­ered a movie spoiler. Rated R. 124 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed) THE MULE Clint East­wood’s ad­vanced age isn’t stop­ping him from di­rect­ing and star­ring in movies. This time, he plays Leo Sharp, a World War II veteran who, in his late eight­ies, en­coun­ters fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties and solves them by be­com­ing a drug mule for the Si­naloa car­tel. As his work­load grows larger, he at­tracts the at­ten­tion of a DEA agent (Bradley Cooper) who at­tempts to track him down. The story is based on true events, adapted from the June 2014 New York Times ar­ti­cle “The Si­naloa Car­tel’s 90-Year-Old Drug Mule.” Dianne Wi­est, Lau­rence Fish­burne, and Michael Peña also star. Rated R. 116 min­utes. Re­gal Santa Fe 6; Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed) THE QUAKE In this se­quel to the hit Nor­we­gian thriller The Wave (2015), with the same cast but a new di­rec­tor in John An­dreas An­der­sen, ge­ol­o­gist Kris­tian Eikjord (Kristof­fer Joner) is a shat­tered ner­vous wreck of his for­mer self. He’s liv­ing with the trauma of hav­ing saved his fam­ily and a lot of peo­ple from a tsunami, though hun­dreds more were killed. Three years later, he fore­sees a mas­sive earth­quake about to hit Oslo, but no­body will lis­ten to him. Af­ter an over­long buildup that fol­lows fa­mil­iar dis­as­ter-film tropes, Kris­tian is proved right in spades. Once the city be­gins to rock and roll, the ef­fects are ut­terly grip­ping, and the im­ages of crum­bling sky­scrapers will pro­vide a harrowing re­minder of 9/11. Joner and his supporting cast, par­tic­u­larly Edith Haa­gen­rud-Sande as his lit­tle daugh­ter and Ane Dahl Torp as his es­tranged wife, are ex­cel­lent, and there’s no short­age of ten­sion as you await the in­evitable. Once the movie hits its cli­max, though, the ending is a bit abrupt, leav­ing you won­der­ing if they ran out of bud­get, pa­tience, or both. And what the se­quel will be. Rated PG-13. 106 min­utes. In Nor­we­gian with sub­ti­tles. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema. (Jonathan Richards) RALPH BREAKS THE IN­TER­NET This se­quel to the 2012 an­i­mated com­edy Wreck-It

Ralph finds the video-game hero Ralph (John C. Reilly) and his buddy Vanel­lope (Sarah Sil­ver­man) ven­tur­ing into the in­ter­net via a Wi-Fi router to try to save Vanel­lope’s game from de­struc­tion. They join a hard­core online game called

Slaugh­ter Race, where Vanel­lope finds a greater sense of pur­pose and a po­ten­tial new bestie in Shank (Gal Gadot), one of the game’s driv­ers. Ralph grows con­cerned that he’s los­ing his friend, and his in­se­cu­ri­ties de­liver what the film’s ti­tle prom­ises. It’s a lot of plot for one an­i­mated film to han­dle, but there’s noth­ing to fault with the cast — play­ing the lov­able bruiser is right in Reilly’s wheel­house, and Sil­ver­man com­ple­ments his lead ef­forts nicely with her own chirpy charm. The film in­cludes many in-jokes about the in­ter­net and Dis­ney films, but a pro­longed game of “spot the ref­er­ence” doesn’t add up to a to­tally sat­is­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. For­tu­nately, the two stars sup­ply enough heart to carry the movie through its stilted patches. Rated PG. 112 min­utes. Screens in 2D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Robert Ker) ROMA Cinephiles will find much to cher­ish in the lat­est pic­ture by di­rec­tor Al­fonso Cuarón, who re­turns to his in­die roots with this black-and-white ode to his child­hood in 1970s Mex­ico City and in par­tic­u­lar to his fam­ily’s house­keeper. He uses a wide ar­ray of cine­matic tools to trans­form a do­mes­tic drama into a vis­ually thrilling fea­ture chock­ablock with how­did-he-do-it shots that are in­flu­enced by gi­ants such as Akira Kuro­sawa, François Truf­faut, and Robert Alt­man, and also in­clude sly nods to his own past work in­clud­ing Grav­ity and

Chil­dren of Men. The story cen­ters on a maid named Cleo (Yal­itza Apari­cio), who works in a mid­dle-class house­hold, man­ag­ing the fam­ily’s four ram­bunc­tious kids and com­fort­ing their mother Sofía (Ma­rina de Tavira), who is go­ing through a rapidly fray­ing mar­riage. Cleo has her own prob­lems out­side the house. Is­sues of class and race bub­ble just below the sur­face, which all share the com­mon­al­ity that if you’re a woman, then men will treat you ter­ri­bly re­gard­less of your back­ground. At times the film can feel like it con­tains a bit more style than sub­stance, but with such care, imagination, and vir­tu­os­ity de­voted to the style, it stands above the cur­rently crowded field of pres­tige pictures. Rated R. 135 min­utes. In Span­ish with sub­ti­tles. The Screen. (Robert Ker) SEC­OND ACT Jen­nifer Lopez stars as Maya, a mid­dle-aged woman work­ing in a re­tail job who is cer­tain that she has as much to of­fer the busi­ness world as any young, con­nected MBA grad­u­ate. She gets her chance to prove her met­tle when her god­son (Dal­ton Har­rod) cre­ates a fake ré­sumé and so­cial me­dia ac­counts to make her seem ac­com­plished, and she’s hired as a con­sul­tant by an in­vest­ment firm. She then needs to fake it un­til she makes it, of­ten to comic re­sults. Rated PG-13. 103 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed) SHO­PLIFTERS Osamu (Lily Franky) is the pa­tri­arch of the Shi­batas, a Tokyo fam­ily scrap­ing out a mar­ginal ex­is­tence. They have day jobs, but for the bal­ance of life’s ne­ces­si­ties, they turn to shoplift­ing. We meet Osamu and the pre­teen Shota (Kairi Jyo), as they ex­e­cute a well-grooved run on a gro­cery store. On their way home they hear five-year-old Juri (Miyu Sasaki) cry­ing and shiv­er­ing out­side her locked house, so they scoop her up and bring her home with the gro­ceries. When they notice scars on her skinny lit­tle body, they de­cide to keep her. So be­gins Sho­plifters, the Palme d’Or-winning film from Ja­panese master Hirokazu Kore-Eda. The ap­peal­ing fam­ily in­cludes mother Nobuyu (Sakura Ando), her younger sis­ter Aki (Mayu Mat­suoka), and Grandma Hat­sue (Kirin Kiki, who died in Septem­ber). But Kore-Eda starts pulling back cur­tains and re­veal­ing mul­ti­ple lay­ers of char­ac­ter and back­story that build from un­set­tling to dev­as­tat­ing. The ac­tors, from the lit­tle girl to the grandma, project a warmth and hu­man­ity that give the seis­mic rev­e­la­tions of the movie’s endgame a touch­ing and lin­ger­ing res­o­nance. Not rated. 121 min­utes. In Ja­panese with sub­ti­tles. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jonathan Richards) SPI­DER-MAN: INTO THE SPI­DERVERSE The wall-crawl­ing su­per­hero Spi­der-Man makes his fea­ture-length an­i­mated de­but, and the re­sults of­fers vi­brant vi­su­als that make most su­per­hero and an­i­mated films look con­ser­va­tive by com­par­i­son. With bold ac­tion that seems to leap from a comic book, Into the Spi­derverse boasts a re­fresh­ing style that bor­rows from anime, graf­fiti art, and other sources, and is ac­com­pa­nied a lively hip-hop sound­track. In keep­ing with the youth­ful new-mil­len­nium vibe, the pro­tag­o­nist is not your grand­fa­ther’s Peter Parker — it’s the won­der­ful Miles Mo­rales (voiced by Shameik Moore), the teenage, African-Amer­i­can ver­sion of Spi­der-Man that de­buted in the comic books in 2011. Mo­rales runs into Parker (Jake John­son), how­ever, when he stum­bles into the Spi­derVerse, a range of Spi­der-Man-like char­ac­ters from al­ter­nate di­men­sions, which in­clude a fe­male ver­sion of Spi­der-Man (Hailee Ste­in­feld), a De­pres­sion-era pulp hero (Ni­co­las Cage), and a pig (John Mu­laney). To­gether, they must stop the King­pin (Liev Schreiber) from destroying all of their di­men­sions. Rated PG-13. 117 min­utes. Screens in 2D only at Re­gal Santa Fe 6; Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Robert Ker) VICE Adam McKay (The Big Short) has been crit­i­cized for triv­i­al­iz­ing the legacy of for­mer vice-pres­i­dent Dick Cheney. But the goofy side of McKay’s por­trait of the man who rose out of a boozy gut­ter to be­come the most pow­er­ful sec­ond ba­nana in our na­tion’s his­tory is there to coun­ter­point a deadly se­ri­ous story. Chris­tian Bale is noth­ing short of jaw­drop­ping in his em­bod­i­ment of Cheney. It’s not just the weight he gains dur­ing the course of the pic­ture, it’s ev­ery­thing about him — the slouch, the walk, the tilt of the head, the hunch of the shoul­ders, the sneer, the stare. Amy Adams plays Cheney’s wife Lynne, who turns him around from a wastrel and onto the path of power. There are en­ter­tain­ing per­for­mances from Steve Carell as Don­ald Rums­feld, and Sam Rock­well as Ge­orge W. Bush, though the movie misses a chance to ex­plore more mean­ing­fully the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Cheney and Dubya. And some­times the hu­mor may go a lit­tle over the top. But a lot of it is nee­dle-sharp, and driven by Bale’s ex­tra­or­di­nary per­for­mance, it hits with the force of a weapon of mass in­struc­tion. Rated R. 132 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; The Screen; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards) WEL­COME TO MAR­WEN Steve Carell plays Mark, a man who is se­verely phys­i­cally as­saulted. As part of his re­cov­ery from brain dam­age, he in­vents a minia­ture town called Mar­wen in his back­yard, where he can let his imagination run wild, and via a col­lec­tion of Bar­bie-sized dolls, be the hero in his life that he al­ways wanted to be. His heal­ing process is put to the test when he must tes­tify in court against his at­tack­ers and re­live the trauma. Les­lie Mann, Diane Kruger, and Janelle Monáe also star. Robert Ze­meckis di­rects. Rated PG-13. 116 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed)

The Up­side, at Re­gal Santa Fe 6, Re­gal Sta­dium 14, and Vi­o­let Crown

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