Film
The Exorcist plays at the Transit Drive-In on Friday at 10pm.
The Exorcist plays at the Transit Drive-In on Friday at 10pm.

At the Movies

by / Oct. 17, 2017 9am EST

 OPENING THIS WEEK

BOO 2! A MADEA HALLOWEEN—Tyler Perry’s back in drag. With Patrice Lovely, Brock O’Hurn, Lexy Panterra, and Diamond White. Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria, Transit Drive-In (Fri-Sun only)

GEOSTORM—Dean Devlin, formerly the producing partner of producer of apocalyptic disaster specialist Roland Emmerich, moves into the director’s chair for his own apocalyptic disaster movie. Starring Abbie Cornish, Gerard Butler, Mare Winningham, Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, and Andy Garcia. Area theaters

MARK FELT: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE—Liam Neeson as the deputy director of the FBI who was later revealed to be “Deep Throat,” the source of information to the press during the Watergate investigation. With Diane Lane, Marton Csokas, Tony Goldwyn, Michael C. Hall, Tom Sizemore, Bruce Greenwood, and Eddie Marsan. Directed by Peter Landesman (Concussion). Reviewed this issue. Dipson Eastern Hills

ONLY THE BRAVE— Firefighters protect a mountain town from a wildfire. Starring Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Connelly, and Andie MacDowell. Directed by Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy). Dipson Flix, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

THE SNOWMAN—Nordic noir from a Jo Nesbø novel, starring Michael Fassbender as Detective Harry Hole, Yes, that’s really the character’s name. With Rebecca Ferguson, Chloë Sevigny, Val Kilmer, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and J. K. Simmons. Directed by Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In). Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

 

 ALTERNATIVE CINEMA

ALICE, SWEET ALICE (1982)—Best known as the film debut of a young Brooke Shields, this religious-themed thriller stars Paula E. Sheppard (Liquid Sky) as a girl suspected of murdering her sister and other parishioners in her New Jersey town. Shown on video in cut form as Communion and Holy Terror, this restored version is worth a look for horror buffs. Wed Oct 25 7:30pm. Screening Room

BELOVED (1998)—Jonathan Demme’s phantasmagorical adaptation of the Toni Morrison novel about an ex-slave haunted by the memory of her daughter. Starring Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton, Lisa Gay Hamilton, and Irma P. Hall. Presented by Cultivate Cinema Circle. Tue 7pm. Hallwalls.

THE CAT O’ NINE TAILS (1971)—Dario Argento’s first international success was this Hitchcockian giallo about a blind man who teams up with a journalist to investigate a murder tied to a pharmaceutical company. Starring Karl Malden, James Franciscus, and Catherine Spaak. Tue 7:30pm. Screening Room

DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT (1973)—Not quite a cult classic, this no-budget Texas horror film is still effectively creepy. At a hospital for the criminally insane, the patients are allowed to act out their delusions. But just who is in charge? Starring no one you’ve ever heard of and directed by S. F. Brownrigg. Wed Oct 25 9:30pm. Screening Room

THE EXORCIST (1975)—Remastered version of one of the most imitated horror films of the last half-century: It’s kinda slow and talky, but that makes the scary stuff more effective when it finally comes. With Linda Blair (occasionally replaced by stunt doubles, wax dummies, and largely voiced by the originally uncredited Mercedes McCambridge), Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, and Jason Miller. Directed by William Friedkin (To Live and Die in LA). Fri 10pm. Transit Drive-In

IN A LONELY PLACE (1950)—Humphrey Bogart in one of his few authentic noir films, as a Hollywood screenwriter whose violent temper may have led him to murder. Co-starring Gloria Grahame and Frank Lovejoy. Directed by Nicholas Ray (Johnny Guitar). Part of the Noir Essentials series. Wed Oct 18 7:30pm. Dipson Eastern Hills

MANIAC (1934)—When it was re-discovered by film buffs in the 1980s, this obscure jaw-dropper looked like something that had been exhumed from the site of an ancient ritual burial. Featuring a mad doctor, his criminally insane assistant, outtakes from Dante’s Inferno, and a virtual catalogue of stuff outlawed by the Production Code: It’ll be a long time before you’ll eat a grape again. Directed by Dwain Esper (Marihuana, How to Undress for Your Husband) and photographed by William Thompson (Plan 9 From Outer Space). Tue 9:30pm. Screening Room Screening Room

NOSFERATU (Germany, 1922)—F. W. Murnau’s uncredited adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is one of the great early examples of German expressionism in film, as well as being a properly creepy little tale. Max Schreck made his way into film history entirely on the basis of the title role as the misshapen bloodsucker. Mon 7:30pm. Screening Room

PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (1959)—Ed Wood’s best remembered film is hardly the “worst movie ever made,” but it is one of the most entertaining bad ones. The fun lies not in the story about aliens intent on destroying Earth before we destroy the universe but from the cardboard sets, stock footage, and overripe acting from an assortment of Hollywood wannabes (padded out with a few minutes of left-over footage of Bela Lugosi, shot just before his death). Fri 9:30pm. Screening Room

TALES FROM THE CRYPT (England, 1972)—An all-star British cast enlivens this anthology of gruesome stories adapted from the EC comics of the 1950s. With Joan Collins, Peter Cushing, Roy Dotrice, Richard Greene, Ian Hendry, Patrick Magee, and Sir Ralph Richardson as the Crypt Keeper. Directed by Freddie Francis (Dracula Has Risen from the Grave). Fri-Sat 7:30pm. Screening Room

WINGS OF DESIRE (Germany, 1987)—In Wim Wenders’ much-imitated fantasy, the sky over war-scarred Berlin is full of gentle, trenchcoated angels who listen to the tortured thoughts of mortals and try to comfort them. One, Damiel (Bruno Ganz), yearns to become mortal after falling in love with a beautiful trapeze artist. Peter Falk, as himself, assists in the transformation by explaining the simple joys of a human experience. Simultaneously sentimental and cerebral. With Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.  Presented by the Buffalo Film Seminars. Tue 7pm. Dipson Amherst

 

 CONTINUING 

AMERICAN ASSASSIN—First in a projected series of films based on the best-selling books by Vince Flynn about Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien), a young CIA recruit recruited for a black-ops counterterrorism program after the death of his fiance in a terrorist attack. With Michael Keaton, Taylor Kitsch, Sanaa Lathan, and David Suchet. Directed by Michael Cuesta (Kill the Messenger). Four Seasons, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit

AMERICAN MADE—“Is all this legal?” asks drug smuggler Barry Seal as his CIA handler explains he role he is being offered in a scheme to smuggle guns to the Nicaraguan Contras in the early 1980s. It is, he’s told, “If you’re doing it for the good guys.” Doug Liman’s movie about the American pilot who found himself in the middle of the Reagan White House’s plan to circumvent Congress to support a war against a legitimately elected government is reminiscent of GoodFellas in story but not in style, generally employing a faux documentary style in the service of realism. Liman and scripter Gary Spinelli take liberties with Seal’s life and timeline, so the film isn’t worth much as biography, but it serves to counter a lot of the whitewashing of Reagan that has gone over the past few decades. And it provides a chance for Tom Cruise to show that he can actually act, a talent that too few of his films call on. —M. Faust Aurora (STARTS FRI), Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

BABY DRIVER—In films like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End, writer-director Edgar Wright used parodying his favorite trash film genres as an excuse to make he same thing he was supposed to be kidding. Working entirely outside of England for this action movie about a hotshot young crime driver trying to get away from the gangster who controls him, he uses Michael Bay-ish photography and editing to enliven a script that is cut-and-pasted from the early years of Quentin Tarantino—Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, True Romance. In other words, it’s a retread of a retread. It might have worked if it wasn’t all built around Ansel Elgort, a young actor so blandly callow that he makes you long for the days of Fabian and Frankie Avalon. With Jon Bernthal, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, and a small army of celebrity cameos. —MF Dipson McKinley ENDS THURSDAY

BATTLE OF THE SEXES—The 1973 tennis match after which this bright, intelligent, and very entertaining new film is named pitted middle-aged former champion Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) against rising female star Billie Jean King (Emma Stone). As silly and contrived as it seemed, this carnival-like event revealed unacknowledged but nasty, damaging attitudes and practices in American society regarding the demeaning of women and the dismissal of their earnest, skilled efforts. But it’s hardly a feminist polemic. It’s vibrantly, propulsively entertaining. Carell gives a spirited, comic, yet sensitive performance, while Stone is more than up to the demands of her role, including a storyline about King’s difficult coming-to-terms with her lesbian nature. With Andrea Riseborough, Natalie Morales, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, and Alan Cumming. Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine). —George Sax Dipson Amherst, Dipson Eastern Hills, Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Walden Galleria

BLADE RUNNER 2049—Given what he’s done with the Alien franchise in recent years, we can all be thankful that Ridley Scott was not the director of this long-in-coming sequel to the 1982 classic. Ryan Gosling stars as a replicant blade runner (and if you don’t already know what that is, you probably don’t want to see this) tasked with closing up some loose ends in the Rick Deckard case. Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) directs with a proper balance of respect for the original and a vision of his own, taking advantage of the best of modern cinema technology. If the ending leaves you a bit unsatisfied, it’s nonetheless gripping all the way through its substantial length (close to three hours). With Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, and Jared Leto. —MF Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Hamburg Palace, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria, Transit Drive-In (Fri-Sun only)

DUNKIRK—You wouldn’t expect a typical war movie from Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception), and he hasn’t provided one with his depiction of the famous campaign to rescue more than 400,000 British and Allied soldiers from their entrapment by German forces on the French coast in May and June of 1940.  The most extraordinary part of the story was the participation of British civilians, who piloted 900 ragtag boats across the channel to pick up the trapped soldiers. Cutting among three stories, Nolan captures immediacy and intimacy in a hellish, if beautiful setting. If you don’t like war movies, this one may be an exception for you. Starring Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy. —GS Dipson McKinley, Four Seasons

THE EMOJI MOVIE—No, seriously, I wouldn’t make up something like this. Featuring Patrick Stewart as the voice of Poop. Honest to god, I’m not making this up. Directed by Tony Leondis (Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch). Dipson McKinley, Four Seasons

FLATLINERS—Remake of the 1990 horror film about medical students who experiment with causing near-death experiences. Starring Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, and James Norton. Directed by Niels Arden Oplev (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria, Transit Drive-In (Fri-Sun only)

THE FOREIGNER—Jackie Chan goes serious as a London restaurant owner out for revenge after his daughter is killed in a terrorist bombing. The bombers are a rogue cel of the IRA, looking to re-open old wounds, so to get at them he targets Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), a government minister whose had made a career out of his past ties to the IRA. As directed by veteran Martin Campbell (Casino Royale), the story takes a while to buildup a head of steam, but it’s worth the wait as Chan’s character fades into the background in favor of a twisty, and surprisingly nasty, examination of terrorist politics. —MF Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

THE GLASS CASTLEThe trailers for this adaptation of Jeannette Walls’s best-selling memoir, about growing up in a dysfunctional family with parents who couldn’t adequately care for their children, seem to be trying to make it look like another Captain Fantastic. But Rex Walls (Woody Harrelson, adroitly cast) is a wholly different kind of character, a smart guy with a drinking problem and an inability to hold a job. Frustratingly short on important details of how the family survived once the children took charge of their lives, the film holds your attention but is generally a disappointing follow-up from Destin Daniel Cretton, after his striking 2013 debut Short Term 12. With Brie Larson, Naomi Watts, and Ella Anderson. —MF Dipson McKinley ENDS THURSDAY

HAPPY DEATH DAY—A self-centered sorority girl (Jessica Rothe) relives the day of her murder over and over until she can find a way to prevent it. Yes, it’s the premise of Groundhog Day, but it’s a sturdy premise that can easily be reused (and horror is hardly a genre that demands originality). It could have used a little more humor, but it’s an efficient genre exercise likely to satisfy most audiences. With Israel Broussard and Ruby Modine. Directed by Christopher Landon (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse). –MF Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria, Transit Drive-In (Fri-Sun only)

THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD—In what sounds an awful lot like the plot of the classic Midnight Run, Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson play a bodyguard for hire and a captured assassin on the run across Europe. In classic buddy movie tradition, this is fueled by the chemistry between the two leads, and Reynolds and Jackson are sufficiently disparate to spark interest. But director Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3) puts all his trust in the big action set pieces, which consume the final (and dullest) half-hour of the movie. With Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung, and Richard E. Grant in a fun cameo as a coke-addled businessman. —MF Dipson McKinley STARTS FRIDAY

IT—It isn’t often that a major studio takes a chance on a big budget, R-rated horror film with such successful results as this adaptation of the Stephen King novel about kids stalked by a shape-changing creature that most often takes the form of a murderous clown. The characters are vintage King, believable and recognizable from daily life. The filmmakers have learned from what worked in the best King film adaptations, and the rapid-fire dialogue is smart and funny. Overall, it’s among the best adaptations of the King’s work. Starring Jaeden Lieberherm, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, and Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise. Directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama). —Greg Lamberson Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria, Transit Drive-In (Fri-Sun only)

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE—Matthew Vaughn’s sequel to 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service is an overstuffed mess, thought not without a share of gleeful set pieces and berserk moments. As working class lad turned super spy Eggsy, Taron Egerton lacks the charisma to hold the thing together, a problem not helped by a parade of familiar faces in smaller roles who effortlessly steal your gaze in any scene they share. I don’t know how much of the plot Vaughn and co-scripter Jane Goldman took from their comic book source, but it’s alternately ludicrous (an international drug lord’s recreation of a 1950s hangout) and bizarre (a presidential plot to kill millions of recreational drug users). Docked a star for normalizing Fox News. Featuring Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, Colin Firth (whom I kept thinking of as Dougie from Twin Peaks), Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal, Bruce Greenwood, Emily Watson, Michael Gambon and Elton John, who can’t act but gets the funniest line in the entire film. —MF Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria, Transit Drive-In (Fri-Sun only)

LOGAN LUCKY— Steven Soderbergh came out of retirement to helm this lightweight caper movie starring Channing Tatum and Adam Driver as brothers plotting to rob the box office at a NASCAR race in North Carolina. Not that anyone took that retirement very seriously (Soderbergh is only 54), but it’s hard to see what about this genial but slight material got his juices going. It plays like a lazy Southern knock-off of his Oceans movies, with vague plotting and characters that aren’t as strong as the actors were probably expecting. Still, it makes for a perfectly entertaining evening at the movies if you keep your expectations low. –MF Co-starring Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Hilary Swank, and Katie Holmes. Dipson McKinley

MARSHALL—Buffalo’s City Hall, Central Terminal and other locations look fine substituting for Bridgeport, Connecticut circa 1941 in Reginald Hudlin’s historical drama, filmed here last year. The story centers on an early case tried for the NAACP by Thurgood Marshall (Chadwich Boseman) 25 years before he became the first African-American justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Hudlin handles the melodramatic but skillful script in a boldface, punchy style. Boseman plays the 33 year old Marshall with a breezy, almost wiseacre charm, a little like a P.I. in a 40s hard-boiled detective story. But the most effective portrayal comes from Josh Gad, as Sam Friedman, the inexperienced local attorney Marshall has to work with. The film isn’t much more than a footnote to a famous man’s life. It really says more about America and its deplorable historical legacies than about Marshall, though its story is unfortunately as relevant as ever. Co-starring Kate Hudson, Sterling K. Brown and James Cromwell. —GS North Park, Regal Walden Galleria

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN USIdris Elba and Kate Winslet as plane crash survivors who have to depend on each other to escape from a desolate wilderness. With Beau Bridges and Dermot Mulroney. Directed by Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now). Aurora (ENDS THURSDAY), Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN—Docudrama about psychologist William Moulton Marston, creator of the comic book “Wonder Woman.” Starring  Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote, and Oliver Platt. Directed by Angela Robinson. Dipson Amherst

STRONGER—Adaptation of the memoir by Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs above the knee at the Boston marathon bombing. The film focuses on Bauman’s adjustment to life after the bombing: being turned into a symbol to be trotted out for ball games, lack of direction, heavy drinking. It’s pretty familiar stuff, but it’s the kind of role that actors dream of, and Jake Gyllenhaal runs away with it. There are also excellent performances from Tatiana Maslany as his girlfriend Erin, and, briefly, Carlos Sanz as the bystander who rescued Bauman. Co-starring Miranda Richardson and Clancy Brown. Directed by David Gordon Green (Manglehorn). —MF Regal Transit

‘TIL DEATH DO US PART—Annie Ilonzeh as a woman finding it difficult to get away from her abusive husband (Stephen Bishop). With Mark G. Chapman, Vanessa DeLeon, and Taye Diggs. Directed by Chris Stokes (Only for One Night). Regal Elmwood, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria, Regal Niagara Falls

VICTORIA AND ABDULVeteran director Stephen Frears (The Queen) gets to indulge in that favorite British pastime of making fun of themselves with this historical drama (“Based on real events…mostly,” as an opening title puts it). Judi Dench stars as Queen Victoria in her late years, bored with life until she takes a fancy to an Indian servant, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal, very charming). The overwrought ceremonies held for the Queen’s jubilee are quite funny, and the screenplay by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) delights in showing her household, led by future Edward VII (Eddie Izzard), at each other’s throats. Dipson Amherst, Dipson Eastern Hills

WIND RIVER—For his mainstream directorial debut, Taylor Sheridan mines territory similar to his script for last year’s Hell or High Water: both are about crimes committed in territory where the residents’ lives are stressed and constrained by social and economic conditions. In this case it’s a Native American reservation, where federal agent Jeremy Renner investigates the murder of a young girl. The movie is saturated in mood—sorrow, fear and anger—but it doesn’t feel very well thought through: We too often get atmospherics rather than narrative or character, despite some fine actors. -GS Co-starring Kelsey Asbille, Julia Jones, Apesanahkwat, Elizabeth Olsen and Graham Greene. Dipson McKinley

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