Film
Get Out
Get Out

At the Movies

by / Feb. 14, 2017 12pm EST

 OPENING THIS WEEK 

COLLIDEAction thriller starring Nicholas Hoult as a backpacker in Europe who gets caught in the middle of a fight between villains Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley, with his girlfriend Felicity Jones as a hostage. Directed by Eran Creevy (Welcome to the Punch). Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

GET OUT—”Key & Peele”’s Jordan Peele wrote and directed this horror film about a young black man whose discomfort when he goes to the home of his white girlfriend’s family proves to be all too well justified. Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford. Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

SALESMAN—From Asghar Farhadi, director of A Separation and The Past, an Oscar nominated drama about a couple, both actors, whose lives are painfully altered when they move into a new apartment with a shady history. Starring Taraneh Alidoosti and Shahab Hosseini. Reviewed this issue. Dipson Eastern Hills

 ALTERNATIVE CINEMA

CONFESSIONS OF A HOMICIDAL PROSTITUTE—Premiere of a locally made movie. Judging by the title, I’m going to guess that you should leave the kids at home. Sat 10 pm. Screening Room

DR. STRANGELOVE, OR, HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRY AND LOVE THE BOMB (1964)—Probably Stanley Kubrick’s most subversive film, and that’s saying a lot. Nuclear armageddon is played out by military men with serious sexual issues in a film that can be seen on one level as an extended dirty joke—and a very funny one at that. Starring Peter Sellers (in three roles), George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, Slim Pickens, James Earl Jones. Presented as part of the Buffalo Film Seminar. Tues 7 pm. Dipson Amherst

NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986)—Writer-director Fred Dekker is probably best remembered for his kid-friendly The Monster Squad, but this was his first and best movie, a fun tribute to B-grade horror movies that doesn’t strain too hard for laughs. The underrated Tom Atkins steals the show as the hard-bitten cop helping our teen heroes battle the monsters. Look fast for David Paymer as a scientist. Part of the Thursday Night Terrors series. Thurs 7 pm. Dipson Amherst

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952)—The one Hollywood musical that everyone likes, even people who hate musicals. A story parodying the movies’ transition from silents to sound is the backdrop for some still astonishing dance numbers featuring Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor (whose “Make ‘Em Laugh” sequence is one of the most amazing things you’ll ever see.) With Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, Rita Moreno and Cyd Charisse. Sat-Sun 11:30 am. North Park

VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1967)—This big-budget Hollywood adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s trashy novel about three young women who are chewed up and spit out by the bitch goddess fame is one of the most compulsively watchable bad movies ever made, much funnier than the Russ Meyer-Roger Ebert parody Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Starring Patty Duke as an alcoholic singer (based on Judy Garland), Sharon Tate as an airhead forced to make sleazy “art movies” to pay for her boyfriend’s medical care, and Barbara Parkins as the smarmy model who refuses to be drawn into the degradation. A camp classic. Directed by Mark Robson (Peyton Place). Fri, Sat, Tues 7:30 pm. Screening Room

XX—Anthology of four short horror films directed by women. As is usually the case with these things, the best segments are the first (Jovanka Vukovic’s “The Box,” based on a story by Jack Ketchum, in which a mother watches her family disintegrate) and the last, “Her Only Living Son,” by Toronto’s Karyn Kusma, namechecks a few famous horror films from the 60s and 70s while putting an original spin on a tale of demonic paternity. In between are less successful shorts by Annie Clark (aka musician St. Vincent) and Roxanne Benjamin, linked with animated sequences in the mode of the Brothers Quay by Sofia Carrillo.  Thurs 7:30pm, Fri 10 pm, Sat 2 pm.  Screening Room

 

 CONTINUING

COLLATERAL BEAUTY—In Will Smith’s annual Oscar bait drama, he plays a man trying to make sense of life after being struck by tragedy. Co-starring Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Peña, Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley. Directed by David Frankel (Marley and Me). Dipson McKinley

A CURE FOR WELLNESS—In search of his boss, a junior executive uncovers the scary truth behind an exclusive spa in the Swiss Alps. NB: It’s nearly two and a half hours long, which is way too long for a horror movie. Starring Jason Isaacs, Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, and Celia Imrie. Directed by Gore Verbinski (The Lone Ranger). Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

DOCTOR STRANGE—Benedict Cumberbatch grabs for one of those fat Marvel paychecks, as do Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg and Benedict Wong. Directed by Scott Derrickson (Deliver Us From Evil). Dipson McKinley

A DOG’S PURPOSE—Director Lasse Hallström could have reused the title of his first international hit, My Life as a Dog, for this fantasy about a dog who learns the meaning of his existence over several lifetimes and owners. Starring Britt Robertson, Dennis Quaid, and Peggy Lipton. Regal Walden Galleria, Dipson Flix, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit

FENCES—Set in the 1950s, August Wilson’s play is as lacerating a portrait of American manhood as Death of a Salesman. Denzel Washington (who also directed) recreates his performance from the 2010 Broadway revival of Troy Maxson, a Pittsburgh garbage collector reflecting on the journey of his life. He is a powerful tragic figure, far from flawless, and those flaws are not noble ones, as his wife (Viola Davis, tremendous as she always is given a worthy role) knows too well. Co-starring Stephen McKinley Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby and Mykelti Williamson. MF Four Seasons

FIFTY SHADES DARKERS&M sequel. Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, and Eric Johnson. Directed by James Foley (Who’s That Girl?). AMC Maple Ridge, Dipson Flix, North Park, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

FIST FIGHT—Newly appointed Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin is one of the executive producers of this borderline racist comedy starring Charlie Day as a teacher who spends a day fretting after being challenged to a fist fight by scary fellow teacher Ice Cube. The movie expects to get laughs from the antics of undisciplined students at a “rough” high school, but also wants you to believe that it is making a serious statement about education. Inconsistent and crude, it’s worst fault is how much director Richie Keen, who worked with his star on episodes of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” encourages Day to explore the higher range of a voice that is like fingernails on a blackboard to begin with.With Tracy Morgan and Christina Hendricks. -MF Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

THE FOUNDER—As Ray Kroc, the man who was not, as you may believe, the founder of McDonald’s but gets the credit for it anyway, Michael Keaton draws on our memories of the role that made him a star, as the “idea man” who turns a morgue into a brothel in the 1982 comedy Night Shift. The film is the story of how Kroc, middle-aged and going nowhere selling restaurant equipment, discovered Dick and Maurice “Mac” McDonald’s California hamburger stand and their assembly-line meal production. Kroc turned it into a ubiquitous international industry, at least partly by ignoring the brothers’ requests after they became partners. (He eventually drove them out of the business entirely.) This bitter-tinged drama about the true nature of modern business success also makes you wonder how much of himself producer Harvey Weinstein saw in Kroc. Co-starring Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Laura Dern, and Linda Cardellini. Directed by John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks). MF Regal Transit

THE GREAT WALL—This Chinese-American co-production passed through a number of hands since it was first proposed in 2011, which is probably why the end result is such spoiled broth. The big battle scene in the first act has its moments: the seemingly infinite horde of CGI monsters attacking the wall is generic, but director Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern, Curse of the Golden Flower) gets to display his talent with color and costumes to good effect. The color-coded acrobatic fight squads are amazing to watch, and the production design incorporates a steampunk element. But the rest of the film feels exhausted, with neither the setting nor the era (medieval China) used to very good effect. Starring Matt Damon, Tian Jing, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau. -MF  Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

HACKSAW RIDGE—The story of World War II American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, a Virginia farmboy and Conscientious Objector who saved the lives of 75 men at the Battle of Okinawa, is so compelling that you wonder why it wasn’t filmed long ago. As directed by Mel Gibson, whose approach to violence in his previous films can perhaps best be described as hysterical, the result is better than you might expect, if not quite as good as it might have been. The faults are in the script: though the dialogue is strong (and all of the major cast excellent), it lacks too many seemingly important details. Doss’s personal development is confined to a few scenes that reveal little, and his military career (after a near court martial that doesn’t make any sense) takes him right from boot camp to Okinawa three years later. But while the battle sequence is gruesome, Gibson’s presentation is surprisingly controlled and the film is genuinely moving. Starring Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Rachel Griffith, and Hugo Weaving. –MF Regal Quaker, Regal Transit

HIDDEN FIGURES—Given that so many people are finding inspiration in this drama about the experiences of three women who confronted both sexism and racism while working for NASA in West Virginia in the early 1960s, it seems churlish to complain about the movie’s lack of historical authenticity (hardly an unusual problem in movies “based on” or “inspired by” true events). It’s worth showing modern audiences the workings of day-to-day segregation: separate bathrooms, unequal educational opportunities, inane dress codes. But the accomplishments of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson could have been celebrated without putting them through so many hurdles that they didn’t actually face for the sake of a feel-good story. Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, and Mahershala Ali. Directed by Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent). MF Dipson Amherst, Dipson Flix, North Park, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit

I AM NOT YOUR NEGROEven though documentarian Raoul Peck (Lumumba) spent ten years making this film about James Baldwin, who died in 1987, it couldn’t be any more timely, and one comes away from it with the sad realization that the problems of American racism that it discusses won’t get much better in our lifetimes. Working from notes for a book Baldwin never finished that looked at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers and Malcolm X, Peck mixes the writer’s ruminations (read by Samuel L. Jackson) with footage of him from his days as a respected public intellectual. Baldwin’s contention that the real problems of America were apathy and ignorance are shockingly prescient in an era when they seem to dominate the public discourse. Essential viewing. –MF Dipson Amherst

JACKIE is not a biography but a portrait of the First Lady at what was presumably the worst week of her life, between the murder of John Kennedy, shot in the head by a rifle as he sat next to her in an open convertible in Dallas, to his funeral. Directed by Pablo Larraín, the Chilean whose last two features No and The Club were both Oscar contenders, Jackie is an intimate, chiseled look at a woman in crisis. It is blunt without being disrespectful. Shot on 16 mm, it is almost wholly contained in Natalie Portman’s performance: after opening on a close up of her face, it puts her in every scene, practically every shot, and she proves equal to the challenge. And present circumstances give the film more power than its makers could ever have expected, or wanted. As Jackie, who was so concerned with restoring the history of the White House and the inspiration her husband’s office gave to so many people, watches all of that slip away, taken from her and from the country by an injustice that we know was never satisfactorily addressed, the office taken over by a famous vulgarian, we can’t help but rue how history repeats itself. With Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt and Richard E. Grant.  —MF Four Seasons

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2Sequel. Starring Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Peter Stormare, Laurence Fishburne, John Leguizamo, Peter Serafinowicz, Common, and Franco Nero. Directed by former stunt coordinator Chad Stahelski. Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

LA LA LAND—Heralded by some as a tribute to classic Hollywood movie musicals, the new film by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) has more in common with Fame than anything starring Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly. Its story of an actress (Emma Stone) and a jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) looking for love and success in modern Los Angeles is more reliant on drama, character, and emotion than traditional musicals. It has its contrivances and arbitrary plotting, but the tone is more intimate (at least after the razzle-dazzle of the opening number, set on a freeway ramp where stymied motorists burst from their cars to sing and dance). Neither Stone nor Gosling is experienced at song and dance work, but it hardly matters. The movie doesn’t make outsized demands on their proficiency, and the result seems integral to their performances, which aren’t stylized or mannered. Their musical numbers are really subsidiary to the film’s poignant, but charming and (mostly) hopeful mood-making. With John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, and J. K. Simmons. —GS Aurora (OPENS FRI), Regal Quaker, Regal Transit

LION—The true story of Saroo Brierley, who as a five-year-old boy was separated from his family in a small Indian village and spent several years living on the streets before being adopted by an Australian couple. That could well be an unbearable story to watch, but it only takes up the first half of the movie, and is handled with attention to what n audience can tolerate. The remainder of the story follows the adult Saroo (Dev Patel, oozing movie star charisma) as he comes to grips with his dimly remembered past and decides to find his birth place. That he accomplishes this online gives the film an odd dramatic shape after its almost Dickensian opening; the finale is satisfying, but it feels rushed. Co-starring Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, and David Wenham. Directed by Garth Davis. —MF Dipson Amherst, Dipson Eastern Hills

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA—Heartbreakingly perfect, an emotionally transcendent drama in a year that has not been lacking in them: Along with Moonlight and Loving, it’s enough to revive your faith in the ongoing strength of cinema in an era when it seems that all the best stories are being told on television. Casey Affleck stars as a man crushed by guilt (the nature of which is not immediately apparent) who becomes the guardian of his teenage nephew when his brother dies. That summary sounds terribly mawkish, but don’t hold that against it: Writer-director Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count On Me) is interested in real people more than feel-good stories, and the care with which he and Affleck peel back the layers is all the more affecting for being so apparently artless (aided by the hardscrabble New England setting). As affecting as it is, it’s never a downer, with humor in places where you wouldn’t expect to find it. With Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges, Kyle Chandler, Gretchen Mol, Matthew Broderick, and Stephen McKinley Henderson. MF Four Seasons, Regal Quaker

OSCAR-NOMINATED SHORT FILMS—Annual compilations of the films nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Short Film and Best Short Animated Film.  Dipson Eastern Hills

PATRIOTS DAY—Docudrama about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt to find the two young men responsible for it. It’s competently done, but as it’s less than four months since director Peter Berg did the same thing with Deepwater Horizon, you have to wonder what it is in audiences that wants to replay such horrible events: is it that watching a movie about them allows us to feel that we have grasped them? Or that we prefer a tidy fictionalization to a documentary with unanswered questions? Starring Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, Michelle Monaghan, Alex Wolff, Themo Melikidze, and J. K. Simmmons. —MF Dipson McKinley, Four Seasons, Regal Transit

RINGS—Long-delayed second sequel to the 2002 American remake of the Japanese horror film about…hey, wake up! Starring Vincent D’Onofrio, Laura Wiggins, Aimee Teegarden and Bonnie Morgan. Directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez. Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

SLEEPLESS—Remake of the excellent 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, which was set almost entirely inside a nightclub where a crooked cop tried to rescue his son from the criminals he double-crossed. Starring Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Dermot Mulroney, Gabrielle Union, and Scoot McNairy. Directed by Baran bo Odar (Who Am I).  Regal Walden Galleria

THE SPACE BETWEEN USA teenage boy (Asa Butterfield) who was born on the first human colony on Mars visits Earth for the first time. Co-starring Britt Robertson, Janet Montgomery, Carla Gugino, and Gary Oldman. Directed by Peter Cheslom (Hear My Song). Dipson McKinley

SPLIT—Despite looking an awful lot like the very unscary Tony Hale, James McAvoy acts up a storm as a man with 23 separate personalities who kidnaps three young girls in order to—well, that would be giving it away. Not that you find out everything you want to know by the end of the movie, which seems clearly intended as the first in a series, and therefore leaves an awful lot of unanswered questions. You’re more likely to get something out of it if you remember writer/director M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, from 17 years ago, but if a movie isn’t going to be self-contained there should be a warning to audiences before they buy their tickets. With Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, and Betty Buckley. -MF  Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

TONI ERDMANN—German nominee for this year’s Best Foreign Language film Oscar, about a retired father who travels to Bucharest to try to connect with his adult daughter, a corporate consultant. Starring Sandra Hüller, Peter Simonischek and Michael Wittenborn. Directed by Maren Ade. Dipson Eastern Hills

WHY HIM?What does it say about modern America that every holiday season brings us at least one movie about disparate people struggling to form a family? In this entry, Bryan Cranston is the square Midwestern father struggling to accept her daughter’s fiancée, a free-spirited but insanely rich California weirdo played by (who else?) James Franco. The comedy is largely based on embarrassment, including an endless scene with Cranston sitting on a malfunctioning Japanese toilet. There are no really big laughs, though a fair share of gigglers on the sidelines. A must see for fans of the band Kiss, though.  With Megan Mullally, Zoey Deutch, Keegan-Michael Key, and Cedric the Entertainer. Directed by John Hamburg (I Love You, Man). -MF Dipson McKinley

 


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