Film
Contemporary Color
Contemporary Color

At the Movies

by / Apr. 18, 2017 12pm EST

 OPENING THIS WEEK 

THE CIRCLE—Adaptation of Dave Eggers’s novel about a successful tech/social media company whose hold over its employees has a disturbing aspect. Starring Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, and Bill Paxton. Directed by James Ponsoldt (The End of the Tour). Area theaters

COLOSSAL—The answer to the question, how can you mix a millennial rom-com and giant Asian monsters? Starring Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudekis, Tim Blake Nelson, and Dan Stevens. Directed by Nacho Vigalondo. Reviewed this issue. Dipson Amherst

GRADUATION—A Romanian doctor finds himself gradually sinking into corruption as he tries to ensure that his daughter will get into a good school. Starring Adrian Titieni, Maria-Victoria Dragus and Lia Bugnar. Directed by Cristian Mungiu (4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days). Reviewed this issue. Dipson Amherst

THEIR FINEST—British comedy-drama set at the Ministry of Information during World War II, as bureaucrats try to use the resources of the local film industry to produce a propaganda movie. Starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy, Jack Huston, Richard E. Grant and Jeremy Irons. Directed by Lone Scherfig (An Education). Reviewed this issue. Dipson Eastern Hills

 

 ALTERNATIVE CINEMA 

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE (1945)—Adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic story Ten Little Indians about ten people stranded at a remote mansion trying to discover which of them is killing the others. Starring Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, and June Duprez. Directed by Rene Clair. Tue 7:30pm Screening Room

CLASS DIVIDEDocumentary about class division and gentrification in the West Chelsea neighborhood of New York City and its effects on public housing. Directed by Marc Levine. Presented by Cultivate Cinema Circle. Free and open to the public. Wed 7pm. Burning Books, 420 Connecticut St.

CONTEMPORARY COLOR—After becoming enraptured by colour guard—high school musicians who use complex dance sequences, flag spins and rifle tosses—David Byrne devised a showcase for some of the best teams by pairing them at a stadium show with musicians like St. Vincent, Devonté Hynes, Nelly Furtado, and Ad-Rock. Directed by Bill Ross IV & Turner Ross. Presented by Cultivate Cinema Circle. Tue 7pm. North Park

DECONSTRUCTING THE BEATLES—Three of musicologist Scott Freiman’s popular lectures analyzing the music of the Beatles on their greatest albums. The White Album—Mon-Tue 2pm, 4:30pm, Wed 2pm, 4:30pm, 7pm; Revolver—Thu 5/4 4:30, 9:30 pm.; Rubber Soul—Thu 5/4 2, 7 pm. North Park

THE EYES— Six people guilty of various unpunished crimes are imprisoned and pitted against each other, with only one allowed to survive. Starring Nicholas Turturro, Vincent Pastore, and Megan West. Directed by Robbie Bryan. Fri 10 pm, Tue 7:30pm. Screening Room

FURY (2014)—Brad Pitt as an army sergeant commanding a Sherman tank and crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines at the end of World War II. With Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman and Michael Peña. Directed by David Ayer (End of Watch). Presented by the Buffalo Film Seminars. Tue 7pm. Dipson Amherst

ICE GUARDIANS—Those badass enforcers are the center of attention in this hockey documentary. Or “hockumentary,” as no one but me will ever call it. Directed by Brett Harvey. Fri 2pm, 4:30pm. North Park

LADYHAWKE (1985)—Medieval romantic fantasy starring Matthew Broderick as a thief who helps a pair of lovers (Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer) escape a curse that turns them into animals at alternate times of the day so they can never be together. With Leo McKern, John Wood, and Alfred Molina. Directed with an admirably straight face by Richard Donner (Superman). Fri-Sat 11:30am. North Park

LIFE, ANIMATED—Documentary about an autistic boy who finds a path to communication through his love of animated films. Directed by Roger Ross Williams (God Loves Uganda). Reviewed this issue. Fri 7pm. North Park

PIECES (1982)—The giallo and slasher genres meet in this Spanish production set in Boston that has gained a cult following for its over the top gruesomeness and less than top-notch technical qualities. Starring Christopher George, Lynda Day George, Edmund Purdom and Paul L. Smith. Directed by Juan Piquer Simón (Slugs). Part of the Thursday Night Terrors series. Thu 7:30pm. Dipson Amherst

SOME LIKE IT HOT (QING SHENG)—The English title of this Chinese film may have you looking for Marilyn Monroe, but it’s actually closer to a remake of The Woman in Red as a middle-aged man looks to make up for a dull life by romancing a younger woman.  Fri 9:30pm, Sat 10pm. North Park

SWORD ART ONLINE THE MOVIE: ORDINAL SCALE—Anime. But you knew that just from the title, didn’t you? Based on characters by Reki Kawahara and directed by Tomohiko Ito Sat 2pm, 4:30pm; Sun 2pm, 4:30pm, 7 pm. North Park

TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME (1992)—If you didn’t religiously watch the original TV series, this follow-up feature may not make a whole lot of sense to you. But then, what David Lynch movie ever did? The endless cast includes Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, Mädchen Amick, David Bowie, Miguel Ferrer, Heather Graham, Chris Isaak, Peggy Lipton, Jürgen Prochnow, Harry Dean Stanton, Kiefer Sutherland, Grace Zabriskie, and of course Kyle MacLachlan. Mon 7pm. North Park

VERTIGO (1958) — Guilt-ridden over the death of a policeman and a woman he was hired to watch, James Stewart falls madly (literally) in love with a shopgirl (Kim Novak) who resembles the dead woman. With Barbara Bel Geddes, Henry Jones, and Raymond Bailey. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.  Thu-Sat 7:30pm. Screening Room

THE VOID—Lovecraftian monsters on the rampage in an understaffed hospital. Starring Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Fathers and Kathleen Munroe. Directed by Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski. Reviewed this issue. Sun, Mon, Wed 9:30pm, Tue 9:30pm. North Park

ZARDOZ (1974)—Sean Connery costumed in a porn-stache, thigh boots, and a speedo is only the beginning of the ridiculousness in this cult sci-fi adventure. Written and directed by the seldom restrained John Boorman, in between Deliverance and Exorcist II: The Heretic. Sat 7pm. North Park

 

 CONTINUING 

BORN IN CHINA—Nature documentary filmed over four years in remote regions of China. Released by Disney, so expect lots of anthropomorphized critters including panda bears, monkeys, and snow leopards. Narrated by John Krasinski. Directed by Chuan Lu. Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

THE BOSS BABY—Alec Baldwin as the voice of a power-hungry infant. It only sounds like an SNL skit. Other voices by Tobey Maguire, Steve Buscemi, Lisa Kudrow, and Jimmy Kimmel. Directed by Tom McGrath (Madagascar). AMC Maple Ridge, Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUSUmpteenth sequel in the Fast and Furious franchise. Starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, and Michelle Rodriguez. Directed by F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton). AMC Maple Ridge, Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

FRANTZ—Shortly after the end of the First World War, a young woman in Germany is visited by a Frenchman who knew her fiancée, who was killed in France. François Ozon’s seemingly placid but complex and deeply felt film was loosely adapted from Broken Lullaby, a Ernst Lubitsch 1932 film that is memorable for being so unlike the sophisticated comedies for which that director is remembered. Filmed primarily in 35mm with bursts of color, the movie’s depiction of grief gives way to a consideration of the role of fiction in human lives, and the possibility that some lies are not only forgiveable but necessary. Starring Paula Beer, Pierre Niney, and Ernst Stötzner.  –MF Dipson Amherst (ENDS THURS)

FREE FIRE—For one-third of this movie, a dozen or so assorted miscreants meet for an illegal arms deal that goes bad. For the rest of the film, they shoot at each other. That’s it, folks. Set in Boston in the late 1970s, the characters are colorful, atrociously dressed and often incomprehensible, mostly to comic effect. Creators Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump come from the endlessly fertile and cerebral world of British TV comedy, and their previous features (last year’s High Rise is the best known in the US) have featured a darkly comic obsession with violence. But the jollity they derive from their not-too-bright antagonists is countered by the impossibility to keeping track of what’s going on much of the time, and by the time it rolls to a Tarantino-ish end you can’t help but ask, what’s the point of it all? Starring Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson, Sam Riley, Cillian Murphy, and Armie Hammer. —MF AMC Maple Ridge, Regal Elmwood, 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. It’s better written than it is directed, and you can’t help but wish that Peele had turned the script over to someone who had a better idea of how to balance the absurdity of the premise with the very real racial tensions with which it is combined. Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, and Bradley Whitford. –MF Four Seasons

GIFTED—A young math prodigy becomes the object of a struggle between her uncle, who promised her late mother that he would give her a “normal” childhood, and her grandmother, who wants to develop her talents. Starring Chris Evans, McKenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, and Octavia Spencer. Directed by Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer). Dipson Eastern Hills 

GOING IN STYLE lacks almost all of what was memorable about Martin Brest’s 1979 film about three oldsters who decide to rob a bank. Screenwriter Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent) reduces the aspects of aging to generic financial problems. That the film has any charm is entirely due to stars Alan Arkin, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, but they’re given precious little to work with. The same goes for a wasted supporting cast that includes Ann-Margret, Matt Dillon, Christopher Lloyd, and Peter Serafinowicz. Blandly directed by Zach Braff (Garden State). –MF AMC Maple Ridge, Aurora (STARTS FRI),Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

KONG: SKULL ISLAND—The best King Kong since the 1933 original owes much to wrestling. It operates much like a theme park ride, with dazzling special effects delivered at a breathless pace and high decibel level. Set near the end of the Viet Nam war, the action is confined to the titular island, when survivors of a fleet of US Army helicopters who made the bad decision to invade Kong home turf battle the island’s other monstrosities in a bid to reunite and escape. The motion capture effects are top-notch, superior to those in Peter Jackson’s more ambitious 2005 remake. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, and John Goodman. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer).Gregory Lamberson  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, Oscar winner for Best Actress) 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 Dipson McKinley

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 McKinley 

LOGANOnce more for Hugh Jackman as the comic book hero Wolverine. With Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, and Richard E. Grant. Directed by James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma). Four Seasons

THE LOST CITY OF Z—When you’re making a film that is likely to remind viewers of Aguirre, Wrath of God or Fitzcarraldo or Apocalypse Now, you should realize that viewers are likely to assume that the guy is a looney. Writer-director James Gray perspective on his real-life protagonist, a British officer who spent most of his life a century ago trying to find the ruins of an ancient civilization in South America, is vague until the end of the film, a diffidence that makes it hard to get involved with the story. It often feels like an eight-hour miniseries that has been clumsily cut down to feature length, lurching ahead in time and seldom giving a clear picture of the scope of any of the expeditions. Kudos to Gray for wanting to update the kind of epic that David Lean used to lavish Hollywood money on (as well as for filming in 35 mm), but his film seems to prove that a man’s reach should not exceed his grasp. Starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller and Tom Holland. —MF Dipson Amherst

PHOENIX FORGOTTEN—Just when you thought the found footage genre was dead and buried, here’s one about a woman investigating the disappearance of her brother and his friends while they were investigating mysterious lights in the desert. Starring Florence Hartigan, Chelsea Lopez, Justin Matthews, Luke Spencer Roberts. Directed by Justin Barber. Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

THE PROMISE—Historical drama whose publicity campaign seems to be trying to cover up the fact that its subject is the Armenian genocide in the territory that is now Turkey. Starring Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac, Shohreh Aghdashloo, James Cromwell, Jean Reno, and Rade Serbedzija. Directed by Terry George (Hotel Rwanda). AMC Maple Ridge, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

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 McKinley

TOMMY’S HONOUR—Could there have been a worse time to release a biopic about the man known as the greatest golfer of his era to movie screens? Jack Lowden stars as Tommy Morris, who with his father (Peter Mullan) is considered to have modernized the game of golf in Scotland in the 1800s. Despite a few dramatic non-golf events portrayed here, this is unlikely to appeal to viewers who aren’t fans of the game or willing to stare at large expanses of grass for 90 minutes. With Ophelia Lovibond and Sam Neill. Directed by Jason Connery (The Philly Kid). —MF Dipson Eastern Hills

UNFORGETTABLE—Rosario Dawson as a newlywed whose biggest problem is her husband’s psychotic ex-wife (Katherine Heigl). With Geoff Stults, Whitney Cummings and Cheryl Ladd. The directorial debut of veteran producer Denise Di Novi. AMC Maple Ridge, Dipson Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFESome stories just seem naturals for filming, which I’m sure was the feeling of the producers who greenlit this true story about the managers of the Warsaw Zoo who used the site to hide Jews from the Nazis during World War II. I imagine that the 2008 book, by Ithaca writer Diane Ackerman working from the diaries of Antonina Zabinski, must be filled with compelling stuff.  But Nicki Caro’s movie flails in its search for a consistent focus. It bounces among themes without connecting them, raises issues it doesn’t want to develop, and lets characters fade into the background behind a star playing a too-often passive role in her own story. It’s the kind of movie you show to young teens as a history lesson: the tale is valuable, even uplifting, but you can’t help but wish it had been better told. Starring Jessica Chastain, Daniel Brühl, and Johan Heldenbergh. –MF Aurora, Dipson Amherst (ENDS THURS), Dipson Eastern Hills


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