OPENING THIS WEEK
3.5 chiles - MARRIAGE STORY
Drama, rated R, 136 minutes, Center for Contemporary Arts and Violet Crown. See review.
NOW IN THEATERS
2.5 chiles - THE ADDAMS FAMILY
The new animated version of The Addams Family begins with the wedding of Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) before they are chased off by angry villagers. They wind up in New Jersey and make their home in an abandoned asylum where Thing gives Lurch tips on tickling the ivories. The movie is the diversion you would expect, getting laughs from the disparity between the Addams’ congenital gloominess and the planned community, called Assimilation, that’s being developed near their mansion. If this installment lays on the moral (all families are freaky in their own ways) a bit thick, it has just enough wit and weirdness to honor its source material. Animated comedy, rated PG, 105 minutes, screens in 2D only at Regal Santa Fe 6. (Ben Kenigsberg/The New York Times)
3 chiles - A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
This movie is about how a man who has devoted his life to being kind helps a man with a professional investment in skepticism to become a little nicer. It could easily have turned into something preachy, sentimental, and overstated. Fred Rogers was none of those things. His decency presented itself with a serene consistency that could be a little unnerving. That’s how Rogers sometimes struck Tom Junod in the Esquire profile that inspired Marielle Heller’s film. And that’s how the movie’s Mister Rogers, played by Tom Hanks, often strikes Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys), a fictional character who, like Junod, writes for Esquire. This movie is not primarily about Rogers’ work in children’s
television. It’s about how his friendship helps Lloyd become a more forgiving son, a more responsive husband, and a more involved father. Hanks performs this with faultless technique, but you never lose sight of the performance. Rogers demurs when Lloyd describes him as a “celebrity,” but this film, in spite of its skill and sincerity, can’t find anything else for him to be. Biopic, rated PG, 108 minutes, Regal Stadium 14 and Violet Crown. (A.O. Scott/The New York Times)
The 1970s TV show Charlie’s Angels, which birthed a pair of films in the 2000s, returns for another reboot co-written and directed by Elizabeth Banks. The premise remains roughly the same, with three private investigators (here played by Ella Balinska, Naomi Scott, and Kristen Stewart) solving crimes for the mysterious Charlie (represented by assistants played by Banks, Djimon Hounsou, and Patrick Stewart). The sexploitation of the ‘70s show is replaced by high-concept feminism, with these “Angels” part of a network of highly skilled women who are called into action to save the world. Action-comedy, rated PG-13, 118 minutes, Regal Santa Fe 6, Regal Stadium 14, and Violet Crown. (Not reviewed)
3 chiles - DARK WATERS. Drama, rated PG-13, 126 minutes, Violet Crown. See review.
2 chiles - DOCTOR SLEEP
Grown up and battling ghosts and alcoholism, Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) is struggling to
compartmentalize his demons when he runs into a girl (Kyliegh Curran) with more “shine” than is good for her. Perhaps not surprisingly, his bid to save her takes him back to the Overlook Hotel, the site of his daily nightmares. Inspired as much by Kubrick’s revisionist film as by either of Stephen King’s books — 1977’s classic The Shining and its sequel, 2013’s Doctor Sleep — this film by horror wunderkind Mike Flanagan returns to the Overlook in ways both literal and figurative. Part homage to Kubrick’s moody atmospherics, and part hyper-literal superhero story, Doctor Sleep is stylish, engrossing, at times frustratingly illogical, and ultimately less than profoundly unsettling. Which is, in a word, a disappointment. Horror, rated R, 151 minutes, Regal Santa Fe 6 and Regal Stadium 14. (Michael O’Sullivan/The Washington Post)
3.5 chiles - DOWNTON ABBEY
Set in the 1910s and 1920s at a fictional English estate, the TV show Downton Abbey centered on the esteemed Crawley family and their domestic servants, as they all attempt to keep the massive estate afloat and shipshape in a rapidly modernizing England. The ensemble cast almost entirely returns for the film, which finds the characters in 1927, with the events of the series finale receding into the past. The family receives a letter informing them that the royal family is stopping in for an overnight visit. This news has everyone in a tizzy, although the staffers downstairs are affected far more profoundly than the family upstairs. That is the extent of the central plot, and the movie is well-served by its simplicity; creator and writer Julian Fellowes devotes himself to sprinkling the story with small moments that are delightful, letting each character warm the hearts of everyone who spent years getting to know them. Drama, rated PG, 122 minutes, Jean Cocteau Cinema. (Robert Ker)
FORD V FERRARI
At France’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1966, a team of American engineers led by designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) are dispatched by Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) to do the impossible: design and assemble a Ford capable of beating the dominant Ferrari racing team. Shelby enlists British driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), and the slightly eccentric, highly competitive men try to make it work. Director James Mangold captured this dramatization of the resulting preparation and race. Drama, rated PG-13, 152 minutes, Regal Stadium 14 and Violet Crown. (Not reviewed)
2 chiles - FROZEN II
It’s been a few years since Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel) learned to embrace her icy powers and settled on her throne. Little sister Anna (Kristen Bell) is still with hunky lunk Kristoff (Jonathan Groff). Living snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) continues to hang around. Otherwise, things are going well in the charmingly Nordic kingdom, right up until Elsa begins hearing a lone voice singing from afar. Not long after the song begins - although only Elsa can hear it - the people of Arendelle experience some oddities, culminating in an earthquake that sends the entire population heading for the hills. Frozen II starts off on shaky ground, largely because it backtracks on much of the character development Anna and Elsa went though in the first movie. The biggest disappointment? The music. There isn’t really a standout song in the bunch. Yes, Frozen II is a letdown when compared with the original. But it’s also a lackluster disappointment on its own - a pale shadow of what it could have been. Animated adventure, rated PG, 103 minutes, screens in 3D and 2D at Regal Stadium 14, screens in 2D only at Regal Santa Fe 6 and Violet Crown. (Kristen Page-Kirby/The Washington Post)
THE GOOD LIAR
Ian McKellen plays con artist Roy Courtnay, a man who targets vulnerable people and manipulates them into giving him access to their finances. When he meets Betty McLeish (Helen Mirren) online, he can scarcely believe his good fortune: She is a widow with a sizeable bank account. As he enters her life and digs his claws deeper, he is startled to find himself caring for her. She, too, begins to cotton on to his plans, turning what should be an easy swindle into an elaborate match of wits. Drama, rated R, 109 minutes, Regal Stadium 14 and Violet Crown. (Not reviewed)
3 chiles - HARRIET
The image most of us have of Harriet Tubman is of the noble older woman wearing a headscarf and somewhat inscrutable expression. With Harriet, she becomes a vital, fearless, spiritually driven hero. Co-written and directed by Kasi Lemmons, the film begins in 1849, when Tubman — born Araminta “Minty” Ross — is still living in Dorchester County. Although legally she and her siblings were supposed to be freed, her owners are keeping her as a veritable prisoner. Tubman decides to risk escape, eluding slave catchers, collaborationists, and hounds literally at her heels. Once in Philadelphia, she meets William Still (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Marie Buchanon (Janelle Monáe), who introduce Tubman to a hitherto unknown world of black prosperity and political agency. Harriet is the kind of instructional, no-nonsense biopic that may not take many artistic risks or sophisticated stylistic departures but manages to benefit from that lack of pretension. Biopic, rated PG-13, 125 minutes, Regal Stadium 14 and Violet Crown. (Ann Hornaday/The Washington Post)
3.5 chiles - THE IRISHMAN
Martin Scorsese’s long-gestating gangland epic begins in an old folks’ home, where the film’s protagonist, Frank Sheeran, can be found ruminating on a life not well-lived as much as jam-packed with incident, incitement, fierce loyalties, and breathtaking betrayals. Sheeran (Robert De Niro) is something of a cipher in The Irishman, which spans several decades as he relates how he came to be a hitman for the Philadelphia mob, a confidante of Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa, and, ultimately, the guy who put Hoffa down for good in 1975. Along the way, he meets Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci), a soft-spoken mafia don who is part of a syndicate that controls Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. De Niro and Joe Pesci, who haven’t worked together under Scorsese since 1995’s Casino, get into the rhythm with the ease of the pros that they are. But it’s when Al Pacino arrives on the scene as Hoffa that The Irishman truly levitates. No matter where that traveling camera goes, its subverts our expectations at every turn. Which can sometimes feel like a drag, but also exactly right. Crime drama, rated R,
209 minutes, Center for Contemporary Arts, The Screen, and Violet Crown. (Ann Hornaday/The Washington Post)
3 chiles - JOJO RABBIT
Writer and director Taika Waititi presents a twee version of World War II-era Berlin in Jojo Rabbit that is seen through the eyes of a child. Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) is an only child whose father, he thinks, is off fighting the war for Germany. He lives with his mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson), in a middle-class section of Berlin. His only real friend is imaginary: a fatherly Adolf Hitler with a tendency to fly off the handle whenever Jews are mentioned. Ten-year-old Jojo is one of the Hitlerjugend, or Hitler Youth, and decorates his room with swastikas and posters of the Führer. The comedy is fast-paced, at times approaching slapstick. It takes its time to find its emotional core and, as it does, the humor settles down and the drama mostly takes over, edging, at times, into rank sentimentalism. Jojo Rabbit may strain your credulity, but never at the expense of its young protagonists, who shine throughout. Comedy, rated PG-13, 108 minutes, Violet Crown. (Michael Abatemarco)
2 chiles - JOKER
In Joker, director Todd Phillips takes a grim, shallow, and distractingly derivative homage to 1970s movies to an even more grisly, nihilistic level. Arthur Fleck is an aspiring stand-up comedian whose day job is working as a clown. Portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix in a florid, Pagliacci-like turn as sad-clown-turned-mad-clown, Fleck is a pathetic man-child who nurses a deluded ambition to appear on a late-night show hosted by a comic named Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro). The fact that Franklin is played by De Niro is just one of many nods to Martin Scorsese, in this case to the brilliant King of Comedy (1982). Joker is so monotonously grandiose and full of its own pretensions that it winds up feeling puny and predictable. Like the antihero at its center, it’s a movie trying so hard to be capital-b Big that it can’t help looking small. Drama, rated R, 121 minutes, Regal Stadium 14. (Ann Hornaday/The Washington Post)
Writer and director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) takes a break from galactic adventures to dial the stakes down into a simple whodunit. Daniel Craig plays Detective Benoit Blanc, a private eye who is called upon to investigate the murder of crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). The suspects? His family members, who are played by Toni Colette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Katherine Langford, Michael Shannon, and others. Mystery, rated PG-13, 130 minutes, Regal Santa Fe 6, Regal Stadium 14, and Violet Crown. (Not reviewed)
2 chiles - LAST CHRISTMAS
Director Paul Feig films a script co-written by Emma Thompson (who also co-stars) about a London woman named Kate (Emilia Clarke) who continuously makes bad decisions in life. Her choice to accept a holiday job as a department-store elf initially seems to follow that pattern, until she meets Tom (Henry Golding). After that, it’s a matter of believing her good fortune and not screwing it up. Taken at face value, Last Christmas is a charming enough entry into the holiday rom-com canon. Clarke and Golding are likable together, if not electric. Feig manages a tone that’s heavy on chuckles and light on belly laughs. Still, it eventually reveals itself as a warmhearted story of trauma, survivors’ guilt, and reinvention. Somehow, Kate and Tom’s story still finds a way to play out in painfully predictable fashion. Romantic comedy, rated PG-13, 102 minutes, Regal Santa Fe 6 and Regal Stadium 14. (Thomas Floyd/The Washington Post)
4 chiles - THE LIGHTHOUSE
A horror movie about inner and outer darkness, this film begins with two lighthouse workers, Wake (Willem Dafoe) and Winslow (Robert Pattinson), arriving on a small, desolate island. Over many solitary days and nights, they work, eat, drink, and dig at each other, establishing a bristling antagonism. In time, their minds and tongues are loosened by alcohol and perhaps a simple human need for companionship. The wind howls, the camera prowls, the sea roars, and director Robert Eggers flexes his estimable filmmaking technique as an air of mystery rapidly thickens. With control and precision, expressionist lighting and an old-fashioned square film frame that adds to the claustrophobia, Eggers seamlessly blurs the lines between physical space and head space. He has created a story about an age-old struggle, one that is most satisfyingly expressed in this film’s own tussle between genre and its deviations. Horror, rated R, 109 minutes, Jean Cocteau Cinema. (Manohla Dargis/The New York Times)
1.5 chiles - MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL
Disney’s revisionist Maleficent took the Sleeping Beauty story that inspired the studio’s own 1959 animated classic and turned it upside down. In that live-action retelling, the evil sorceress Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) became both hero and villain. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil picks up where the first film left off: in the land known as the Moors, a CGI paradise now ruled by the former Sleeping Beauty, Aurora (Elle Fanning), and overrun with mythical critters. Aurora’s love interest (Harris Dickinson) is still in the picture, and, as the film opens, this anodyne Prince has just proposed marriage to Aurora. It’s a big and busy film, characterized by a focus on fighting and weaponry. But the worse sin is that it’s boring; unlike the first film, there’s no one to care about. Fantasy action, rated PG, 118 minutes, 2D only at Regal Santa Fe 6. (Michael O’Sullivan/The Washington Post)
2.5 chiles - MIDWAY
In this vividly choreographed and mostly historically accurate telling of the 1942 Battle of Midway — a pivotal Naval battle precipitated by Japan’s attack, just six months earlier, on Pearl Harbor — the violence is strictly PG-13 level. But the action, particularly the aerial combat, is impressively choreographed. And the Japanese, while clearly the enemy, are shown to be capable of great bravery as well as cruelty. Director Roland Emmerich opens his tale with a focus on Naval intelligence officer Edwin Layton (Patrick Wilson), who argued that Japan’s next secret target, after Pearl Harbor and the Coral Sea, would not be the South Pacific, but a tiny, previously insignificant atoll in the North Pacific. There are so many featured players and marquee names (Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Mandy Moore) that many of the film’s human elements are given short shrift. It tells a story that’s vividly and viscerally rendered, with all the entertainment value of a big, old-fashioned war movie, cutting back and forth between the home front and front line. But the kiss-kiss never really registers with quite the same impact as the bang-bang. Drama, rated PG-13, 138 minutes, Regal Stadium 14. (Michael O’Sullivan/The Washington Post)
4 chiles - PAIN AND GLORY
As he grows older, Pedro Almodovar grows more reflective. Pain and Glory is not strictly autobiographical, but it is strewn with deeply personal breadcrumbs to lead us through passages of the great director’s life. The central character is Salvador Mallo, a famous Spanish filmmaker played by Antonio Banderas, who won Best Actor at Cannes for this performance. As if to emphasize the artifice of his construction, Almodovar has built his story around two time periods and three major coincidences. The time frame shifts between memories of his character’s childhood, where his mother is portrayed by Penelope Cruz, and the present, when Julieta Serrano takes over the role. If the mood is more somber than in earlier Almodovar classics, the color scheme is as riotously rich as ever. The screen is drenched in glorious primary hues which provide a rich contrast to the complexity of the story structure. As he casts an eye back over his life and career, the septuagenarian director may have lost some of his youthful exuberance, but he hasn’t lost his touch. Drama, rated R, 113 minutes, in Spanish with subtitles, Center for Contemporary Arts and Violet Crown. (Jonathan Richards)
3 chiles - PARASITE
Director Bong Joon Ho creates specific spaces and faces that are in service to universal ideas about human dignity, class, and life itself. That’s a good way of telegraphing the larger catastrophe represented by the cramped, gloomy, and altogether disordered basement apartment where Kim Ki-taek (the great Song Kang Ho) benignly reigns. A sedentary lump, Ki-taek doesn’t have a lot obviously going for him. Fortunes change after the son, Ki-woo (Choi Woo Shik), lands a lucrative job as an English-language tutor for the teenage daughter, Da-hye (Jung Ziso), of the wealthy Park family. The other Kims soon secure their positions as art tutor, housekeeper, and chauffeur. The Parks make it easy (no background checks). Yet they’re not gullible, as Ki-taek believes, but are instead defined by cultivated helplessness, the near-infantilization that money affords. In outsourcing their lives, all the cooking and cleaning and caring for their children, the Parks are as parasitical as their humorously opportunistic interlopers. The cost of that comfort and those pretty rooms comes at a terrible price. Drama, rated R, 132 minutes, in Korean with subtitles, Violet Crown. (Manohla Dargis/The New York Times)
PLAYING WITH FIRE
John Cena heads a cast that includes Keegan-Michael Key and John Leguizamo in this comedy set in the world of wildlands firefighting. The three men play rugged, if buffoonish, firefighters who are in over their heads when tasked with rescuing and taking care of a trio of boisterous young kids. Comedy, rated PG, 96 minutes, Regal Stadium 14. (Not reviewed)
3.5 chiles - QUEEN & SLIM
Drama, rated R, 132 minutes, Regal Stadium 14 and Violet Crown. See review.
TERMINATOR: DARK FATE
James Cameron, creator of the Terminator franchise, contributes to his first film in the series since the 1991 installment Terminator 2: Judgment Day, co-writing and producing while Tim Miller directs. Linda Hamilton, the heroine of the first two films, also returns to the series for the first time since 1991. She once more plays Sarah Connor, who must join forces with the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and a cyborg named Grace (Mackenzie Davis) to protect a young girl (Natalia Reyes) from a highly advanced robot (Gabriel Luna). Science fiction, rated R, 128 minutes, Regal Stadium 14. (Not reviewed)
2.5 chiles - 21 BRIDGES
Chadwick Boseman portrays NYPD detective Andre “Dre” Davis in this overly schematic but reasonably watchable film, which has the erroneous assumption that it’s the role of the police to not just enforce the law but to mete out harsh justice for those who break it. Dre, of course, doesn’t really believe that, but people think he does. When eight cops and a civilian are killed in the robbery of a wine store with a freezer full of 300 kilos of cocaine, Dre’s presumptive trigger-happiness is what gets him assigned to the case by the precinct captain (J.K. Simmons) whose officers were gunned down. Dre, it is assumed, will find the perps and save us all the headache of endless appeals and plea bargains with a strategic bullet or two. He convinces the police brass and the FBI, who convince the mayor, to shut down Manhattan while he uses almost superhuman deductive skills to tighten the noose around the perps. Boseman is satisfying to watch, even when he has little to do except the right thing. He’s not guilt-ridden, seeking redemption, or complicated. It might be a teeny bit more interesting if he were. Action, rated R, 99 minutes, Regal Stadium 14. (Michael O’Sullivan/The Washington Post)
3 chiles - WHERE’S MY ROY COHN?
The first thing you notice are the dead eyes. They’re the eyes of a psychopath, hooded eyes that observe and measure untroubled by any glimmer of empathy. They’re the eyes of Roy Cohn, who spearheaded the prosecution of the Rosenbergs, served as chief counsel to Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s red-baiting reign of terror, trampled professional standards until he was finally disbarred for unethical conduct, and denied to his last breath his homosexuality and the AIDS virus that was gnawing away his life. Director Matt Tyrnauer uses interviews and clips of old newsreels and television appearances to paint a damning picture of the man, and to draw an implicit line between his two most famous creatures: McCarthy, and the man who now occupies the Oval Office, Donald J. Trump. The film’s title is drawn from Trump’s plaintive outburst when his then-attorney general, Jeff Sessions, recused himself from the Russia investigation. But the Trump-Cohn relationship, while its implications permeate the film, doesn’t dominate its narrative. Tyrnauer marshals his sources to assemble a picture of a brilliant man without a conscience for whom winning, by any means, was all that mattered. Documentary, rated PG-13, 97 minutes, Center for Contemporary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)
3 chiles - ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP
Has it really been an entire decade since Zombieland, in which Woody Harrelson joined forces with Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin to crack wise while the skulls of the undead exploded around them? Apparently it has, though part of the charm of this undemanding sequel (directed, like the first one, by Ruben Fleischer) is that it treats 10 years like 10 minutes. In the post-apocalyptic world, there’s no history, and the filmmakers wisely refrain from calibrating too many jokes to the present-day world beyond the screen. Like the first episode, but even more so, this chapter is aware that zombies are a pop-culture cliché and is content to goof on that fact. The film doesn’t have much on its mind, but it isn’t completely brain-dead either. Comedy, rated R, 99 minutes, Regal Stadium 14.
(A.O. Scott/The New York Times)
PERFORMANCE AND OTHER SCREENINGS
Center for Contemporary Arts
▼ 6:45 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5: The Santa Fe Council of International Affairs presents Another Day of Life.
Jean Cocteau Cinema
▼ White Snake.
▼ 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30: Warren Miller’s Timeless.
▼ 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 30: Gauguin in Tahiti: Paradise Lost.