Reviews Ratings: **** Excellent *** Good ** Fair * Poor Reviewers: S.R., Steven Rea; D.D., Dan DeLuca; T.D., Tirdad Derakhshani; M.E., Molly Eichel; W.S., Inquirer wire services.
**** Excellent *** Good
** Fair * Poor
Reviewers: S.R., Steven Rea; D.D., Dan DeLuca; T.D., Tirdad Derakhshani; M.E., Molly Eichel; W.S., Inquirer wire services.
New This Week
Deli Man See review on Page 8.
The Divergent Series: Insurgent See Steven Rea's review on Page 4.
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem See Steven Rea's review on Page 6.
The Gunman See Steven Rea's review on Page 4.
An Honest Liar See Molly Eichel's review on Page 5.
The Wrecking Crew See Dan DeLuca's review on Page 5.
Also on Screens
Bradley Cooper delivers a powerful turn as Chris Kyle, the real-life Navy SEAL credited with the most kills of any sniper in U.S. military history. Clint Eastwood directs this taut Iraq War-era drama, although the sequences with Kyle returning Stateside are diminished by textbook scenarios of family dysfunction and discord. 2 hrs. 12
(violence, profanity, adult themes) -
Birdman Michael Keaton is a faded Hollywood star trying to reclaim his career by mounting a Broadway drama in Alejandro G. Iñárritu's fierce, funny, breathless dive inside the head of a man in deep trouble. An exhilarating, out-of-the-blue masterwork that ranks as one of the best films not just of the year, but also of the decade, the century. With Edward Norton, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts. 1 hr. 59 R (profanity, violence, sex, adult themes) - S.R.
Chappie A not-very-futuristic (it's 2016) shoot-'em-up about a robot police force, artificial intelligence, and a sentient machine adopted by a gang of South African street thugs. Another sunny vision from District 9 and Elysium director Neill Blomkamp, with Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, and Sigourney Weaver joining in the fun. 2 hrs. R (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Cinderella A winning redo of Disney's 1950 animated classic, directed by Kenneth Branagh with a sprinkling of stardust, dashes of good humor, and a respect for the corniest kinds of romance. Lily James (Downton Abbey) and Richard Madden (dazzling dentition) star as the woebegone heroine and the handsome prince with the foot fetish. Cate Blanchett chews scenery as the gleefully cruel, cackling stepmom. 1 hr. 52 PG (adult themes) - S.R.
Focus 1/2 Will Smith is a seasoned grifter, Margot Robbie his eager protege in a slick, glossy con artist caper that walks the walk and talks the talk, but that disappoints just when you don't want it to. With glammy pit stops in New York, New Orleans, and Buenos Aires. 1 hr. 44 R (profanity, sex, violence, adult themes) - S.R.
The Imitation Game A gripping story, a sad story, a true story, about British mathematician Alan Turing, who led the team of Brits during World War II trying to crack the Germans' daunting Enigma encryption machine. This unsung hero's life was brought to grievous conclusion because he was secretly gay. Benedict Cumberbatch stars (another remarkable performance), with Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, and Mark Strong. 1 hr. 54 PG-13 (sex, adult themes) - S.R.
McFarland, USA Inspirational Disney sports film based on the true story of a fledgling high school team of Latino kids - the sons of crop pickers and day laborers - who go on to win the cross-country state championship. Kevin Costner stars as the coach with
his own problems and prejudices to overcome. 2 hrs. 08 PG (violence, ethnic slurs, adult themes) - S.R.
Mr. Turner Mike Leigh's meticulously observed chronicle of the last quarter in the life of British artist J.M.W. Turner, with Timothy Spall grunting, grimacing, and deeply moving as the son of a London barber who becomes one of the great painters of his time. Of any time. 2 hrs. 30 R (sex, adult themes) - S.R.
Red Army Madly entertaining documentary about the dynastic days of the Soviet ice hockey team nicknamed the Red Army and the charismatic player at its center, Vyacheslav Fetisov. But this is much more than a sports movie. It's about Cold War politics, about national pride, about how we affix our hopes and dreams to athletic competitions, how we identify with sports, and how sports identifies us. 1 hr. 16 PG - S.R.
Run All Night A grim, jumpy, violent noir, with Liam Neeson as an aging mob enforcer regretting his crimes - and regretting that his son (Joel Kinnaman) wants nothing to do with him. But then the estranged duo are thrown together, as crooks and cops and Albanian thugs start hunting them down. Surprise: Neeson has to save his kid! 2 hrs. 02 R (intense violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 1/2 The John Madden-directed follow-up to his surprise 2012 hit quickly settles into a familiar, familial groove. The ex-pat pensioner gang played by Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, and Celia Imrie pick up where they left off, and new guests, most notably one beamy, white-maned Richard Gere, check in, while the eager-to-please young manager played by Dev Patel runs around Jaipur, antic, frantic, and full of oddball aphorisms. 2 hrs. 02 PG (adult themes) - S.R.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge
Out of Water 1/2 A safe but not consistently satisfying animated outing for the kids, this movie puts the underwater optimist on the trail of a pirate who has stolen the secret recipe for the Krabby Patty. Sinks in its second half. Glub, glub. 1 hr. 33, PG (rude humor) - D.H.
Still Alice Shot through with piercing detail, and devoid of cheap sentimentality, the sad, beautifully realized story of a linguistics professor, a mother, a wife diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. One of the defining performances of Julianne Moore's career, rightly winning her a best actress Oscar. With Alec Baldwin, Kat Bosworth, and Kristen Stewart. 1 hr. 53 PG-13 (profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
What We Do in the Shadows From Eagle vs. Shark and Flight of the Conchords' Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi, a mockdocumentary about three vampires who share a house in Wellington, New Zealand, and argue over whose turn it is to do the dishes. A cheerfully horrific affair, and there are even werewolves to contend with. 1 hr. 25 No MPAA rating (comic violence, adult themes) - S.R.
Whiplash 1/2 Miles Teller (the student) and Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons (the teacher) star in Damien Chazelle's propulsive drama about an aspiring jazz musician's torturous mentorship at a prestigious New York conservatory. It's a hyperventilated nightmare about artistic struggle and ambition. 1 hr. 46 R (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Wild Tales 1/2 Six vignettes about people on their best behavior: out for vengeance and out of control. Madly entertaining and just plain mad, from Argentinian director Damián Szifrón, and one of this year's foreign-language Oscar nominees. 1 hr. 54 R (sex, violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.