OPENING THIS WEEK
Not rated; 90 minutes. Best short films available on the 2014 festival circuit, presented at Limelight Cinema, Bellingham’s community “living room.”
No critical review available.
Dear White People
R, language, sexual content, drug use; 108 minutes. A young black woman at a Ivy League-like university hosts a campus radio show that takes aim at both white and black students at the school and their attitudes and interactions with each other. Tessa Thompson, Tyler James Williams, Teyohan Parris, Dennis Haysbert, Brandon P. Bell.
* * * “Satire is the weapon of reason” is the punch line to writer-director Justin Simien’s flip and hip satire. Here’s a race-based/race-baiting comedy that tackles issues of identity and sensitivity head on, a debut film that brashly borrows from a few early Spike Lee movies and updates them in a story of a college campus where somebody figures “Unleash You Inner Negro” is a good idea for a white frat house Halloween party. — MCCLATCHY
Dog Days of Winter: Sneak Preview
68 minutes. Filmmaker Brian Gilmore spent three years collecting interviews from 34 skiers, including Stein Erikson, Bobbie Burns, Wayne Wong, Suzy Chaffee and others, which are presented, along with a collection of vintage ski photos and film.
No critical review available.
Frankenstein Encore: National Theatre Live
Not rated; 120 minutes. Director Danny Boyle’s production features Benedict Cumberbatch as the creation and Johnny Lee Miller as Victor Frankenstein.
No critical review available.
R, violence, sexual content, some disturbing behavior, nudity; 122 minutes. A woman living on her own in remote Nebraska in the 1850s takes on the task of escorting three farm wives suffering mental problems from the stress of living in the prairie to the Missouri River, where they can be sent back east to their families. Hillary Swank, Tommy Lee Jones, Miranda Otto, John Lithgow, Meryl Streep.
* * * 1/2 “Homesman” is a quest parable set in a flat world of browns and greys, where spying that first cottonwood is enough to make Mary pause and marvel at just seeing a tree. (Director Tommy Lee) Jones takes exceptional care documenting this world — the sod houses with their leaky-walls and dirt floors, livestock prone to death by starvation, freezing or diseases the poor homesteaders had no clue how to cure. — MCCLATCHY
Meet the Mormons
PG; 78 minutes. Documentary examines the diverse lives of six devout members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, filmed on location and around the world. Jermaine Sullivan, Ken Niumatalolo, Carolina Munoz.
No critical review available.
Big Hero 6
PG, action and peril, some rude humor, thematic elements; 92 minutes. A young, brilliant genius uses the marshmallow-like robot created by his brother to find out if the brother was murdered and by who. Voiced by Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Maya Rudolph, Genesis Rodriguez.
* * * “Big Hero 6” is Walt Disney Animation’s lovely and sometimes touching attempt to do anime with computer-generated animation. — MCCLATCHY
3D: 1:40, 4:20
R, language throughout, some sexual content, brief violence; 119 minutes. A down-on-his luck actor throws everything he has into a planned Broadway production to regain his former fame. Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis.
* * * * Serious and silly, self-aware and ironic, it’s the movie that questions stardom, fame and celebrity, built around a role Michael Keaton had to become a has-been to play. — MCCLATCHY
R, language; 114 minutes. Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras films her encounters with Edward Snowden, the former NSA agent who released classified documents, and captures the paranoia and dread surrounding Snowden and those who are trying to make his information public.
* * * 1/2 A cool, steady stream of anxiety, Laura Poitras’ documentary “Citizenfour” draws from the visual language and buggy paranoia of the best-known 1970s political thrillers. — CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Dumb and Dumber To
PG-13, crude and sexual humor, partial nudity, language, some drug references; 110 minutes. Lloyd and Harry return, seeking out the daughter Harry possibly had years ago as he searches for a donor for his kidney transplant. Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Kathleen Turner, Rachel Melvin.
* 1/2 It’s just that comedy left the Farrellys behind over 10 years ago, and even their best efforts at reviving their PG-13 Three Stooges style feels old-fashioned and tired. — MCCLATCHY
R, strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, language throughout; 134 minutes. A sergeant works to keep the men running his tank alive during the final days of World War II. Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena.
* * * “Fury” is more like Sam Fuller’s personal war memoir, “The Big Red One,” straightforward, less poetic, an action film with a hint of humanity and history that is fast receding from view. — MCCLATCHY
R, scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content, nudity, language; 149 minutes. After a man’s wife disappears, he becomes the center of a huge media frenzy and suspicions that he is involved in her disappearance. Ben Affleck, Rosamond Pike, Neil Patrick Harris.
* * * It’s good, but we’ve come to expect more from the guy who gave us “Fight Club” and “The Social Network.” — MCCLATCHY
Horrible Bosses 2
R, strong crude sexual content, language throughout; 108 minutes. Nick, Kurt and Dale come up with a plan to kidnap the son of a home shopping mogul who is attempting to undercut the new business the three of them of created. Jason Bateman, Chris Pine, Jason Sudeikis, Jamies Foxx, Jennifer Anniston, Christoph Waltz.
* * Your enjoyment of “Horrible Bosses 2” is almost wholly dependent on your tolerance for clusters of funny actors, babbling, riffing and in the case of Charlie Day, screeching, all at once. — MCCLATCHY
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
PG-13, vilence, distrubing images; 125 minutes. Katniss Everdeen returns, fighting the destruction brought to the districts by President Snow and the propaganda spread by both Snow and District President Alma Coin. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsword, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore.
* * * “In these moments (Jennifer) Lawrence shires. It’s a rare actor who can show so much rage, hate, pain and hope in a single look. But she does. — THE FRESNO BEE
RPX: 1:20, 4:10, 7:10, 10
PG-13, some intense perilous action, brief strong language; 169 minutes. In the near future, with the climate of the Earth destroyed, a former NASA test pilot is recruited to lead a crew on a space flight to find a new world where humans can live. Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine.
* * * 1/2 Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” is the most ambitious science fiction film, maybe ever and certainly since “2001: A Space Odyssey.” — MCCLATCHY
IMAX: 12, 3:50, 7:50
R, violence including graphic images, language; 117 minutes. A socially awkward sociopath decides to become a freelance videographer, capturing film of accidents, crime scenes and more and selling them to eager local television stations. Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Rick Garcia.
* * * “Nightcrawler” is an utterly fascinating plunge into the ethical cesspool of freelance video journalism in the TMZ age. — MCCLATCHY
Penguins of Madagascar
PG, mild action, some rude humor; 92 minutes. Private, a new member of the Madagascar penguin team, seeks out a way he can become “a meaningful and valued member of the team” as he takes on octopus supervillian Dave. Voiced by Tom McGrath, John Malkovich, Chris MIller, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Stormare, Werner Herzog.
* * * Whatever this little nothing of a cartoon comedy lacks — decent female characters, an original villain — the bottom line from this bottom-heavy brotherhood from the bottom of the world? They’re still cute, still cuddly, still as funny as a ninja penguin could ever be. — MCCLATCHY
3D: 1:10, 4, 6:40, 9:05
PG-13, mature thematic material including sexual content, alcohol and tobaco use; 103 minutes. A cranky old man agrees to watch his new neighbor’s young son while she works and discovers the boy is in need of help and direction and purpose.
* * * This is Murray’s vehicle, and even if he never quite sticks with an accent or convinces us of an infirmity, he is captivating, first scene to last. — MCCLATCHY
The Theory of Everything
PG-13, some thematic elements, suggestive material; 133 minutes. Film follows the early life of brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking as a young man at Cambridge, learning how to focus and control his mind while dealing with the onset of Lou Gehrig’s Disease while at the same time meeting and courting a charming young woman who is also a student at Cambridge. Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, Christian McKay.
* * * 1/2 A great performance makes us forget the actor and see only their creation. That’s what happens in “The Theory of Everything.” We forget Eddie Redmayne’s meticulous efforts to recreat the brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking, a great thinker trapped in a contorted, crumbling body. — MCCLATCHY