Entertainment

Oscar-nominated’Whiplash’ among films opening in Bellingham this weekend

OPENING THIS WEEK

American Sniper

R, strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references; 134 minutes. Director Clint Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper combine to tell the story of the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history and focus on the destructive inner price that must be paid for inflicting violence.

* * *  Too much of “American Sniper” is standard-issue military service movie, from the abusive training sequences to the standard operating procedure of house searches, dusty firefights and bodies dropped like a rising score in a first-person-shooter video game. No characters outside of Cooper and Miller make much of an impression. But Cooper, to his credit, rarely flinches, never chest-thumps and never loses his cool, even when Kyle is starting to lose his. It’s a masterful interpretation of a man with a lot more on his mind and blood on his hands than he was ever inclined to let on. And it’s a performance worthy of Eastwood himself — 50 years ago. — TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

Playing: Barkley Village.

Times: Friday-Saturday: 11:40 a.m., 1:50, 2:50, 4:30, 6:10, 9:20; Sunday: 11:40 a.m., 1:50, 2:50, 5, 6:10, 9:20. IMAX: Friday-Sunday: 12:20pm 3:30pm 7:00pm 10:10pm


Blackhat

R, violence and some language; 133 minutes. An imprisoned hacker is released to track down someone who is crashing the stock market and crippling nuclear power plants.

*  1/2 As focused as the blurred, often random moments of unsteady steadicam shots and as coherent as co-star Wei Tang’s indecipherable Chinese accent, Michael Mann’s “Blackhat” is a classic January fire sale thriller. Mann’s worst film since he transitioned into the pantheon of “major directors,” the best reason Universal had for rolling it out at all must have been some misguided attempt to pander its way into Chinese favor. — TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

Playing: Barkley Village.

Times: Friday-Sunday: 11:45 a.m., 3:20, 6:30, 9:35

Bolshoi Ballet: Swan Lake

Playing: Barkley Village.

Times: Sunday: 12:55


The Boy Next Door

R, violence, nudity, language; 91 minutes. Jennifer Lopez stars as a recent divorcee who gets the hots for the young hunk (Ryan Guzman) living across the street.

No star. Jennifer Lopez's new movie is cheesier than a Chicago double topping deep dish pizza. From the profoundly absurd idea that anyone married to a woman who looks like Lopez would cheat on her to the teen-age Lothario who looks older than Lopez, this movie is the culmination of a cluster of idiotic ideas. — THE FRESNO BEE

Playing: Barkley Village.

Times: Friday-Sunday: 11:25 a.m., 2, 5, 7:50, 9:45


Boyhood

R, strong language, sexual references, teen drug and alcohol use; 166 minutes.

* * * * *  The one thing many first remark about Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” the Austin director’s joyous and life-affirming love letter to adolescence and family, is how he filmed it over the course of 12 years with the same cast. ... But there’s no big, epic event to push the plot forward. ... So, while it’s tempting to say that nothing happens in “Boyhood,” that would be wrong. What happens is everything. — FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM

Playing: Pickford

Times: Friday-Tuesday: 5:30; Wednesday-Thursday: 3


Mortdecai

R, 107 minutes. An art dealer (Johnny Depp) races to recover a stolen painting rumored to be linked to a hidden stash of Nazi gold. Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor and Paul Bettany are among the people who get in his way.

No critical review available.

Playing: Barkley Village.

Times: Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m., 1:40, 4:50, 7:40, 10:20; Sunday: 11 a.m., 1:40, 4:50, 7:20, 10


Paddington

PG, mild action, rude humor; 95 minutes. A young Peruvian bear travels to the city in search of a home in this film based on Michael Bond's children's books. With Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins.

* * *  On the poster, Paddington the bear looks like the creepy British cousin of the Snuggle fabric softener bear. The CGI-version of Paddington (voice of Ben Whishaw) is neither robotic nor stiff, but instead comes off as a charming, delightful character. But even with all the bear's charm, a plodding pace and a questionable plotline leave the 2015 film version less desirable to watch. — FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM

Playing: Barkley Village.

Times: Friday-Sunday: 11:30 a.m., 3, 5:15, 7:30, 10:15


Strange Magic

PG; 99 minutes. Goblins, elves, fairies and imps battle over a powerful potion in this animated musical inspired by Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” With the voices of Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood and Kristin Chenoweth.

No critical review available.

Playing: Barkley Village.

Times: Friday-Sunday: 11 a.m., 1:30, 3:50, 6:50, 9:30


The Wedding Ringer

R, language; 101 minutes.

* *  1/2 “The Wedding Ringer” is “Wedding Crashers Redux,” a “Hangover Lite” that softens manic funnyman Kevin Hart’s persona into someone almost as funny, but more sentimental than abrasive. That helps “Ringer” work as a bromantic comedy that feels like a romantic comedy. So there’s not much new here. But a savvy, sassy script, smart casting and genuine “I feel sorry for this white boy” chemistry between Hart and Gad make “Wedding Ringer” an R-rated bromance that will touch you as often as it tickles you. — TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

Playing: Barkley Village.

Times: Friday-Sunday: 12:40, 3:40, 6:20, 9


Olympia Part 1 (Fest der Völken)

Playing: Pickford

Times: Wednesday: 6:30

Olympia Part 2 (Fest der Schonheit)

Playing: Pickford

Times: Wednesday: 9:30


She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

NR; 92 minutes. A documentary about the founders of the women’s liberation movement from 1966 to 1971.

Playing: Pickford

Times: Thursday: 6:30

Sundance Shorts

Playing: Limelight

Times: Friday: 8; Saturday: 12:40, 8; Sunday: Noon


The Theory of Everything

Playing: Pickford

Times: Friday-Saturday: 2:40, 9; Sunday: 2:40; Monday-Tuesday: 2:40, 9; Wednesday-Thursday: 9


Whiplash

R; 106 minutes. Writer-director Damien Chazelle draws on his nightmare memories of high school, an intense time when the aspiring jazz drummer was driven to excel by a merciless teacher who favored verbal torture and humiliation to mold young minds. The question Chazelle poses is whether psychological pain is the price of greatness. These sorts of standoffs and power games have given us some truly great films — Duvall in “The Great Santini,” De Niro in “This Boy’s Life” come to mind. Now “Whiplash” will too. — LOS ANGELES TIMES

Playing: Limelight

Times: Friday: 3, 5:30; Saturday: 3, 5:30; Sunday: 2:20, 5, 7:35; Monday-Thursday: 4, 6:30, 9

ONGOING

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

PG-13, fantasy action, violence and frightening images; 144 minutes. Peter Jackson’s final installment of the Hobbit saga finds Bilbo Baggins and his friends and allies at Laketown, battling the fire-breathing dragon Smaug and the legions of Orcs unleashed by Sauron. Martin Freeman, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, Stephen Fry, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Armitage.

* * * *  “The Battle of the Five Armies” is a roaring blockbuster of a war movie, that manages to be great thrills and totally ridiculous fun at the same time. — STAR TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS)

Playing: Barkley Village

Times: Friday-Sunday: 11:05 a.m., 2:10, 5:30, 8:50


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

Playing: Barkley Village

Times: Friday-Saturday: 11:50 a.m., 2:40, 5:40, 8:30; Sunday: 5:40, 8:30


Into the Woods

PG, thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, suggestive material; 124 minutes. The Brothers Grimm stories twisted and shaped by Stephen Sondheim for Broadway and is now brought to the screen by director Rob Marshall. Anna Kendrick, Lilla Crawford, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp.

* * * *  Brothers Grimm fairy tales were designed to be astonishing, but there’s a deeper twisted anarchy in Stephen Sondheim’s and James Lapine’s Broadway blockbuster. — MCCLATCHY

Playing: Barkley Village

Times:Friday-Sunday: 11:35, 2:30, 6, 8:55


Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

PG, mild action, some rude humor, brief language; 97 minutes. Larry the museum’s night watchman returns to rescue the exhibits, who are losing their after-dark/after-lives because of the failing powers of an Egyptian tablet. Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervaisk Owen Wilson, Ben Kingsley.

* 1/2 Minor moments of slapstick may tickle the kids, but anybody older, especially those who remember what Williams was like in his prime and how funny Stiller was just tow “Museums” movies ago, will wish this tomb had stayed sealed. — MCCLATCHY

Playing: Barkley Village

Times: Friday-Saturday: 12:30, 4:20, 7:20, 9:50


Of Mice and Men: National Theatre Live

Not rated; 120 minutes. James Franco and Chris O’Dowd star in the landmark revival of Nobel Prize winning writer John Steinbeck’s famed tale of friendship and loss.

No critical review available.

Playing: Pickford

Times: Sunday: 11 a.m.


Selma

PG-13, disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment and brief strong language; 122 minutes. Film follows Martin Luther King and his associates and family as they battle for voting rights for blacks in segregated Selma, Ala. David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Wendell Pierce, Martin Sheen.

* *  It’s a good film, well-performed and a fair and honest ... portrayal of a time when people had to literally endure beatings just for the right to vote. — MCCLATCHY

Playing: Barkley Village.

Times: Friday-Sunday: 1, 4:10, 7:10, 10


Taken 3

PG-13, violence and action, brief strong language; 109 minutes. A retired CIA agent travels to Europe to save his estranged daughter, who has been kidnapped while in Paris. Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker, Maggie Grace.

No crititical review available.

Playing: Barkley Village.

Times: Friday-Sunday: 11:45 a.m., 2:20, 6:40, 9:10


Unbroken

PG-13, war violence, intense brutality, brief language; 137 minutes. Angelina Jolie’s film follows an Olympic-caliber runner from his childhood through his competition in the 1936 Olympics and then to his crash into the Pacific after his plane is shut down and finally his survival in a Japanese POW camp, particularly when facing a sadistic Japanese guard. C.J. Valleroy, Jack O’Connell, Miyavi.

* * * 1/2 The life-force of the human spirit is repeatedly touched by Alexandre Desplat’s stunning score, but it’s Jolie’s steller technique that gives “Unbroken” its remarkable power. — STAR TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS)

Playing: Barkley Village

Times: Friday-Sunday: Noon, 3:10, 6:15, 9:15


Wild

R, sexual content, nudity, drug use, language; 115 minutes. A woman who has seen her life fall to pieces through a series of poor personal choices goes on a self-imposed spiritual quest, a trek along the Pacific Crest Trail. Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Gaby Hoffmann.

* * * 1/2 Witherspoon, dressed down and bloodied up on the trail, nude and wasted in many of the flashbacks, wholly commits to this quest and makes the psychological journey work in concert with the physical one. When Cheryl walks out on a counselor, we get what she means when she suggest there is no “talking” cure for what ails her. — MCCLATCHY

Playing: Barkley Village

Times: Friday-Sunday: 12:10, 3:10, 5:50, 8:40

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