Oscar-Nominated Short Films (Not previewed) Live-action and animated shorts.
By Gary Thompson Ghost in the Shell Scarlett Johansson is a crash survivor cyber-enhanced to become the perfect soldier in the war on terror, fighting criminals who've learned how to hack into the human mind. With André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Naomie Harris, and Mahershala Ali (Oscar for best supporting actor). 50 R (some sexuality, drug use, brief violence, and profanity throughout) - T. Beauty and the Beast *** Live-action version of the 1991 animated classic, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in the title roles.
Conceptually clever, though not always as scary as it could be, with a winning supporting role for Lil Rel Howery. The ensemble cast includes Kevin Costner, Glen Powell, Mahershala Ali, and Aldis Hodge. With Ian Mc Shane and Laurence Fishburne, reunited with his costar from The Matrix. 2 R (strong violence throughout, nudity, language) - G. Kedi ** An endearing documentary about cats that roam the streets of Istanbul, forming bonds with Turkish citizens and killing rats.
Get Out *** Jordan Peele's horror movie about a black man (Daniel Kaluuya) who heads to mansion country to meet the parents (Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener) of his white girlfriend (Allison Williams). What it lacks as serious history it makes up for with an empowering social message. At better than two hours, though, the movie feels overstretched. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston) and an Oscar winner (Brie Larson) mapping an island that has a large inhabitant.
The true story is about overqualified scientists who could only get jobs crunching numbers for their white male bosses but who overcame prejudice to make their own mark on the space program. John Wick: Chapter Two **1/2 Action-packed sequel again starring Keanu Reeves as the underworld's most fearsome hit man, this time squaring off against the world's most adept assassins (including Common) in scenes of highly stylized violence that build to crescendos of comic absurdity. Land of Mine *** Tense, thoughtful drama, set in Denmark during the months after the conclusion of WWII, detailing the often ruthless practice of using German POWs to defuse land mines.
Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe are terrific in this feel-good family movie about a group of black female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the 1960s. Add in organized crime and sheep, and you have an amusing, musical mess.
The Sense of an Ending **1/2 Divorced loner (Jim Broadbent) is forced to reconsider faulty "memories" of his past, making him abandon self-constructed ideas of himself. Wolves A high school basketball star who seems to have it all struggles with a difficult family life. When his older brother (Kyle Chandler) dies, he must return to his tiny hometown and assume responsibility for his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges). A Cure for Wellness *1/2 Dane De Haan plays a crooked corporate hustler sent to the Alps to retrieve his AWOL boss from a sinister health spa. Some of the segments work better than others, but the film is mostly forgettable. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston) venture into the jungle of a remote and forgotten Pacific Island, where they find a very large, hairy problem. Often funny, often excruciating comedy about a Manhattan banker (Jesse Wakefield) who returns to his small Rhode Island hometown to take care of his grandmother's estate and ends up being drawn by an estranged friend (Kris Avedisian) into a world and an identity he'd hoped to leave behind. The Ottoman Lieutenant On the brink of World War I, an idealistic nurse from the United States falls in love with a lieutenant in the Ottoman Imperial Army. Casey Affleck (best-actor Oscar) is sensational as a self-hating melancholic who has lived a miserable life as a janitor since an accident. A Dog's Purpose ** Hokey family drama about the reincarnated spirit of a dog who comes back to life in different bodies for different humans, looking to discover his purpose. Fifty Shades Darker ** Dull sequel to the smash-hit original, adapted from the E. James novels about a woman (Dakota Johnson) and her on-again, off-again romance with a billionaire playboy (Jamie Dornan) who is into S&M. The fight is unexpectedly epic, but the comedy leading up to it is not. R (strong sexual content, graphic nudity, language) - G. Fist Fight ** Charlie Day plays a teacher who gets a colleague (Ice Cube) fired, leading to a showdown brawl in the parking lot after school.