Friday, January 22, 2016

Arch Campbell's Weekend Movie Guide (1-22-16)

Tom Courtenay & Charlotte Rampling (r) star in 45 Years

From our friend, Arch Campbell...

Brooklyn - 4 Stars. Irish girl comes to America in the 1950's, then gets tugged back. Great story of finding your way, and making the right life choice.

Spotlight - 4 Stars. The Boston Globe's investigation of abuse in the church leads to global change. Wonderful celebration of newspaper reporting in its humanity.

Room - 4 Stars. Hard to watch, and impossible to forget. Bree Larson raises her son in captivity, then suddenly... freedom. A knot-in-the-stomach thriller.

Carol - 4 Stars. Todd Haynes paints a beautiful picture of the early 1950's, as he unfolds the love between Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

Son of Saul - 4 Stars. The Holocaust, through the eyes of a Jewish prisoner forced to aid the slaughter. He vows to arrange a proper burial for a young boy. Hungarian, subtitled and the year's best foreign film.

Best New Bet > 45 Years - 3½ Stars. Strange news and a secret revealed change Charlotte Rampling’s 45-year marriage before our eyes. Breathtaking.

Arch with Will Farrell & Zack Galifianakis

The Martian - 3½ Stars. In the great tradition of rescue movies, likable Matt Damon gets left behind on Mars and must figure out his survival.

Creed - 3½ Stars. Winning update of the "Rocky" series.

The Big Short - 3½ Stars. Makes the 2008 financial meltdown understandable and even funny, although there’s nothing funny about it.

The Lady in the Van - 3 Stars. Maggie Smith as a crusty old coot, who parks her van in a writer’s driveway and stays 15 years.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - 3 Stars. Winning reboot of the beloved series echoes the best of the original and “The Empire Strikes Back.”

Concussion - 3 Stars. Will Smith brings Dr. Bennet Omalu to life, the brilliant Nigerian pathologist who stood up to the NFL on the cost of pro football concussions.

Bridge of Spies - 3 Stars. Tom Hanks stars in solid, true life Cold War drama.

Trumbo - 3 Stars. Bryan Cranston as screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, blacklisted in the 1950's.

Spectre - 3 Stars. The latest James Bond hits all the winning formula marks, but runs long and sometimes feels predictable. Fans won’t mind.

The Hateful Eight - 2½ Stars. Outrageous three-hour Quentin Tarantino western.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi - 2½ Stars. Non-politicized good guys versus bad guys recreation of the attack on the U.S. consulate and a CIA station in Libya.

Joy - 2 Stars. In spite of Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell’s stock company, “Joy” never quite catches fire, and undermines the plot with a rushed finale.

The Danish Girl - 2 Stars. Eddie Redmayne dazzles as the world’s first transgender patient, with Alicia Vikander as his supportive wife. Beautiful, but cold.

The Revenant - 2 Stars. Leonardo DiCaprio's bid for an Oscar is a painful slog to watch.

Anomalisa - 1 Star. Stop action story of a one-night stand. Weird and creepy.

Sisters - Zero Stars. Painfully unfunny comedy misfire.

Visit Arch's website for his (unrivaled) take on movies. He remains the only other (we're not self-hating) critic, whose opinion we admire and respect.