Friday, January 8, 2016

Arch Campbell's Weekend Movie Guide (1-8-16)

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in The Revenant

From our friend, Arch Campbell...

Best Bets > 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.

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.

Arch with Will Ferrell & Zach Galifianakis (r)

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.

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.

Steve Jobs - 3 Stars. I wanted to love Aaron Sorkin’s biography of Steve Jobs. I liked this treatment; but it’s awfully talky, feels like a play, and Jobs comes off as even more of a jerk than expected.

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

Youth - 2½ Stars. Michael Caine as a composer/conductor, considering his life as he relaxes at an eccentric Swiss Spa. Sometimes "Youth" gets too cute for its own good, but includes some strikingly beautiful moments.

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.

In the Heart of the Sea - 2 Stars. Ron Howard epic on the story behind “Moby Dick” feels slow and sluggish.

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.

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

New Opening > 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.