Friday, December 16, 2016

Arch Campbell's Weekend Movie Guide (12/16/16)

Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling (r) star in La La Land

From our friend, Arch Campbell...

Best New Opening > La La Land - 4 Stars. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling fall in love with each other & Los Angeles in an optimistic fantasy musical.

Manchester by the Sea - 4 Stars. Casey Affleck delivers one of the best performances in years as a janitor forced to return to the scene of a profound loss. The story never goes where you expect, in the name of stark real truth.

Jackie - 4 Stars. Natalie Portman gives the performance of the year as Jackie Kennedy in the days after the Kennedy assassination, as she manages her grief and crafts the Kennedy "myth."

Loving - 3½ Stars. Gently-told true story of the interracial couple who challenged Virginia's ban on mixed marriage. A quiet love story with a star-making role for actress Ruth Negga.

Arch with Will Ferrell & Zach Galifianakis (r)

Sully - 3½ Stars. Clint Eastwood directs and Tom Hanks stars as U.S. Air "hero pilot" "Sully" Sullenberger. The recreations of landing the crippled jet and the aftermath paint a fascinating picture of calm, life-saving leadership. One of the year's best.

Moonlight - 3½ Stars. Three scenes from the life of a poor kid growing up with an addicted single mother. Love and emotion overcome challenge in a sometimes difficult, but deeply affecting story.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - 3 Stars. J.K. Rowling recaptures that old Potter magic.

Allied - 3 Stars. Classic movie fan delight with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard as World War II spies. But is she a counter spy? Modern mash-up of “Casablanca” and “Notorious.”

The Accountant - 3 Stars. Ben Affleck thriller keeps you intrigued.

A Man Called Ove - 3 Stars. Swedish comedy, based on well-regarded book about a grumpy old man and how he got that way. Sweet!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - 2½ Stars. Star Wars sidebar. Most fans will love it, but don't expect anything new.

Collateral Beauty - 2½ Stars. Will Smith learns a life lesson from "Love," "Time" and "Death."

The Girl on the Train - 2½ Stars. Emily Blunt as an alcoholic, obsessed with her ex-husband, his new wife & baby, and their beautiful nanny, who turns up dead. Who done it? Great beginning, so-so ending.

Doctor Strange - 2½ Stars. The excellent Benedict Cumberbatch lends his talent to Marvel’s latest superhero series, but his acting and eye popping special effects can’t save the finale from turning into the same old good versus evil thing.

Miss Sloane - 2 Stars. Lobbyist Jessica Chastain takes on the gun lobby. Her talent can't overcome a histrionic, cliché-ridden script.

Nocturnal Animals - 2 Stars. Amy Adams creeps out over the manuscript of a thriller. Starts tense, ends with a fizzle.

Arrival - 2 Stars. Space aliens have a message for us, and only Amy Adams can hear it. Wonderful effects, but a head scratcher of a plot.

Hacksaw Ridge - 2 Stars. Mel Gibson takes the story of a conscientious objector during World War II, and turns it into an overly violent meditation on war. Ironic, I guess; but I wish Clint Eastwood had directed.

Elle - 1 Star. French, subtitled. Isabelle Huppert juggles rape, violence, family troubles and other mysteries. Not my cup of tea.

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.