Friday, March 31, 2017

Arch Campbell's Weekend Movie Guide (3/31/17)

Jessica Chastain stars in The Zookeeper's Wife

From our friend, Arch Campbell...

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."

Lion - 4 Stars. Emotional story of a young boy who falls asleep on a train and is carried a thousand miles from home. Growing up, he feels the tug of home, and follows his instincts. One of the year's best.

Paterson - 4 Stars. The great Adam Driver plays a Paterson, New Jersey bus driver named Paterson who writes poetry.  Quirky, moving and great fun.

Get Out - 3½ Stars. Breakthrough satire/comedy/horror tale. Black kid visits white girlfriend's secluded home, and suspects something weird. Comic Jordan Peele directs with a sure hand.

Arch with Will Ferrell & Zach Galifianakis (r)

The Lego Batman Movie - 3½ Stars. Animated comedy based on the Batman character. Hilarious from the first frame onward.

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.

A United Kingdom - 3 Stars. David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike add dignity to the story of an interracial couple whose marriage caused an international fury.

I Am Not Your Negro - 3 Stars. James Baldwin’s haunting writings brought to life with the voice of Samuel Jackson.

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

Fences - 3 Stars. Denzel Washington transfers August Wilson's play to the screen. The result looks like a play, but Denzel holds our attention.

Hidden Figures - 3 Stars. Inspiring story of three brilliant black women who faced prejudice and gender discrimination working in the space program in 1961. They kept John Glenn aloft.

20th Century Women - 3 Stars. Teenage boy comes of age in 1979 with a little help from his free-spirited mother (Annette Bening) and her unusual friends.

Julieta - 3 Stars. Pedro Almodovar's sweeping story of motherhood, death, and reconciliation.

Land of Mine - 3 Stars. Oscar-nominated story of German POWs in Norway, forced to search for mines planted on the beach. Tension-filled.

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

The Founder - 2½ Stars. Michael Keaton gives a great performance as McDonald's founder Ray Kroc. The script paints Kroc as not exactly a nice guy, but avoids the judgement (which might have helped.)

Best New Opening The Zookeeper's Wife - 2 Stars. A Warsaw family uses their zoo to protect Jewish refugees during the Nazi reign. Falls short of better Holocaust stories.

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

The Great Wall - 1 Star. Matt Damon fights monsters with the Chinese in a Chinese-financed English production that gets lost in translation.

Fifty Shades Darker - 1 Star. Second installment of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” S&M saga. This time, the lovers reunite and renegotiate. More soapy than sexy.

Elle - 1 Star. Getting a lot of attention, due to the Golden Globes. Rape, violence, and a "so what" attitude made it too much for me.

Split - Zero Stars. I wish I had split, instead of watching this "Psycho" rip-off.

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.