The New York International Children's Film Festival brings a selection of its most delightful short films from around the world. Animated and live-action films from France, Germany, the UK, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Australia, Poland and the US are highlighted. Most contain no dialogue and are suitable for all ages. 60 minutes Unrated. (Opens Saturday 9/24)
John Krasinski (Jim Halpert from "The Office") serves as director and star for this Sundance-style indie about a man who returns to his small hometown after learning that his mother has fallen ill and is about to undergo surgery. Fellow sitcom star Zach Braff kinda staked out this dysfuctional family, indie-rock soundtrack dramedy territory a decade ago. It's overly familiar stuff, sure, but Krasinski lends a bittersweet charm to the proceedings. 88 minutes PG-13. (Opens Friday 9/23)
Century 14 Downtown The Hollars Fri-Sun 12:15, 2:35, 4:55, 7:15, 9:40; Mon-Thu 12:15, 2:35, 4:55, 7:15 High Ridge Fri-Sun 12:40, 3:15, 7:30, 10:25; Mon-Thu 12:40, 3:15, 7:30
Troubled 16-year-old John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records from Where the Wild Things Are) isn't a serial killer--but he has all the makings of one. So when a supernatural psychopath (Christopher Lloyd) starts stalking his small midwestern town, our hero (?) must keep his homicidal tendencies in check in order to save the people he loves. Based on the cult YA novel by Dan Wells. 104 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 9/23)
This experimental documentary/comedy/reenactment relates the unbelievable true story of 10 friends in Mobile, Ala., who celebrated one New Year's Eve by hiring a limousine at 4am to drive them to the beach for a Polar Bear Plunge. The night's escapades only escalated from there, resulting in funny, frightening and borderline insane complications. It has the feel of an urban legend, crossed with The Hangover, crossed with Heavy Metal Parking Lot. A cult film in the making, to be sure. 84 minutes Unrated. (Opens Tuesday 9/27)
What do you know: 1960's The Magnificent Seven (itself a remake of 1954's Seven Samurai) gets a remake. Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter, The Equalizer) is behind the camera. Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio and Matt Bomer are among the cowboys, gunslingers and outlaws hired to defend a poor, Wild West village from an army of savage thieves. 132 minutes PG-13. (Opens Thursday 9/22)
Jerry Lewis, in what is sure to be a final starring role, is the titular Max Rose, a long-retired Jazz musician coping (or not) with the death of his wife of 65 years (Claire Bloom). Max' granddaughter (Kerry Bishé from "Halt and Catch Fire") moves in to babysit the devastated senior. But Max is harboring a secret: He fought with his wife before she died about a 50-year-old infidelity--and now he can't let it go. Escaping from an old age home, Max goes searching for the man who may or may not have stolen his wife's heart. The film is pure sentiment, but producer-turned-director Daniel Noah is smart enough to exploit his star's fame and frailty, resulting in a film that may not dig very deep, but features a touching central performance. FULL REVIEW:Sad drama about death and regret adds a modest capper to its star’s long career by Devin D. O’Leary (9/22/2016). 93 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 9/23)
Margherita Buy and John Turturro star in this self-reflexive drama for Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti (The Son's Room, Dear Diary). Buy is a famous filmmaker experiencing a major crisis on set when she learns of her mother's fatal illness. Like a mixture of Moretti's two most famous films, this one conflates autobiographical details about the movie industry with heart-wrenching personal drama. 106 minutes R. (Opens Friday 9/23)
Danish master stylist Nicolas Winding Refn (Pusher, Bronson, Valhalla Rising, Drive, Only God Forgives) returns with this glittery, surreal horror thriller about an aspiring model (Elle Fanning) who moves to Los Angeles where her youth and vitality are slowly stolen by a string of beauty-obsessed women. Macabre, twisted, gorgeously mounted and seriously depraved, this one will win fans and detractors in near-equal number. Jena Malone, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves round out the odd cast. 117 minutes R. (Opens Thursday 9/29)
Prithviraj Sukumaran and Divya Pillai star in this action thriller about a young explosion expert's "dramatical" revenge against the owners of a pharmaceutical company. In Malayalam with English subtitles. 140 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 9/23)
From My Neighbor Totoro to Princess Mononoke to Spirited Away to Howl's Moving Castle, the release of a new animated masterpiece from Hayao Miyazaki is cause for major celebration. This 2009 cartoon fantasy centers on the adventures of a 5-year-old boy who befriends a goldfish princess name Ponyo who dreams of becoming human. This loose adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid is clearly aimed at younger audiences, but the visuals are a trippy treat for all ages. See also:Notable titles from the Netflix Watch Instantly world by Jerry Cornelius (09/06/2010), Notable animated titles from the Netflix Watch Instantly world by Devin D. O’Leary (07/17/2011). 101 minutes G. (Opens Thursday 9/22)
Kirk and crew are back in an amped-up action flick from 1982 battling former TV nemesis Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban, giving good villain). For most fans, this remains the best film of the series (old generation, next gen or modern reboot). 121 minutes PG. (Opens Sunday 9/25)
From the studio that gave us The Lego Movie comes this CGI cartoon about storks--you know, the kind who deliver babies. Adam Samberg, Jennifer Aniston, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Ty Burrell and Danny Trejo are among the bird-based voice cast. 89 minutes PG. (Opens Thursday 9/22)
Penelope Spheeris (The Decline of Western Civilization, Wayne's World) wrote and directed this no-budget, punk rock drama from 1983. The gritty story concerns a group of teenage punks who squat together in abandoned homes in Los Angeles and are soon targeted by unhappy suburbanites. T.S.O.L. and The Vandals are among the live music performances captured. And, yes, that's a young Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers among the cast. 94 minutes R. (Opens Tuesday 9/27)
Three border patrol agents (Johnny Simmons, Gabriel Luna, Clifton Collins Jr.) working a remote desert checkpoint stumble across a major cache of cocaine, leading to the exposure of what could be a serious coverup--from within their own department. This smartly written, slow-burn indie thriller was shot in New Mexico and substitutes the usual manic gunplay for serious thrills and complex moral questions. 86 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 9/23)
We've had Bad Santas, Bad Teachers, Bad Judges, Bad Neighbors and Bad Grandpas, so it was just a matter of time before we got saddled with Bad Moms. Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell are among the overworked and underappreciated moms who are pushed beyond their limits, and "ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun and comedic self-indulgence." Expect hijijnks including--but not limited to--drugs, alcohol and full frontal nudity to ensue. 101 minutes R.
Century Rio Fri-Wed 11:10am, 2:05, 4:50, 7:35, 10:20; Thu call for showtimes
Director Adam Wingard (V/H/S, You're Next, The Guest) is behind this "secret" sequel to 1999's The Blair Witch Project. After discovering a videotape showing what he believes to be his sister's experiences in the demonic woods of the Blair Witch, a young man heads into the forest looking for her. No way is this a good idea. Wingard and longtime screenwriting pal Simon Barrett toy with the concept of a "reboot/remake/sequel" while messing mercilessly with viewers' brains and unleashing some breathless scares. 89 minutes R.
The third film in the romantic British series arrives some 15 years after the original. Now comfortably middle-aged, still-singleton Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) suddenly finds herself preggers. But is it the baby of new boyfriend Patrick Dempsey or old flame Colin Firth? Think Mama Mia, but without the singing. 122 minutes R.
Writer-director Fede Alvarez (the remake of Evil Dead) isn't the first horror film director to be inspired by Terence Young's 1967 thriller Wait Until Dark (about a blind woman stalked by thugs in her own house). Still, he does a nifty job of flipping the script in this nail-biting entry. Stephen Lang (Avatar) is the blind old man targeted by a group of amateur thieves. Little do they know he's a murderously resourceful vet perfectly capable of trapping them inside his home, cutting off the lights and slaughtering them one by one. It's basically a gimmicky home invasion thriller, but Alvarez keeps the action quick, brutal and relentless. 88 minutes R.
Thirteen years after we went looking for Nemo, the CGI toonsters at Pixar take us on a quest to find Dory. Actually, Dory (the bubble-headed blue tang voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) is looking for her long-lost parents. Naturally, there's a lesson about family to be learned along the way. Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Diane Keaton, Idris Elba and Bill Hader provide vocal support. FULL REVIEW:Simple but satisfying sequel follows its own motto and just keeps swimming by Devin D. O’Leary (6/23/2016). 97 minutes PG.
Nobody remembers her now, but in the 1920s, Florence Foster Jenkins was something of a pop culture icon. A New York heiress with dreams of grandeur, she set herself up as an opera singer, recorded a number of records and built her own personal music venue--despite having a truly terrible singing voice. Meryl Streep (as Jenkins) and Hugh Grant (as her oddly loyal "husband") star in this mostly comic, ultimately touching biopic from director Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, The Grifters, The Hi-Lo Country, High Fidelity). 110 minutes PG-13.
Yes, this reboot to the endlessly quotable 1984 supernatural comedy does feature four female leads (Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones). If that's a problem, you should just stay home and complain about "feminazis" all you want on the internet. Everybody else can judge this one on its own merits. Is it innovative? No. Is it funny? Pretty much. Basically, if you grew up on the original films, this (much like the recent Star Trek movies) is just a watered-down remake with different actors. If you're fresh to the franchise, it's a perfectly servicable action comedy. 114 minutes PG-13.
In this modern-day Western, a divorced dad (Chris Pine) and his ex-con brother (Ben Foster) become bank robbers in order to save their family's farm in West Texas. This sets them on a collision course with dogged, soon-to-retire Texas Ranger Jeff Bridges. The tropes are familiar, but the cast is loaded with charisma and chemistry, and the film moves with the speed of a dust storm. The entertaining screenplay comes from Taylor Sheridan, who wrote the equally taut, shot-in-New-Mexico crime drama Sicario. 102 minutes R.
Reportedly popular Australia-based Christian rock band Hillsong United (an "American Idol"-style spin-off of the Hillsong megachurch in Sydney) gets the documentary/concert treatment. Producers are calling this a "new motion picture genre: the theatrical worship experience." If that floats your boat, enjoy. 103 minutes PG.
After sitting out a movie (2012's mediocre The Bourne Legacy), Matt Damon returns as everybody's favorite amnesiac superspy. Now that our hero is finally remembering who he truly is, he's got a lot of revenge to dish out against the people who betrayed him. This will involve lots and lots of car chases, foot races, gunfights and explosions. Also, he's got to contend with an evil CIA director (Tommy Lee Jones), an opportunistic agent (Alicia Vikander) and a very angry assassin (Vincent Cassel). Expect serious, no-holds-barred action, followed by more of the same. 123 minutes PG-13.
Century Rio Fri-Tue 12:20, 3:35, 7:10, 10:25; Wed 12:20, 3:35; Thu call for showtimes Rio Rancho Premiere Cinema Fri 12:20, 3:30, 6:35, 9:40; Sat 3:30, 6:35, 9:40; Sun-Wed 12:25, 3:30, 6:35, 9:40; Thu 12:25
This glorious, stop-motion animated cartoon comes to us from the company behind 2002's Coraline and 2012's ParaNorman. Inspired by Asian mythology, the film takes us into the fantasy-filled world of a young, would-be warrior who must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past. Aiding him on his quest are Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey). Since it's not based on any specific myth, the story gets a bit generic. But the animation is impeccable. 101 minutes PG.
Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines) writes and directs this weepy adaptation of M.L. Stedman's historical romance/tragedy. Michael Fassbender is a shell-shocked World War I veteran who takes a job manning a remote Australian lighthouse. Eventually, he marries a headstrong local lass (Alicia Vikander), but the couple suffer through a string of awful miscarriages. One fateful day, a newborn baby washes up on the shore of their rocky little island. Despite their better judgment, the couple decide to pass the kid off as their own. Yeah, this isn't going to end well. This is as gorgeous and gloomy as a Turner seascape, and the actors give well-measured performances in what amounts to a patient, literate, adult-oriented character study. FULL REVIEW:Tragedy-tinged historical romance floods the ocean with tears by Devin D. O’Leary (9/1/2016). 132 minutes PG-13.
If you think really hard, you might recall that Jason Statham made a Mechanic movie in 2011, in between making Crank, Expendables and Transporter sequels. It was actually a remake of a 1972 Charles Bronson thriller, but you'll be forgiven if the image of it just blurs into those other action flicks. Here Statham is back as an ex-hitman trying to put his violent past behind him until some baddie kidnaps his girlfriend (Jessica Alba, slowly losing all ambition) and forces him to kill some more people. Stuff sure does blow up here, all right. 99 minutes R.
Century Rio Fri-Sat 11:20am, 2:10, 4:55, 7:40, 10:30; Sun 11:20am, 4:55, 7:40, 10:30; Mon 11:20am, 2:10, 4:55, 7:40, 10:30; Tue 11:20am, 2:10; Wed 11:20am, 10:30; Thu call for showtimes
A bank robber (Omar Chaparro, Un Gallo Con Muchos Huevos) recently released from jail goes to recover the loot he buried years ago. The problem? The site is now covered by a high school gym! What can our man do--other than come up with a wacky scheme to pose as a substitute teacher in a school full of wild and rebellious teenagers? In Spanish with English subtitles. 100 minutes PG-13.
Disney tries a more realistic approach to this remake of it's semi-popular 1977 live action/animation hybrid. In it, a young boy runs away from his hillbilly foster family and ends up living in the woods for six years--allegedly with the help of a friendly, fuzzy dragon--before being rescued by a kindly forest ranger (Bryce Dallas Howard) and her father (Robert Redford). Problems arise, of course, when Pete's old family come looking for him. 102 minutes PG.
Seth Rogen and pals (Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, James Franco, Bill Hader) star in this raunchy, computer-animated cartoon about a curious, anthropomorphic hotdog and his grocery store pals who discover the horrifying truth behind food and try to escape their fate (being cooked, eaten and digested, that is). Think Pixar, but with a whole lot of wiener jokes. Seriously. Not for kids. 89 minutes R.
Century 14 Downtown Fri-Sun 12:45, 3:05, 5:25, 7:55, 10:20; Mon-Wed 12:45, 3:05, 5:25, 7:55; Thu 12:45, 3:05 Century Rio Fri-Wed 11:50am, 2:30, 5:10, 7:50, 10:30; Thu call for showtimes
From the makers of the Despicable Me films comes this manic, animated comedy about a New York City terrier named Max who regularly invites his animal friends to hang out at his place while their owners are away at work. Max's happy life is interrupted one day, though, when his owner adopts a stray mutt whom Max instantly dislikes. The slim story is borrowed from any number of Warner Bros. cartoons in which evil dogcatchers chase innocent animals around the city. But the characters are funny and engaging. A who's who of comedians (Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Albert Brooks, Ellie Kemper, Steve Coogan, Hannibal Buress, Dana Carvey) are on talking animal duty. 90 minutes PG.
Olivers Stone directs this dynamic, dramatized lecture on who Edward Snowden is and why he was totally right in exposing the US government's covert operation to spy on American citizens. It's not that Stone is wrong. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt does well-measured character work as the titular whistleblower/traitor at the heart of it all. But the film is just too sure of its black-and-white narrative to provide much dramatic friction. As a bit of muckracking outrage, it's firebrand work. As a dramatic thriller, it's lacking in nuance and surprise. FULL REVIEW:Oliver Stone’s high-tech muckraker makes a solid, one-sided argument by Devin D. O’Leary (9/15/2016). 134 minutes R.
Well, it's not the oppressive, monotone "grimdark" look of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but this chaotic action flick replaces that with a story and tone that is literally all over the damn place. This hot mess has the unenviable task of introducing audiences to a dozen or so unknown characters, then blending them into a team we're supposed to root for. The gimmick here is that all of our superheroes are actually supervillains, sprung from prison if they'll take part in a suicidal mission to ... accomplish something or other. Most of the key players (Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Boomerang) seem to be having fun. Despite lots and lots of frantic CG action, this exercise in attitude can't decide if it's a winking superhero parody, an over-the-top war movie, a horror-survival video game or what. See also:What Warner Bros. did wrong with Suicide Squad by Devin D. O’Leary (8/11/2016). 123 minutes PG-13.
Heroic airplane pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger gets the big screen treatment with no less than Tom Hanks taking on the lead role. Clint Eastwood directs (as always) in his clumsy-yet-competent manner. The film concentrates mostly on the aftermath of Sullenberger's crashlanding in the Hudson River. It's a likable celebration of humble heroism, but we're mostly in it for the crash. 95 minutes PG-13.
Jonah Hill (Superbad, Moneyball) and Miles Teller (Whiplash, Divergent) star in this loosely-based-on-a-true-story comedy/drama about two young hustlers who somehow landed a $300 million Pentagon contract to supply arms to America's allies in Afghanistan. What follows is a bleak comedy of errors involving a lot of guns and a lot of bad people. 114 minutes R.
Morris Chestnut, Regina Hall and Jaz Sinclair star in this dramatic thriller about a (sexy) surrogate mom for a buppie couple who becomes "dangerously obsessed" with the soon-to-be father. ... How is this not a Lifetime Channel movie? 107 minutes PG-13.
Jack Huston ( "Boardwalk Empire") takes over for Charlton Heston (no pressure) in this actionized new adaptation of Lew Wallace's acclaimed novel about a Jewish prince enslaved by the Romans. Director Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Wanted, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) goes full-on Gladiator with this 3D spectacle. There's a bit more Christ (played by Rodrigo Santoro from 300) in this go-around ... and a lot more chariot racing. At least Morgan Freeman's around to do the wise mentor thing. 124 minutes PG-13.
British humorist Roald Dahl's beloved bedtime fable about a kindly giant who refuses to eat children comes to life courtesy of director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Melissa Mathison (who teamed up on a little film called E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial). Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) gives voice to the titular (CGI-rendered) Big Friendly Giant. 117 minutes PG.
Big, muscular Dwayne Johnson and tiny, motormouthed Kevin Hart are a couple of old high school pals reunited through Facebook for one of them buddy action-comedy adventures. Hart is a mild-mannered accountant and Johnson is an international superspy. Hijinks ensue. 114 minutes PG-13.
Jeez, how many of these movies have they made? So many, apparently, that the Pleistocene Age animals (voiced again by Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo and Queen Latifah) are now reenacting the plot to Armageddon. Yup, a giant meteoroid is heading towards Earth threatening to wipe out mammal-kind--and it's up to a mammoth, a sloth and a saber-toothed tiger to stop it. Hey, kids gotta learn history somehow. 94 minutes PG.
Movies 8 Fri-Thu 11:30am, 2:10, 5:00, 6:10, 7:40, 10:20 Movies West Fri-Thu 11:25am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:15, 9:45
Alexander Skarsgard ("True Blood") is our Tarzan and Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) is our Jane, returned to Africa after several years to investigate the suspicious goings-on at a mining encampment in Congo on the part of colonizing Belgian King Leopold II. David Yates (director of the last four Harry Potter movies) helms this original story, loosely based on the books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It could have used a few more epic set-pieces and a slightly pulpier tone, but this one gets a lot right, balancing action and drama and giving audiences one of the best on-screen Tarzans. 109 minutes PG-13.
A ghost haunts a mentally unstable mother and her emotionally traumatized kids. This ghost, though, is afraid of the light. So, naturally, everybody arms themselves with faulty flashlights and goes creeping around in the dark. The slightly clever gimmick (based on a short film by the same director) is stretched thin over the course of the film's sub-90-minute runtime. If you're a big fan of "jump out and go boo!" ghost movies (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Conjuring), this inexpensive fright film is for you. FULL REVIEW:Under-illuminated ghost story is too dim to really be scary by Devin D. O’Leary (7/21/2016). 81 minutes PG-13.
Movies 8 Fri-Thu 11:40am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30 Movies West Fri 12:30, 3:05, 10:15; Sat-Sun 12:30, 7:20, 10:15; Mon 12:30, 3:05, 10:15; Tue-Thu 12:30, 3:05, 7:20, 10:15
Borrowing more than a little inspiration from the Thai film 13: Game of Death (and its American remake 13 Sins), this tween-themed horror thriller finds a high school senior (Emma Roberts) lured into an online game in which she must complete a string of increasingly deadly stunts in order to win big bucks. It's based on the young adult novel by Jeanne Ryan. 96 minutes PG-13.
Movies 8 Fri-Thu 11:50am, 2:30, 5:10, 7:50, 10:30 Movies West Fri-Thu 11:35am, 2:20, 4:50, 7:30, 10:10