Filmmaker Lowell Dean's campy, direct-to-video throwback from 2014 gets a sequel. This time around police officer/werewolf Lou Garou (Leo Fafard) is called back to action when an evil businessman threatens to destroy a small Canadian community with a malevolent brewery. Bloody, vulgar and absurd, this one's aimed at fans of '80s-style B-movie horror-comedies.82 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 12/8)
This documentary/family history explores the life of 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski, a vibrant grandmother, businesswoman and Holocaust survivor who operates a tailor shop in a defunct Kansas City shopping mall. When she is served an eviction notice from her landlord, Big Sonia faces an agonizing decision: open up a new shop or retire. Leah Warshawski (Sonia's granddaughter) and Todd Soliday's documentary revels in its subject's outsized personality, harrowing history and undimmed determination.93 minutes Unrated. (Opens Monday 12/11)
Buster Keaton stars in this classic 1928 comedy about a clumsy photographer who attempts to become a motion picture cameraman after falling in love with a secretary working at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (the movie studio that actually made this film). Double-featured with Man With A Movie Camera.69 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 12/8)
James Franco directs and stars in this biographical comedy about Tommy Wiseau, the inscrutable (and questionably talented) writer-director behind "the Citizen Kane of bad movies," 2003's ridiculous cult hit The Room. Franco's baby bro Dave Franco co-stars as Greg Sestero, the lousy but determined San Francisco actor who befriends Wiseau. After a move to Los Angeles in search of fame and fortune proves fruitless, the two deluded dreamers talk each other into making their own independent film. Aside from Franco's hilariously deadpan imitation of the oddball Wiseau, the film features a surprisingly affecting depiction of the allure that Hollywood holds and the lengths some people will go to achieve it. FULL REVIEW:Actor-director James Franco transforms into actor-director Tommy Wiseau by Devin D. O’Leary (12/7/2017). 103 minutes R. (Opens Friday 12/8)
Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton star in this hallmark 1967 comedy-drama about an upper-class couple whose liberal attitudes are challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African-American fiancé. Though it may not seem like such a big deal today, interracial marriage was still illegal in 17 states when this film was shot 50 years ago!108 minutes Unrated. (Opens Sunday 12/10)
Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones star in this old folks action comedy about an ex-FBI agent (Jones) who moves into a swinging retirement community and immediately clashes with the ex-mob lawyer (Freeman) who manages the place. They even fight over the resident AARP hottie (Rene Russo)—at least until a bunch of mob hitmen show up, gunning for the lawyer who's hiding out under witness protection. Then, it's reluctant buddy comedy time.91 minutes PG-13. (Opens Friday 12/8)
Dziga Vertrov wrote and directed this playful, self-referential, silent "documentary" from 1929. In this "day in the life of the Soviet Union" snapshot, we watch as a cameraman wanders the streets of Kiev, Moscow and Odessa documenting Soviet workers interacting with the machinery of modern life. Most of the "work" we see, however, is our onscreen cameraman (Mikhail Kaufman) making a movie. Double-featured with The Cameraman.68 minutes Unrated. (Opens Saturday 12/9)
The Griswold clan ends up hosting redneck Cousin Eddie for Christmas in this holiday favorite from 1989. Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, Randy Quaid and Julia Louis-Dreyfus star.97 minutes PG-13. (Opens Tuesday 12/12)
Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki (Leningrad Cowboys Go America, The Man Without a Past, Le Havre) helms this typically melancholic comedy about Europe's current refugee crisis. Displaced Syrian Khaled (Sherwan Haji) lands in Helsinki as a stowaway. At the same time, middle-aged salesman Wikstrom (Sakari Kuosmanen) leaves his wife and opens a highly unprofitable restaurant. Slowly ('cause that's how Kaurismaki rolls), the paths of these two down-but-not-out characters cross paths.98 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 12/8)
Before Banksy, there was mysterious, Lower East Side New York graffiti artist Richard Hambleton—known as "Shadowman" because of his penchant for painting crime scene-inspired silhouettes on the dirty walls of Manhattan. This pioneer of NYC's street art movement soon stumbled into drug addiction and homelessness, but his star is belatedly revived—with an assist from documentary filmmaker Oren Jacoby (Master Thief: Art of the Heist, Constantine's Sword)—after contemporaries like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Harring made the "good career move" of dying young.81 minutes Unrated. (Opens Thursday 12/7)
In this style-heavy supernatural psychodrama, a college freshman (Eilie Harboe) in Oslo tries to get out from under the grip of her controlling, evangelical parents. The increasingly sexual attentions of female college friend (Kaya Wilkins) only add to our protagonist's stress level—which leads to a series of seizures, which unleash her latent telekinetic abilities. Director Joachim Trier (Oslo, August 31st; Louder Than Bombs) flirts with horror elements in this Carrie-esque thriller, but the emphasis is more on repressed emotions, slow-burning eroticism and that distinctly Nordic brand of icy austerity. In Norwegian with English subtitles.116 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 12/8)
Back in 2016 Bad Moms became a runaway raunchy hit, grossing more than $100 million on a tiny $20 million budget. So here's the sequel. Overworked, under-appreciated Mila Kunis, Katheryn Hahn and Kristen Bell are back. The joke this time around is that their overbearing mothers (Susan Sarandon, Christine Baranski and Cheryl Hines) are visiting for the holidays. Sure, it's a standard sitcom setup. But at least there's "crude sexual content and language throughout." R.
Some 35 years after Ridley Scott's Philip K. Dick adaptation hit theaters on its way to becoming a cult classic, the official sequel gets underway. This time around a young LAPD replicant hunter (Ryan Gosling) gets caught in a cover-up when he discovers a long-buried secret involving legendary blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has been missing for more than three decades. Hampton Fancher, who penned the original, contributes the screenplay. Denis Villeneuve (who gave us last year's spectacular Arrival) takes over for Scott in the director's chair. This gorgeous sci-fi rumination is long, slow and very moody—but it dovetails perfectly with the original. 163 minutes R.
Pixar turns to Mexican culture and Day of the Dead for this animated feature about an aspiring young musician who confronts his family's ancestral ban on music by entering the Land of the Dead to work out the mystery. Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alfonso Arau, Edward James Olmos and Gabriel Iglesias are among the voice talent. PG.
Employing the same lazy sequel plot as A Bad Mom's Christmas, this follow-up to the 2015 Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg mild smirkfest finds wimpy stepfather Will Ferrell and macho biological dad Mark Wahlberg (now getting along just fine) visited by their own intrusive dads. Farrell gets John Lithgow and Wahlberg gets Mel Gibson. 100 minutes PG-13.
Octogenarian Belgian writer/director Agnès Varda (The Gleaners & I, Cleo from 5 to 7) joins forces with thirtysomething photographer/muralist JR to take a road trip through rural France. The two artists hit it off fabulously, bonding over their mutual curiosity and creativity in this playful, wonderfully personal documentary. If it's "about" anything, it's the pride and joy people—from famous artists to humble farmers—take in their everyday work. A real cinematic charmer.89 minutes PG.
Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg (and maybe a certain big blue Boy Scout) join forces to fight off an apocalyptic alien invasion. It's another incremental improvement in the DC/Warner Bros. brand, but it's punishingly frenetic, the CGI is on overload and everybody looks like an overdesigned basketball shoe. (This last one is particularly annoying in the wake of Thor: Raganrok, which embraced the hell out of legendary artist Jack Kirby's visual style. Justice League borrows a lot of Kirby characters and storylines, but none of his trademark look.)121 minutes PG-13.
In this "coming-of-age mystery" an 11-year-old girl searches for a rare missing book from her grandmother's library while trying to puzzle out why her family is fractured the way it is—all during one memorable summer at an isolated New Mexico adobe. Kelly Lynch, Holland Taylor and Sean Patrick Flanery and Steven Michael Quezada are among the adult cast. Based on the acclaimed YA novel by Juliet Bell. Shot in New Mexico, of course.90 minutes
Writer/actress Greta Gerwig (Greenberg, Mistress America, Francis Ha) turns director for this witty, well-observed coming-of-age drama. Saoirse Ronan (Hanna, Brooklyn) stars a Northern California girl stuck in Catholic school and applying to a bunch of East Coast colleges in hopes of escaping her overbearing, hypercritical mother (Laurie Metcalf, employing her sitcom skills to great effect).93 minutes R.
Richard Linklater (Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Before Sunset, Boyhood) seems like an odd man to write and direct this eligiac, post-military dramedy (based on the novel by Darryl Ponicsan). Steve Carell is a meek, former Navy man who hooks up with two old buddies from Vietnam (Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne) after his son is killed in the first Gulf War. He wants help burying the kid, but the road trip leads down some odd side roads. There's not a lot to this talk-and-drive, but the humor and chemistry among the leads is infectious. Cranston (a loudmouthed bar owner) and Laurence (a reformed-sinner-turned-reverend) function as the devil and angel on our mourning father's shoulders. Amid the humorous escapades, there's a serious story about what our government asks young men to do, and what it tells parents about their service.125 minutes R.
Every single frame of this animated biopic was hand-painted in oil. The story concerns a young man who comes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van Gogh to deliver the troubled artist's final letter and ends up investigating the artist's last days. Did van Gogh commit suicide or was he murdered? Needless to say, the painstaking work of the filmmakers is gorgeous to behold. The mystery angle is a bit gimmicky, but the visuals do a stunning job of expressing the artist's life though his work.94 minutes PG-13.
Dan Stevens (from "Downton Abbey," The Guest, Beauty and the Beast, "Legion," Marshall and growing overexposure) stars as Charles Dickens. The film relates the "real life" inspirations that caused him to write A Christmas Carol. It's a nice, well-dressed Victorian-era biopic but doesn't really express the lasting historical impact Dickens had on the Christmas holiday.104 minutes PG.
Kenneth Branagh directs this classy, rather traditional take on Agatha Christie's oft-filmed murder mystery. Most of the whodunit fun is in watching the crowded A-list cast—which includes Penélope Cruz, Josh Gad, Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Derek Jacobi, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench and Willem Dafoe.114 minutes PG-13.
Weirdly sensitive and sympathetic, this biopic heads back to '70s suburbia to look in on a high school-aged, pre-serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer (played here by Teen Choice fave Ross Lynch of Teen Beach Movie and "Austin & Ally"). Believe it or not, this is based on the true-life graphic novel by John Backderf, who was actually a classmate of Dahmer. The idea is that Dahmer was once something close to human—which doesn't lessen the severity of his crimes, but does add a layer of sick fascination to the story.107 minutes R.
In the early '60s, during the era of the Second Vatican Council, a young woman enters her training to become a nun. While the Catholic Church struggles to adapt to the modern world, our protagonist grapples with issues of faith, the changing church and sexuality. There's a lot of coming-of-age drama and a touch of lesbian sex (enough to tick off the Catholic Legion of Decency), but the mix of introspective drama and religious history never quite gels. On a side note: Melissa Leo (Frozen River, The Fighter) makes for one scary Mother Superior.123 minutes R.
Chris Van Allsburg's gorgeous, award-winning children's book comes to life in a computer-animated fantasy directed by Robert Zemeckis (Cast Away, Forrest Gump, Back to the Future). The simple story has a skeptical kid boarding a magical train to the North Pole and meeting Santa Claus. The "photo-realistic" CGI was faintly impressive from a technical perspective back in 2004, but is still flat-out creepy to watch. 100 minutes G.
Dan Gilroy follows up his lacerating debut Nightcrawler with this noble, but rather familiar legal drama. Denzel Washington stars as an idealistic (possibly autistic) social justice lawyer trying to keep alive the ideas of 1970s activism (not to mention '70s wardrobe). When his longtime partner suffers a heart attack, our titular protagonist is caught between going to work for a slick corporate law firm and sticking with his ideals. The film is more of a character study than a legal thriller, causing the story to come out in bits and pieces.129 minutes PG-13.
A small but brave donkey convinces a bunch of wacky, wisecracking animal pals to defy King Herod and go in search of the Star of Bethlehem. Yup, its a CGI cartoon retelling of the birth of Baby Jesus—from the perspective of all those animals you jam in the back of the Christmas creche. Stephen Yuen, Kristin Chenoweth, Tracey Morgan, Keegan-Michael Key, Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Gabriel Iglesias and Mariah Carey are among the eclectic voice cast.86 minutes PG.
Trapped in an otherworldly gladiatorial contest, the Asgardian God of Thunder Thor (Chris Hemsworth) teams up with his angry pal the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) to prevent the all-powerful Goddess of Death Hela (Cate Blanchett) from destroying the Asgardian civilization. New Zealander Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows) directs this high-energy action comedy with a breezy sense of fun. PG-13.
Martin McDonagh (who gave us the fine In Bruges) writes and directs this brilliant, bitter crime dramedy. Frances McDormand guarantees herself an Oscar nomination as Mildred, a permanently angry divorcée whose teenage daughter was raped and murdered. With no progress on the case in the last seven months, mom erects three billboards castigating the popular local police chief (Woody Harrelson) for his inaction. This sets off a chain of ugly repercussions in their tiny community. There are bursts of fine character-based humor (particularly from Sam Rockwell as a dimwitted police officer), but the overarching tone is one of ordinary, well-meaning people trying to do the right thing but ending up doing the exact wrong thing.FULL REVIEW:Crime doesn’t pay and neither does justice in pitch perfect comedy-drama by Devin D. O’Leary (11/30/2017). 115 minutes R.
Ever wonder what the kid from Mask was like in elementary school? That's pretty much the premise of this heartwarming drama about a fifth grader (Room's Jacob Tremblay) with facial deformities who goes to a mainstream elementary school for the first time and struggles for acceptance. Fortunately, he's got a tough and loving mom (Julia Roberts) at his side. Based on the bestselling novel by R.J. Palacio.113 minutes PG.
Aardman Animations, the company behind the much-loved Wallace & Gromit series, trade clay for CGI in this 2011 holiday toon. Seems Santa Claus runs an efficient, high-tech operation these days, delivering toys to all the good girls and boys all over the world in record time. But when a tiny computer glitch leaves one poor little girl without a present, it's up to Santa's son Arthur to save the day. Among the great voice cast are James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton, Michael Palin, Robbie Coltrane and Eva Longoria. (Who let the American in there?)97 minutes PG.
Poor, misunderstood mad scientist Gru (Steve Carell) tried to go legit in the last Despicable Me movie, but this newest animated outing finds him fired from his job as a superspy. A timely reunion with his long-lost (and incredibly successful) twin brother has him plotting one last villainous heist (with the help of his minions, of course). 90 minutes PG.
It's becoming an increasingly common cliché in Hollywood to give aging actors their "Liam Neeson in Taken" comeback. Nonetheless, watching martial arts superstar Jackie Chan do the "retired special agent hunts down the kidnappers/killers of his daughter" thing doesn't sound that bad. This tightly budgeted thriller actually spends more time with Pierce Brosnan as a Northern Irish politician trying to quell sectarian violence—but the mix of action and politics ends up working.114 minutes R.
Bombastic writer-producer Dean Devlin (Stargate, Independence Day, Godzilla) turns writer-director so he can mash up the last 15 years' worth of disaster flicks into one overstuffed apocalypse. Seems that, in the near future, mankind has developed a series of satellites that can control the weather. But when the tech gets hacked (unleashing tsunamis, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, you name it), it's up to super-genius Gerard Butler to save the Earth. Don't think: Just unhinge your jaw and watch cities go ka-blooey!109 minutes PG-13.
Half of Steven King's horror classic (the young kid parts) gets adapted in this feature film reboot. Bill Skarsgard ("Hemlock Grove") takes over from Tim Curry as the demonic clown luring kids into the sewers of a small New England town. Argentine filmmaker Andy Muschietti (Mama) directs with skill and some old-fashioned scares. If this one does well—unlike The Dark Tower—we'll get the second half.135 minutes R.
With Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel/Disney proved it could make a wildly entertaining crowdpleaser out of their most obscure properties. With this animated follow-up to The LEGO Batman Movie, LEGO/Warner Bros. does exactly the same thing. This toy-based feature is much funnier and more inventive than you're thinking. Dave Franco voices Lloyd, a haplessly unpopular high schooler—mostly because his absentee father is Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux, obviously having a ball), a monstrous warlord who spends every single day trying to conquer and/or destroy peaceful Ninjago City. Luckily, Lloyd is a member of a "Power Rangers"-esque team of superpowered teens who defend the city with their giant robots. But can Lloyd find the strength to defeat his own dad? 101 minutes PG.
Idris Elba and Kate Winslet star as mismatched strangers who survive a plane crash and must form a connection to survive an extreme trek over a remote, snow-covered mountain. This mainstream romantic adventure comes to us from Israel-born director Hany Abu-Assad, who previously gave us such foreign hits as Paradise Now, Omar and The Idol. Based on the best-selling novel by Charles Martin.103 minutes PG-13.
From the folks who made American Sniper comes this very similar, inspired-by-a-true-story drama about a group of US soldiers who return from Iraq and struggle to integrate back into family and civilian life. Miles Teller (still crowding up theaters with the inspired-by-a-true-story firefighter drama Only the Brave) headlines the cast. Based on the book by David Finkel.108 minutes R.
Tyler Perry straps on a dress again to play the scrappy granny Madea, who travels to a campground with some gal-pals where they are forced to fend off the advances of various monsters, goblins and boogeymen.101 minutes PG-13.