Denis Villeneuve (best known for such hard-hitting crime films as Prisoners and Sicario) directs this sci-fi mystery in which a humble linguist (Amy Adams) is recruited by the military to figure out what a bunch of strange alien devices are trying to tell us. This is thoughtful, smartly assembled speculation, laced with fear, tension and a major sense of discovery. 116 minutes PG-13.
Denzel Washington directs and stars in this rich, performance-driven adaptation of August Wilson's Pulitzer- and Tony-winning play. Washington headlines as a former baseball player trying to raise his family while struggling with race relations in 1950s Pittsburgh. Viola Davis plays his wife, matching Washington's engrossing performance, beat for beat. 138 minutes PG-13.
Dwayne Johnson and Auli'i Cravalho provide the voices for this Polynesian fantasy story which comes to us courtesy of the animators at Disney. The titular Moana is a headstrong young girl who uses her navigational skills to set sail for a fabled island with the help of a legendary (if somewhat past his prime) demigod named Maui. This charming, fun musical cartoon harkens back to the glory days of The Little Mermaid. FULL REVIEW:Disney sets sail in the South Seas with a mythical new toon by Devin D. O’Leary (12/1/2016). 113 minutes PG.
From Nickelodeon Movies comes this rather obvious pun of a kiddie flick. See, it's about a monster that lives in a truck--a monster truck! Small town gearhead Tripp (Lucas Till) hopes his hand-built monster truck will help him escape his petty life. Then a squiddy monster shows up and hides under the hood, leading to all sorts of wacky adventures. Jane Levy, Thomas Lennon, Barry Pepper, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover and Amy Ryan crowd the unnecessarily crowded cast list of this CGI/live-action clunker. 104 minutes PG.
Two passengers on an interstellar ship carrying people to a distant planet for colonization find themselves unexpectedly awakened from suspended animation--90 years too early. Can they figure out what is causing the malfunction, and can they fix it in time? Also, is it possible they can fall in love with one another amid the crisis? Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence star in this sci-fi mystery/romance that squanders a rich setting by more-or-less refusing to deal with the questionable moral twist at the center of it all. 116 minutes PG-13.
Videotapes are more or less antiques these days, so a young woman finds herself cursed to die by black-haired ghost girl Samara after viewing a viral video on her phone. The cast of the 2002 American remake (and its sequel) are gone, but Aimee Teegarden ("Friday Night Lights"), Johnny Galecki ("The Big Bang Theory") and Vincent D'Onofrio ("Daredevil") show up. 102 minutes PG-13.
Lucky (and talented) bastard Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) gets to direct this prequel to the original Star Wars: Episode IV--A New Hope. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) stars as a particularly rebellious rebel tasked with helping a ragtag squad of freedom fighters liberate the plans to the Death Star--thereby setting up the plot mechanics of the original 1977 film. Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Forest Whitaker and Jimmy Smits (Bail Organa in the house!) round out the cast. 133 minutes PG-13.
The French animation company behind the Despicable Me films offers up this tune-filled toon. When a fast-talking, showbiz-loving koala finds his once-glorious theater threatened with foreclosure, he comes up with the idea of hosting an amateur singing competition. Although "American Idol" would seem like slight inspiration for a family film, the script conjures up quite a bit of sympathy for its anthropomorphic pigs, hedgehogs, gorillas and mice. Amid the comedy hijinks and the rather impressive songs, we get a lot of compelling backstory, telling us what brings each of these animalistic contestants to this particular grab at glory. Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson and Taron Egerton are among the cast. 108 minutes PG.
Movies 8 Fri-Thu 11:00am, 12:20, 1:40, 3:20, 4:30, 7:20, 10:10 Movies West Fri-Thu 1:30, 4:20, 7:10, 9:50
Jonah Hill helped out on the story for this foul-mouthed comedy starring his pal James Franco. Franco plays an internet billionaire who's about to pop the question to his girlfriend over the holidays. Unfortunately, her dad (Bryan Cranston) takes an instant dislike to the crass, inappropriate man-boy, setting off a war between the menfolk. 111 minutes R.
Vin Diesel's less popular but way more ridiculous (I know: that's saying something) action movie franchise returns. In case you forgot since 2002's xXx and 2005's xXx 2: State of the Union (in which Ice Cube took over for Diesel), Mr. Diesel plays an extreme sports athlete who becomes an international super spy. Or some such nonsense. Donnie Yen is in it. So is Tony Jaa. Samuel L. Jackson does his usual "show up in the beginning and tell people what to do" cameo. Diesel rides a motorcycle on the ocean and skis through the Amazonian rain forest. So there's that. FULL REVIEW:The Xander Zone returns, taking us all back to the era of exxxtreme by Devin D. O’Leary (1/26/2017). 107 minutes PG-13.