A young, British army recruit (Jack O'Connell from 300: Rise of an Empire) graduates boot camp only to find himself smack dab in the middle of "The Troubles" in northern Ireland, circa 1971. On his first day out, our protagonist gets ambushed by Catholic nationalists and left behind by his squad. For one tension-filled night, he's got to figure out who his friends are, what his enemies look like and how he's going to stay alive on the riot-torn streets of Belfast. This raw, minimalist thriller ignores political history in favor of brutal, breathless action. FULL REVIEW:Fast-paced British thriller drops viewers into the middle of the Northern Ireland conflict for some bruising action by Devin D. O’Leary (3/19/2015). 99 minutes R.
Reliable but rarely more than workmanlike director Clint Eastwood helms this biopic based on the biography of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. Bradley Cooper is excellent, running through all the emotions of our main character as he goes from front-line shellshocked to home-front rehabilitated. But Eastwood waffles too much between gung-ho patriotism and a more reasoned examination of the horrors our modern military men and women are asked to endure. It wants to tackle some big moral issues, but unlike Eastwood's Unforgiven, it can't break the Hollywood formula long enough to find the metaphorical weight behind the story. 132 minutes R.
From Australia comes this gripping psychological horror thriller. Worn-out single mother Amelia (Essie Davis) is doing her best to raise her troubled young son Samuel (Noah Wiseman). One day the kid finds an unusual bedtime storybook about a monstrous intruder named the Babadook. Before long Samuel's imagination goes into overdrive, and he's convinced this literary boogeyman is coming for him. As dark coincidences begin to pile up around the house, mom starts to believe as well. The frights are powerful, but writer-director Jennifer Kent puts real-life emotions ahead of seat-grabbing scares. 93 minutes Unrated.
From the writer-director of District 9 and Elysium comes another South Africa-based sci-fi drama. In the near future, Hugh Jackman has built an army of oppressive robot cops to patrol the streets. But a rebellious scientist (Dev Patel) and a couple of street thugs (Ninja and Yo-Landi from Die Antwoord) kidnap one of the robots and reprogram it, teaching it the value of human life. The effects are amazing, but the story is sorely lacking in the sypathetic character department. 120 minutes R.
Kenneth Branagh (Henry V, Thor) directs this straight-faced, unironic live-action adaptation of Disney's 1950 animated gem. It looks gorgeous from top to bottom, and Lily James (from "Downton Abbey") seems perfectly appropriate as the ball-going protagonist. But this version adds nothing whatsoever new to the old story. For Disney princess completists only. 113 minutes PG.
From the creators of God's Not Dead comes some more preaching to the choir. Like a Jesus-based version of Crash, this film consists of a bunch of random, seemingly unconnected characters (a pastor, a pregnant teenage girl, a nurse, a paramedic, an ex-soldier, a homeless mother, a suicidal young man, a lawyer), all of whose lives are "interconnected by the hand of God." Ted McGinley ("Married with Children"), Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite), Delroy Lindo (Get Shorty), Lee Majors ("The Six Million Dollar Man"), Brian Bosworth (former NFL linebacker and star of Stone Cold) and Cybill Shepherd (The Last Picture Show) are among the odd cast. 115 minutes PG-13.
A young woman (Mae Whitman, "Arrested Development") shakes up the social order of high school after discovering she's been labeled a "DUFF" (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by her more popular pals. Naturally, this is accomplished though the time-honored magic of the cinematic makeover. As in all Pygmalion-inspired romcoms, this is easily accomplished, since our "fat" and "ugly" heroine is clearly neither. Think John Hughes with hashtags ... and you're trying a lot harder than this formulaic tween comedy is. 101 minutes PG-13.
Every couple of years, the publishing industry spits out an erotic novel to remind housewives that naughty sex is a good thing. From Fanny Hill to Story of O to Fear of Flying to Exit to Eden, these books have been snapped up and hidden in bedside tables for decades. Today, we've got E.L. James' smash hit novel Fifty Shades of Grey. This ripe bit of "mommy porn" started out life as a piece of Twilight fan fic written under the pen name "Snowqueen's Icedragon." The author changed the character names, got a better nom de plume, and the rest is history. The movie may be slightly more literate, but it's sadistically boring. Nothing happens. At some point nothing stops happening and the credits roll. 125 minutes R.
Will Smith is a big-money con man who hires a new "intern" in the form of sexy but naive Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street). Years later she returns as an accomplished femme fatale to throw a monkey wrench into his best-laid plans. The actors are having fun, but the script gets needlessly bogged down in "clever" twists. 104 minutes R.
In Israel, where there is no such thing as civil marriage or civil divorce, only rabbis can legitimate or dissolve a marriage--and only at the request of a husband. This patriarchal loophole is explored by brother and sister co-directors Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz. Set entirely in the courtroom and waiting rooms of a rabbinical court, the story concerns Viviane Amsalem (Ronit), who spends five years trying to get divorced from a stubborn man who refuses to let her go. It's claustrophobic and talky and hardly anything happens (mirroring the slow march of justice), but the direction is surprisingly cinematic, and the actors are simply mesmerizing. 115 minutes Unrated.
Sean Penn--hungry for some of that sweet, Liam Neeson-style, old-man-running-around-and-kicking-ass money--hires the director of Taken to give him a career boost. Penn stars in this humorless thriller as a mercenary sniper who assassinates a political bigwig in the Congo. Years later, he's a reformed good guy, who suddenly finds himself the target of an international hit squad. Like a wrinkled Jason Bourne, he hops around the globe trying to figure out who's behind it all. 115 minutes R.
The popular young adult book series about a dystopian future in which mean old adults won't let rebellious teens grow up to be whatever they want returns with the second outing in the trilogy (which will, inevitably, turn into four films). Shailene Woodley is back as troublemaking "divergent" Tris, who's obliged to run and fight and take a bunch of tests (no, really) in this predictably rote sequel. 119 minutes PG-13.
Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, X-Men: First Class) directs this fast, funny, impossibly kinetic action flick based on the comic book by Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Wanted). Newcomer Taron Egerton stars as a trendy British street kid who gets recruited to a top-secret spy agency that's, like, James Bond cranked up to 11. Colin Firth is the young spy's perfectly aloof bad-ass of a trainer. Samuel L. Jackson is the high-tech baddie. 129 minutes R.
From the director of Jiro Dreams of Sushi (really?) comes this inexpensive, Insidious/Sinister-esque horror flick about a bunch of med students who discover a way to bring the dead back to life--with predictably ghostly repercussions. The atypical cast includes "The O.C." babe Olivia Wilde, mumblecore director/actor Mark Duplass and Evan Peters (from "American Horror Story"). 83 minutes PG-13.
A Native American veteran, burdened by survivor's guilt after a disatrous military tour, is forced to search for his missing grandfather after his ancestral land is mysteriously taken over by an "Unknown Federal Organization." Yes, UFOs are involved in this low-budget, shot-in-the-Southwest thriller. In English and Navajo with English subtitles. 85 minutes Unrated.
This Disney-produced "based on the inspirational true story" sports flick is pure formula. But it's a formula that works. Kevin Costner is a high school coach exiled to a dirtwater farming community in California. There, he creates a winning cross country running team with some of the ragtag local migrant worker kids. It's all very familiar, but director Niki Caro (Whale Rider) shows considerable sympathy to the impoverished farm workers depicted here. 129 minutes PG.
Terrorists, criminal kingpins and bad guys in general: When are you going to stop threatening members of Liam Neeson's family? It never ends well for you. Neeson--still in full-on, ass-kicking, old-man mode--stars as a mob hitman who accidentally (sorta) shoots his boss' son. As expected, the boss man (Ed Harris) doesn't take to kindly to the action and pledges to execute our protagonist's offspring (Joel Kinnaman from "The Killing"). Our hitman antihero has just one night to figure out where his loyalties lie and how many people have to die before dawn. Spaniard Jaume Collett-Serra (Orphan, Unknown, Non-Stop) directs this violent action thriller. 114 minutes R.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel gave audiences the exact dose of twee elderly romance, exotic locals and faintly inuendo-filled comedy they were looking for. So everybody from director (Shakespeare in Love's John Madden) to cast (Dev Patel, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy) have returned for more of the same. Seems the now successful retirement hotel in Jaipur, India, has only one vacancy left, prompting newcomers (including Richard Gere) to fight for space. 122 minutes PG.
When the secret formula for Krabby Patties goes missing, SpongeBob and his pals (Patrick, Squidward, Sandy, Mr. Krabs) venture into the real world (featuring a mix of live-action and 3D animation) to recover it from a dastardly pirate (Antonio Banderas ... no, really). Also, they become superheroes. Yeah, SpongeBob doesn't make a lot of sense. But it's awesome. 93 minutes PG.
Century 14 Downtown Fri-Sun 11:35am, 2:05, 4:30, 7:05, 9:30; Mon-Wed 11:35am, 2:05, 4:30, 7:05; Thu 11:35am, 2:05, 4:30, 7:05 Century Rio Fri-Thu 10:35am, 1:30, 4:20
Julianne Moore gives an Oscar-nominated performance in this straightforward drama about an intellectual college professor learning to cope with early-onset Alzheimer's. Her family reacts in different ways, but it's her estranged daughter (a bohemian wannabe actress played surprisingly well by Kristen Stewart) who conjures up the most empathy for mom's plight. The film is smart, sensitive to its subject and exceedingly small in scope. 101 minutes PG-13.