New in Theaters
EXCLUSIVE CLIP: And on Lead Guitar…Bill Shakespeare!
William Shakespeare died 400 years ago this April (gone too soon!). To mark the occasion, Fathom events is presenting a nationwide, one-night-only screening of Bill, a Monty Pythonian look at the Bard’s “lost years” before he hit it big. Forsooth, now the folks at Fathom and BBC Films have provided this clip — exclusively for AARP Movies for Grownups — that involves Shakespeare (Mathew Baynton) getting booted from a medieval pop-music combo called Mortal Coil. Ah, parting is such sweet sorrow...
A Director’s Caregiving Dilemma
In his searing new film Mia Madre, Italian writer-director Nanni Moretti explores not only the shifting relationships among two middle-age siblings and their dying mother but the complicated connections between the grown brother and sister. Moretti, who based the film on his own experience, plays the brother opposite actress Margherita Buy. “They're undergoing very similar emotions,” says Moretti, “but they have very different personalities. She is fiercely involved in her work as a movie director, but he quits his job to spend more time with their mother.” Smiling sadly, he adds, “The daughter is more like me. In the hospital she is thinking about work, while at work she is thinking about her mother.”
VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Haskell Wexler, Seeing with the Heart
This weekend friends, family and colleagues will gather in L.A. to say farewell to double Oscar winner Haskell Wexler, a longtime friend of Movies for Grownups, who died at 93 in December. His cinematography — in films such as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Medium Cool — continues to influence filmmakers everywhere. Here’s our two-minute tribute to a man whose art was informed by his fiercely held political and personal views...but who never let them compromise his genius as a visual storyteller.
This Weekend at the Movies
New in Theaters
Those who helped make the 2002 original the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time will not be disappointed by this sequel from writer-star Nia Vardalos. The original cast is back, as boisterous and big-haired as ever. A special delight: Michael Constantine and Lainie Kazan play 70-something parents who discover that, due to a clerical error, their 50-year marriage is not legit. FULL REVIEW
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
The first two hours are spent setting up the unique conditions under which superhuman Superman and mere mortal Batman can fight on equal terms. By that time, they (and we) have forgotten what they were mad about. FULL REVIEW
Director/co-writer Nani Moretti’s extraordinary study of a successful film director trying to balance work with her responsibilities to her dying mother strikes one visceral chord after another. Anyone who’s lost a loved one will find moments, painful and beautiful, torn from their own experience. As an American actor in Moretti’s new film, John Turturro provides some welcome levity.
I Saw the Light
British actor Tom Hiddleston ( Thor) is surprisingly excellent as Hank Williams, the self-destructive star who defined country music in the 1950s. The film around him, however, plunks along like a bass player unable to keep pace with the lead singer.
New at Home
The performances are excellent. The location scenes in India are eye-popping. But this heartfelt tribute to Mother Teresa, channeled by British actress Juliet Stevenson, suffers from blind devotion to its subject. Is it possible a saint starts life as less than angelic? FULL REVIEW
As his mother (Cynthia Nixon) faces serious health problems, a troubled 20-something (Christopher Abbott) tries to gain control of his life.
Still Out There
10 Cloverfield Lane
A veil of secrecy surrounded producer J. J. Abrams’s follow-up to his 2008 monster epic Cloverfield. But this new one’s got John Goodman in the lead — and that’s good enough for us.
Taron Egerton ( Kingsman: The Secret Service) brings an earnest naïveté to the role of ungainly Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards — Britain’s first Olympic ski jumper in 50 years, and the sensation of the 1988 Calgary games. Hugh Jackman is a cranky delight as his coach, a washed-up former ski champ. FULL REVIEW
Eye in the Sky
Helen Mirren stars as a British drone commander who must decide whether or not to hit a terrorist training camp — and risk killing an innocent girl nearby. Provided you can stand some overwrought agonizing about the decision, the performances are universally excellent — especially that of the late Alan Rickman, in his final film role. FULL REVIEW
Brooklyn Dodger great Jackie Robinson’s breakthrough as the first African American in Major League Baseball is well-known; in this clip exclusively for AARP, filmmaker Ken Burns confesses he never fully realized the star’s post-baseball importance to the civil rights movement. The clip is an extra feature on the Blu-ray and digital version of Burns’s PBS special Jackie Robinson, on sale April 12.
Those crazy Coen brothers ( Fargo) plunge us into a fantasized version of 1950s Hollywood with this delightful ensemble piece about a studio head (Josh Brolin) dealing with the kidnapping of his biggest star ( George Clooney). Making high-wattage cameos are Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Wayne Knight. FULL REVIEW
Sally Field is magnificent as a 60-something office worker who wakes up one morning horrified to realize she’s become a “crazy cat lady.” Among her remedies: pursuing an unlikely crush on a handsome young co-worker (Max Greenfield). FULL REVIEW
This thrilling, inspiring, beautiful documentary about Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan deftly evokes America’s decade-long commitment to landing a man on the moon in 1969. Part of the joy comes from reveling in a time when the nation could agree on a common goal. Winner of the Movies for Grownups Best Documentary award.
London Has Fallen
More than London Bridge is falling down in this action spectacle: Terrorists are bombing everything in sight during a summit of world leaders. The bad guys want to podcast their execution of the U.S. President (Aaron Eckhart); his Secret Service buddy (Gerard Butler) and vice-president ( Morgan Freeman) have other ideas.
Miracles from Heaven
Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifa costar in this faith-based film about a mother whose daughter survives a terrifying accident. The older woman then finds herself miraculously cured of a “fatal” digestive disorder. Based on the true story of a Texas family.
Ben Foster stars as disgraced biking champ Lance Armstrong in this biopic from director Stephen Frears ( Philomena, The Queen). The film is less about Armstrong’s decision to take performance-enhancing drugs than his years-long scheme to hide it — a narrative choice that makes him such a one-dimensional villain that even the talented Foster can’t rouse our interest in him. Dustin Hoffman pops up briefly as a promotions executive.
The story of Olympic champion Jesse Owens — the African American runner who exploded Hitler’s myth of Aryan superiority — is faithfully captured in this often-thrilling biopic starring Stephan James ( Selma) as Owens and SNL alumnus Jason Sudeikis as his coach. FULL REVIEW
Christopher Plummer is mesmerizing as a nursing-home resident, suffering from dementia, who sets off on a cross-country bus trip to kill a Nazi war criminal. The superb supporting cast includes Martin Landau as the friend who launches him on the mission and Dean Norris as a neo-Nazi state trooper. FULL REVIEW
“999” is police-band radio code for “Officer down!” In this case that would be Officer Casey Affleck, who’s been shot by a group of crooked Atlanta cops trying to create a distraction so they can boost some Benjamins across town. The bad news — for them — is that the targeted cop doesn’t die.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Based on a memoir by reporter Kim Barker, this action-comedy stars Tina Fey as a cable news producer who gives up her cushy lifestyle to cover the war in Afghanistan. Billy Bob Thornton is a no-nonsense commanding officer. In classic Hollywood cluelessness, a Middle Eastern power broker is played by Alfred Molina — a British-born, Italian-Spanish actor.
Photo: Jackie Robinson: PBS
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