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Robin Williams left several movies on the shelf when he died last year, and his final dramatic performance highlights this weekend’s theatrical films.
At home, catch Helen Mirren tracking down art stolen by Nazis, Kevin Spacey as a U.S. President and Ronald Reagan before he became one.
In his final screen role Robin Williams plays a banker, long married to a devoted wife (Kathy Baker), who represses his true sexuality his entire life — until the night he tries to befriend a young street hustler (Roberto Aguire).
A dying New York real estate mogul ( Ben Kingsley) has his consciousness exported into the body of a young man (Ryan Reynolds). Is there really enough room in there for the two of them? From visionary director Tarsem Singh ( The Fall and Mirror Mirror).
New on DVD, Blu-ray and Video on Demand
House of Cards: The Complete Third Season
Fans say this blood-soaked D.C. drama, loosely based on Richard III, jumped the shark this past season. Possibly — but we’d watch Kevin Spacey vault those jaws any old day.
The Killers (1964)
The Criterion Collection has packaged both versions (1946 and 1964) of this Hemingway story, but opt for the later one, in which merciless hood Ronald Reagan slaps Angie Dickinson around. It was the ideal dress rehearsal for his next role—as a politician.
The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe (1972)
French comedies don’t always please the American palate. But so warmly did U.S. audiences embrace this spoof about a mild-mannered violinist (Pierre Richard) caught up in a spy adventure that it was remade in English with Tom Hanks.
Helen Mirren is the real golden girl in this true story of Maria Altmann, the woman who sued the Austrian government to recover “Woman in Gold,” a portrait the Nazis had stolen from her family. Wide-eyed with exasperation and naïveté, Mirren’s Altmann pursues justice with charming determination, assisted by a young L. A. attorney (Ryan Reynolds). (FULL REVIEW)
Still in theaters:
Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman are the year’s most adorable screen couple. They star as a long-married pair who must decide whether or not to relinquish the fifth-floor Brooklyn walk-up apartment they’ve shared for four decades. The film addresses some serious issues, notably “aging in place.” ( FULL REVIEW)
Bradley Cooper plays a military contractor whose ex-girlfriend (Rachel McAdams) has a deep, dark secret that everyone in the theater except Cooper’s supposedly ingenious character gets immediately. In short, say goodbye to Aloha.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Captain America (Chris Evans) has been around since World War II. Tony “Iron Man” Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is well into middle age. Those facts give an AARPropriate tinge to the latest all-star Marvel comics screen epic as the heroes battle a disagreeable robot voiced with trademark spookiness by James Spader.
Terrorists have brought down Air Force One in the Finnish wilderness, and now they’re hot on the trail of the president. Bad move, villainous ones: The president is Samuel L. Jackson.
Faith of Our Fathers
Stephen Baldwin stars in this drama about two Vietnam soldiers — one a man of faith, the other an agnostic — and the impact their relationship has on their sons nearly five decades later.
Far from the Madding Crowd
Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel about a plucky farmer (adorable Carey Mulligan) and the three men who woo her gets its fourth screen incarnation. We’ll always be partial to John Schelsinger’s 1967 version, however, with Julie Christie in the lead role.
Ethan Hawke stars as a U.S. Air Force drone pilot in one of the year’s most important films. He exterminates Afghan enemies from the comfort of a Las Vegas control room by day, then attempts to maintain a normal family life by night. Writer-director Andrew Niccol ( Gattaca) ingeniously explores the face of modern war without passing judgment on it. (FULL REVIEW)
I’ll See You in My Dreams
The latest star in a welcome string of grownup-movie love stories, Blythe Danner shines as a long-widowed woman who finds herself in an unexpected late-life romance with a charming, wealthy retiree ( Sam Elliott).
Mark Ruffalo is irresistible as a Boston father struggling with bipolar disorder while raising two spirited daughters. Zoe Saldana brings unexpected warmth to the role of the girls’ mother, who loves her man despite his mercurial manner. You’ll be rooting for this family to find its way. ( FULL REVIEW)
This Disney/Pixar animated film burrows into the mind of a tween girl named Riley, where we meet her emotions: perky Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), trembling Fear (Bill Hader), eye-rolling Disgust (Mindy Kaling), fiery Anger (Lewis Black) and short, misfit Sadness (Phyllis Smith). Part adventure story, part meditation on how memories shape our lives, the big-hearted Inside Out may be aimed at kids but grownups will love it.
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Twenty-two years have passed since the unfortunate events on Isla Nublar, and a new generation has finally opened a brand-new theme park there, featuring genetically cloned dinosaurs. Humanity’s hubris, by contrast, has changed not one bit in the intervening decades, so pretty soon we’ve got carnivores on the rampage all over again. (FULL REVIEW)
Paul Dano and John Cusack both star as Beach Boy Brian Wilson — at different stages of his troubled life — in this heartfelt and tuneful biopic. The actors have very different takes on their subject, but director Bill Pohlad masterfully meshes their performances into a gratifying whole. Paul Giamatti breathes fire as the evil shrink who nearly ruined Wilson’s life.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Is this reboot of the original “Road Warrior” series any good? That’s for those of us who recall the original Mel Gibson classic to decide. Tom Hardy stars as the hero this time around.
Magic Mike XXL
No shoes, no shirt, no problem! Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer (Neal Caffrey from White Collar) and a studly crew muscle their way back on screen in a sequel with all the profound social consciousness of the original.
Al Pacino adds to his recent gallery of quirky, finely focused characters in this story of an eccentric small-town locksmith with a secret past. The film doesn’t really go anywhere until the old fellow summons the gumption to ask a lovely bank teller (Holly Hunter) out for dinner. Their sweetly fumbling attempts to find a connection come close to redeeming the entire enterprise.
This just in from California: There is no California! Dwayne Johnson stars as a Los Angeles county rescue-chopper pilot. As the seismologist who warns of a coming catastrophe, Paul Giamatti spends much of the movie hiding under a desk.
Set Fire to the Stars
Elijah Wood stars as John Malcolm Brinnin, the New York academic who worshiped poet Dylan Thomas — until he brought the hard-drinking, hell-raising writer to America. The movie won’t pull kids in from the beach, but cowriter Celyn Jones is riveting as Thomas, and director Andy Goddard’s black-and-white film starkly captures the perils of coming face-to-face with your idol.
There is precisely one great gag in Seth MacFarlane’s follow-up to his hit comedy about a crude, drug-addled teddy bear that can talk: It involves a certain male action-movie star and a box of children’s cereal. The rest of the film alternates between gross-out stunts and defiantly tasteless jokes.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger said “I’ll be back!” in The Terminator in 1984, no one thought he meant, “in 31 years or so!” Yet here Der Groovenator is again, trying to prove he’s not obsolete while battling a new bunch of bad guys and his own “clone sweet clone” from three decades ago.
Also of Interest
- When Judi Dench & co. revisited ‘Marigold Hotel’
- 50 facts about the assassination of JFK
- Put your time, knowledge and talent to use as a tutor with AARP Foundation Experience Corps
- Join AARP: savings, resources and news for your well-being
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