An instant classic, the newest James Bond movie and a visit with favorite old comic-strip pals make this a good weekend to hit the cineplex. You homebodies, meanwhile, can curl up with the Beatles and two of the year’s most memorable films.
Designates a Movies for Grownups Editors’ Choice
This is one of the year’s best films. Like the crusading newspapermen and -women it honors, Spotlight doesn’t shut down until it gets the story right. Michael Keaton stars as the hard-nosed Boston Globe editor who coached his ace reporters ( Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams among them) through their outing of pedophile priests — and a diocese-wide conspiracy to conceal their heinous crimes.
New on DVD, Blu-ray and Video on Demand
The Beatles 1+
“You could say the Beatles invented MTV.” George Harrison wasn’t far off when he said that! The hottest live act of the mid-1960s couldn’t be everywhere at all times, so they produced a series of promotional films that would be called music videos today. This spectacular DVD/Blu-ray set, spanning the Fab Four’s career from “Twist & Shout” (1963) to “Real Love” (1995), presents 23 newly restored films. Each is a treasure, and together they chronicle the astonishing artistic progression of the eight brief years of the world’s top rock band. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr provide commentaries.
Everything about Pixar’s imaginative tale of a tween girl and her emotions is perfectly right — from the ingenious premise to the eye-popping animation to the transcendent voice characterizations by the likes of Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling and Amy Poehler. Sophisticated in ways few animated films dare to be, Inside Out is the rare movie that delights in the moment, then lends itself to thoughtful discussions afterward.
She’s Funny That Way
Peter Bogdanovich returns to form in this frothy tale of a playwright ( Owen Wilson) caught in a love triangle with his wife, her old flame and a heart-of-gold hooker. Jennifer Aniston is funny as a shrink entangled in the mess (“You don’t joke with your therapist!”). Also popping up: former PB gal pal Cybill Shepherd.
The End of the Tour
“ Jason Segel” and “cerebral”: We’ve never used those two phrases in one sentence, but the former gross-out guru is a delightfully thoughtful revelation in this meaty true story of a five-day interview that Infinite Jest author David Foster Wallace gave Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) in 1996. Fans of grown-up movies shouldn’t miss it.
Those who fondly recall the raucous-but-soft-hearted 1983 Chevy Chase original may want to skip this return trip. Ed Helms is fun as a grown-up Rusty Griswold retracing his family’s disastrous car ride, and there are some clever gags en route. But the nastiness pervading the film should have been kicked to the curb.
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Still in theaters (Click on Titles for Movie Trailers)
Johnny Depp re-emerges as one of our best actors with his exquisitely calibrated channeling of James “Whitey” Bulger, the small-time Boston hood who became a big deal with the unwitting help of the FBI. As his G-man handler, Joel Edgerton seems too easily corrupted; we wish the film had spent more time with Whitey’s brother Bill, a respected and powerful president of the Massachusetts Senate, masterfully played by Benedict Cumberbatch. (FULL REVIEW)
Bridge of Spies
Yes, Steven Spielberg is our latter-day Frank Capra and Tom Hanks his Jimmy Stewart, and this is their latest triumphant celebration of an Everyman exemplifying everything that makes America great. This time, in a true-life Cold War-era story, Hanks is a modest New York lawyer assigned to negotiate the trade of a Soviet agent for U-2 spy-plane pilot Francis Gary Powers.
Bolstered by a welcome appearance from Emma Thompson, Bradley Cooper stars as a chef desperate to gain his third Michelin star — but we’ll always be partial to the far-tastier Chef with Jon Favreau and Big Night with Stanley Tucci.
Diagnosed with terminal cancer, a New Jersey police lieutenant ( Julianne Moore) battles her bosses to gain pension benefits for her young domestic
partner (Ellen Page). Steve Carell plays her champion, a civil-rights activist. Based on a true story.
Lily Tomlin stars as a grandmother trying to help her teenage granddaughter (Julia Garner) pay for an abortion. Crass, combative and vulnerable, Tomlin gives the performance of a lifetime in a film that suggests the planet might improve if all males were abducted by aliens. (FULL REVIEW)
He Named Me Malala
This documentary about Malala Yousafzai — the Pakistani teen who survived a bullet to the head after advocating education for girls — makes you wonder: What would you be willing to endure in the name of freedom?
Robert DeNiro is perfect as a 70-year-old retiree who attacks his boredom by enlisting in a “senior intern” program at a hip online-fashion company. The experienced newcomer has a lot to teach the young whippersnappers — especially company founder Anne Hathaway, scrambling to keep her footing in the office and at home.
NASA’s announcement this week that there’s flowing water on Mars would have been welcome news for Mark Watney (Matt Damon), the NASA astronaut stranded on the Red Planet in director Ridley Scott’s instant sci-fi classic. Damon’s as endearing as ever as he coolly MacGyvers his way through one crisis after another.
Our Brand Is Crisis
Sandra Bullock’s new movie about American political strategists helping a Bolivian presidential candidate rebrand himself could have been a funny film that made a serious statement about politics. As it is, Crisis mopes along, only rarely giving us wacky scenes (which feel airlifted in from another movie). With his shaved head, Billy Bob Thornton was born to play political hired gun James Carville.
Rock the Kasbah
If it’s Bill Murray you want, this one’s for you, Bud: He’s front and center in this shaggy-dog tale about a shady music promoter who discovers a beautiful teen singing in an Afghan cave. How he came to be in that cave and how he gets home barely matter; instead, director Barry Levinson unleashes his star to do whatever he wishes. With fun appearances by Bruce Willis, Zooey Deschanel and Kate Hudson.
Bring a hanky. Make that a box of ’em. Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay are extraordinary as a mother and her five-year-old son who escape after being held captive in a single small room for the youngster’s entire life. With Joan Allen and William H. Macy. Based on the book-club favorite by Emma Donoghue.
The Second Mother
Brazilian star Regina Casé is brilliant as a housekeeper whose modern-minded daughter comes to stay at the home where she works in São Paulo, only to scandalize Mom and her employers with her disregard for class boundaries.
At times as infuriating as the angry, selfish, abusive and brilliant figure at its center, Aaron Sorkin’s script visits the Apple founder (Michael Fassbender) at three pivotal moments in his life and career. Lining up to jawbone with him in classic Sorkin manner are his ex-girlfriend (Katherine Waterston), his longtime partner (Seth Rogen) and the Apple CEO ( Jeff Daniels) who oversaw Jobs’s ouster from the very company he created.
Tab Hunter Confidential
Warner Brothers’ biggest star of the late 1950s — the heartthrob icon of films, TV shows and even records — managed to conceal his homosexuality throughout his big-screen career. Narrating this funny and disarmingly honest documentary, Tab Hunter is a good-natured guide through his own ups and downs. In a refreshing change from most tell-alls, Hunter harbors no grudges, relishes his successes and waxes philosophical about his failures. Along for the ride are friends Robert Wagner, Clint Eastwood, Robert Osborne and Debbie Reynolds.
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The best part of this account of how CBS newsman Dan Rather was brought down by a scandal surrounding a story he reported in 2004 is Robert Redford’s performance as Rather. Scorning makeup, Redford channels the anchor with the subtlest of mannerisms, including a wisp of a Texas twang. Cate Blanchett is excellent as his embattled producer.
Acrophobes, shield your eyes. The rest of you should see this on the biggest screen you can, and shell out the extra dough for those 3-D glasses: Robert Zemeckis’s thrilling account of how Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) walked a high wire between the World Trade Center towers in 1974 will leave you à bout de souffle.
A lso of Interest
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