Multiplexes shake off their New Year's doldrums with a handful of entries ranging from sublime contemplation to ridiculous action, with art house offerings including a possible Oscar nominee. Ben Affleck once again adapts Dennis Lehane with the gangster drama Live By Night (pictured), but the story gets lost in fortune-cookie dialogue.
The 2017 movie year kicks off with a few holdovers from 2016 limited release, including a fanciful book adaptation, a real-life inspirational story and another great performance from Isabelle Huppert. A Monster Calls (pictured) tries to translate the emotionally-resonant fable of its source material to the screen, but feels forced and unconvincing on a big screen. Huppert stars as an academic experiencing personal upheaval in Mia Hansen-Løve's latest rich character study Things to Come.
The busy Christmas movie week brings a mix of would-be Oscar contenders and crowd-pleasers, representing nearly every possible genre. The science-fiction romance Passengers (pictured) opens with a strong concept, before collapsing in a conclusion that's morally indefensible.
As Hollywood does its now-traditional back-loading of December film releases for Christmas week, only a few new movies make their way to Utah theaters today, including an awards front-runner. Andrew Wright praises Jessica Chastain's fiercely intelligent performance as a cutthroat Washington lobbyist in the political drama Miss Sloane (pictured).
Programming announcements for the 2017 Sundance Film Festival began today, with U.S. and World Dramatic Competition slates and the NEXT category, featuring a few names familiar to festival regulars. The U.S. Dramatic Competition's 16 features include new movies by returning directors Eliza Hittman (It Felt Like Love, Sundance 2013), Gillian Robespierre (Obvious Child, Sundance 2014) and Alex Ross Perry (Listen Up Philip, Sundance 2014).
The traditionally busy Thanksgiving weekend features a full slate of Disney animation, historical drama, a psychological thriller and a feel-good documentary. Disney's Moana (pictured) may stick to a musical formula in its story of a Polynesia girl's hero journey, but there's a reason that formula works.
A return to J.K. Rowling's wizarding world dominates the multiplexes, while a variety of art house specialty offerings include a fascinating period romantic thriller. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (pictured) takes a pre-Potter wizard story and only proves how important the hero was to those stories.
A chat with Rémi Chayé about his directorial debut.
The Salt Lake Film Society has always done an amazing job bringing in films from around the globe, whether we knew we wanted them or not. This weekend is no exception, as Shout Factory Films brings in the 2015 French-Danish animated film Long Way North, in full English dub (with the exception of the 4:10 p.m. showings, which will be in French with subtitles).
A strange new world greeted America this week, but at theaters, it's another weekend of new releases. The documentary Harry & Snowman takes a true-live underdog story and loses track of the dynamics that make it most interesting.
Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme hits theaters, along with animated toys, a real-life war story and two indie dramas about fascinating women. The animated jukebox-musical Trolls doesn't offer much story creativity, but at least brings some energy and distinctive visual texture to its universe.