FILM NEWS: NOV. 14 - 20 | Cinema Clips | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

FILM NEWS: NOV. 14 - 20 

New This Week, Special Screenings, and Current Releases

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NEW THIS WEEK

Charlie's Angels
[not yet reviewed]
Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska get up to some international espionage derring-do. Opens Nov. 15 at theaters valleywide. (PG-13)

Cyrano, My Love 3 Stars
Basically, this frenetic, fact-based, feel-good French farce from writer/director/co-star Alexis Michalik is what happens when you put Shakespeare in Love and Finding Neverland in a blender and high-speed-purée that shit for nearly two hours. Just like those films, we follow another, future literary icon: poet and playwright Edmond Rostand (Thomas Solivérés). When he gets the call to write a play for a veteran stage actor (Olivier Gourmet), he ends up penning the play that made him a star: Cyrano de Bergerac. Along with getting inspiration from everyone he comes in contact with, he finds a muse in an intellectual beauty (Lucie Boujenah) his actor buddy is chasing, even writing letters to her under his protagonist's name. (Ironically, he doesn't get much inspiration from his wife, who was also a writer in real life.) As dizzying and bombastic as this flick can get, it thankfully sticks the landing in the third act. Not only does it capture the manic energy that goes on backstage during a show, it's also a reminder of how transcendent a good night at the theater—either stage or screen—can be. Opens Nov. 15 at Broadway Centre Cinemas. (R)—Craig D. Lindsey

Ford v Ferrari 3 Stars
See review on p. TK. Opens Nov. 15 at theaters valleywide. (PG-13)

The Good Liar
[not yet reviewed]
An aging con artist (Ian McKellen) sets his sights on his latest mark (Helen Mirren). Opens Nov. 15 at theaters valleywide. (R)

The Report 2.5 Stars
An elegantly-made information dump is still an information dump, and that's what writer-director and longtime Steven Soderbergh collaborator Scott Z. Burns offers in his paper-chase political thriller surrounding the investigation into the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" techniques. Adam Driver plays Daniel Jones, a staffer for the Senate Intelligence Committee leading a task force investigating why the CIA tortured prisoners, and what if anything was gained. Naturally, he runs into obstacles, and Burns effectively lays out the politics that drag the process out for years, ultimately turning Daniel into a target himself. Driver makes for an effectively righteous hero, even if Burns isn't much interested in what makes Jones such a dogged fighter. It all serves a narrative constructed to inspire outrage at both the torture program and the cover-up under the guise of national security, with multiple variations on "you need me on that wall" speeches. It's simply a shame that Burns can rarely find a way to inject either everyday humanity or genuine tension into the story. No matter how infuriating these events might be, there are only so many times you can watch someone sit down and explain something that happened. Opens Nov. 15 at theaters valleywide. (R)—SR

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

Changing the Game
At Main Library, Nov. 19, 7 p.m. (NR)

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice
At Park City Film Series, Nov. 15-16, 8 p.m. & Nov. 17, 6 p.m. (PG-13)

CURRENT RELEASES

Doctor Sleep 3 Stars
Mike Flanagan adapts Stephen King's sequel to The Shining, with a now-grown Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) dealing with the legacy of his traumatic childhood, and helping defend a fellow psychic from a group of vampire-like supernatural creatures. There's an impressive level of simmering menace in the story, which doesn't generally lean into jump scares. Flanagan gets a great performance from Rebecca Ferguson as his cruelly arrogant primary villain, even if she pulls the focus from McGregor's more restrained work. The real focus, though, comes in the final half-hour, which heads back to the Overlook Hotel to deal not just with Dan's own legacy, but the legacy of the relationship between King's The Shining and Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. It becomes a story of finally watching someone bury the things from his past that he couldn't previously let go. (R)—SR

Jojo Rabbit 2 Stars
It's a risky business in 2019 telling a story that treats Nazis as ridiculous, exploring the origins of bigotry as a kind of fairy tale. Writer-director Taika Waititi's story, set in Berlin near the close of World War II, follows a 10-year-old aspiring Hitler Youth named Jojo Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) as he discovers that his mother is hiding 17-year-old Jewish girl Elsa (Thomasin Mackenzie). There's plenty of material showcasing Waititi's oddball sense of humor, and an earnest approach to the central relationship. Ultimately, though, Waititi can't get the balance of "goofy" and "deadly serious" right. Jojo is such a gentle soul from the outset, there's little sense of a genuine darkness his friendship with Elsa can eradicate. By erasing the grim from this fairy tale, we're left with a movie that still has a lot of growing up to do. (PG-13)—SR

Last Christmas 1.5 Stars
Emilia Clarke stars as a mess of a single gal who can't get her shit together after a previous illness seems to have robbed her of self-responsibility; enter Henry Golding as a Perfect Man who gets her to appreciate everything around her. Clarke and Golding do exhibit some cute, charismatic chemistry; if Hollywood ever gets around to a Thin Man remake, you got your Nick and Nora Charles right here. Unfortunately, they are stuck in this embarrassing yuletide yarn (co-written and produced by Emma Thompson, who also shows up with a hammy accent as Clarke's immigrant mom), complete with a Big Twist that you should easily figure out by watching the trailer. Even as light, all-you-need-is-love junk for the holidays—which squeezes in an anti-Brexit message—the only thing this tinsel-covered treacle made me wanna do is smoke angel dust. (PG-13)—CDL

MidwaY 1.5 Stars
Disaster flick auteur extraordinaire Roland Emmerich tries to present an exciting war-strategy movie that combines gravitas with many, many explosions. Leading man Ed Skrein heads a cast of big names (including Dennis Quaid and Woody Harrelson) who only have maybe five minutes each of total screen time. Midway wants its audience to watch in awe and horror at the destruction of Pearl Harbor and various other battleships over the course of four years within two hours, but without any substance behind it; as Americans, we're expected to already have a sincere reverence for anything WWII-related. It's a shallow attempt to prey on that reverence with outlandish CGI 'splosions and a troupe of white male lookalikes. You'll learn something about history after about six different rally-the-troops speeches, but all you'll retain is how to aggressively extinguish lit cigarettes. (PG-13)—Rebecca Frost

Pain and Glory 3.5 Stars
Pedro Almodóvar's semi-autobiographical tale finds him operating in a contemplative register that he wears beautifully. Antonio Banderas plays Salvador Mallo, a once-celebrated, now-semi-retired filmmaker medicating his chronic back pain with heroin and wrestling with unfinished business from his past. That stuff includes his relationship with his mother (played in flashback by Penélope Cruz), and Almodóvar crafts lovely scenes both of 10-year-old Salvador's defining moments and the adult addiction that's underplayed to a surprising and welcome degree. The anchor for it all is Banderas' career-best performance, full of profound melancholy and a sense of being untethered without his creative outlet. Right up to Almodóvar's perfectly-chosen final shot, Banderas conveys the need to make peace with the events that have shaped you, for a character where making art is the only way he knows to do that. (R)—SR

Terminator: Dark Fate 3 Stars
Once again, a homicidal machine (Gabriel Luna) is sent back from a post-apocalyptic future to kill a human (Natalia Reyes), with another entity (Mackenzie Davis) also sent back to protect that same human; they ultimately connect with Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), now a roaming self-appointed terminator of Terminators, as well as an aging T-101 (Arnold Schwarzenegger). It's hard to ignore that nostalgia is a crucial component, including Brad Fiedel's iconic score, but Hamilton transcends that with a performance full of haunted history in her raspy line readings. As action spectacle it's solid, with director Tim Miller crafting a couple of nifty set pieces. But even if there's not much juice in the relationship between Davis and Reyes, plus the usual head-scratching causality logic, it's still a nice reminder of when "I'll be back" was a welcome promise, not a threat. (R)—SR

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