comscore Movies: ‘Edge of Seventeen,’ ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ ‘I Bleed for This’ | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Movies Calendar | TGIF

Movies: ‘Edge of Seventeen,’ ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ ‘I Bleed for This’

  • STX FILMS

    Hailee Steinfeld plays Nadine in “The Edge of Seventeen.” Please see review, Page 31.

OPENING FRIDAY

>> ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’

>> ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’

>> ‘Loving’

>> ‘Bleed for This’

>> ‘The Edge of Seventeen’

Reviews on pages 28-32

OPENING WEDNESDAY

>> ‘Moana’

>> ‘Allied’

Reviews of these films will be published in Wednesday’s Detours section.

NOT REVIEWED

>> ‘I am Not Madame Bovary’

A married couple in China gets a fake divorce in order to get a government-controlled apartment, but when the husband takes up with another woman it sends his ex-wife into a battle with the country’s bureaucracy. (Not rated, 2:04)

NOTE: Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, many theaters have limited schedules on Wednesday and Thursday, with screenings of “Moana,” “Allied” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Check locations for details.

NOW PLAYING

‘The Accountant’ **1/2

Ben Affleck is a high-functioning math savant and loner who finds solace in ritual, patterns and finishing his tasks. He leads an unassuming life in Illinois as a strip mall accountant, but his unique gifts allow him a lucrative side hustle as a forensic accountant for “some of the scariest people on the planet.” That puts the Treasury Department hot on his trail, sending him on the run with an innocent co-worker (Anna Kendrick) and bringing out his facility at self-defense. Directed by Gavin O’Connor. (R, 2:08) At Ward Stadium

‘Arrival’ ****

Director Denis Villeneuve has cast aside almost every sci-fi cliche in “Arrival.” The film has Hollywood stars but strips them of glamour. It’s tightly calibrated but leaves things open to interpretation. Amy Adams portrays linguistics professor Louise Banks, who is recruited by the military to help establish a conversation with aliens who have landed on Earth. She teams with mathematician Ian Donnelly, played by Jeremy Renner. Adams and Renner are both excellent, acting throughout without visible makeup. The film itself addresses topics like the linguistic challenge of communicating with beings whose language is an abstract mystery, and how tenuous relations between countries increase the pressure to cut short the scientific problem-solving, handling all with urgency and detail. (PG-13, 1:56)

‘Almost Christmas’ **1/2

Besides a craving for Christmas cheer, the major reason to see “Almost Christmas” is Mo’Nique as the eccentric Aunt May of the Meyers clan, which has gathered for the holidays. Even her bloopers at the end of the film are worth the admission price. The only one who can go toe to toe with her is J.B. Smoove as Lonny, a philandering former basketball player married to the uptight Cheryl (Kimberly Elise), the doctor daughter of Walter (Danny Glover). Walter’s there with his four kids, just 10 months after the death of his wife; sibling rivalries and long-standing family feuds erupt, interspersed with comic set pieces that have become a staple of holiday movies. Despite wild tonal shifts and chaos, there’s something that rings true about the holiday season here. (PG, 1:52)

‘Doctor Strange’ ****

Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is the world’s most accomplished and egotistical surgeon when a car accident mangles his hands and ends his career. Traditional medicine to fix the problem falls short, leaving Strange searching for unorthodox ways of healing. Those efforts unlock mystical powers that turn the man of medicine into a force to protect Earth from supernatural assaults. The movie gets massively visual, but it never gets away from the central strength of Cumberbatch’s performance. Cumberbatch brings a seriousness to the role that helps bridge the skepticism gap created with any feature film based on a comic book. A well-balanced script by Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill skillfully develops the character, taking him through his transformation into costumed hero. (PG-13, 2:10)

‘Hacksaw Ridge’ ***

Mel Gibson’s filmmaking prowess is evident in this viscerally violent yet also often moving film. Starring Andrew Garfield as real-life soldier Desmond Doss, “Hacksaw Ridge” strikes an unusual balance. It’s a violent film whose hero espouses nonviolence. It’s a war film that will appeal to a religious audience. It’s a film that at moments can feel relentlessly corny — and a second later, painfully real. Doss experienced beatings, harassment and ultimately a court-martial over his beliefs before being thrust into the brutal battle at Hacksaw Ridge on Okinawa, and becomes a hero, saving countless men while others retreat. He is guided by his faith; at one point, he asks God out loud what is expected of him, and Garfield makes the scene feel honest. As he tells this story, Gibson also reveals the suddenness, brutality and unfathomable randomness of death in combat. At the end, it’s truly exciting to see footage of Doss, who died in 2006. (R, 2:18)

‘Inferno’ **

Tom Hanks returns as Robert Langdon, the Harvard professor of religious iconography and “symbology” from Dan Brown’s quasi-religious, art history-inspired thrillers. After he wakes up in a Florence hospital bed hung over and beset by visions of wrecked bodies and a mysterious woman on a fiery street, Langdon is whisked out of the hospital by Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), who happens to be a fan of his work. He’s got a “Faraday pointer” secreted in his clothing (a laser that projects an image of Dante’s Inferno). They decipher its code and link it to billionaire bioengineer Betrand Zobrist (Ben Foster), who plans to deal with global overpopulation by unleashing a weaponized virus. Aside from the Italian scenery, the best things going for “Inferno” are Hanks, whose Langdon has the right modicum of bafflement and brilliance, and Jones, who makes a fine counterpart. With an international cast. (PG-13, 2:01)

‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’ **1/2

Tom Cruise resurfaces as the ex-military cop who roams the land solving crimes, exacting justice, and calling the current commanding officer of his old unit, Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), to complain about it. When she’s arrested for espionage, he goes into full Reacher mode to free her and uncover a shady arms deal, while dealing with an eye-rolling teenager (Danika Yarosh) who might be his daughter. The Reacher character is simply a vehicle for Cruise’s star strengths — his physicality, his laconic, twitchy charm and his dogged pursuit of righteousness.

It’s the kind of action flick in which the simpler moral story sits on top of the twistier but essentially unimportant plot. Directed by Edward Zwick. (PG-13,1:58)

‘Moonlight’ ****

The extraordinary new film “Moonlight” exerts a tidal pull on your heartstrings, and it’s truly exceptional. It uses restraint, quiet honesty, fluid imagery and an observant, uncompromised way of imagining one outsider’s world so that it becomes our own. “Moonlight” traces the life of an African-American male — played in three segments, each with a different lead actor — growing up in Miami. Alex Hibbert portrays the boy, known as Little, who faces the dilemma of trusting a drug dealer (Mahershala Ali, stunningly good) who befriends the boy, acting as a father figure while serving up crack to his mother (Naomie Harris, riveting), a loving, hostile paradox of a wreck. In segment two, Little, now called Chiron (superb young actor Ashton Sanders), has a clandestine sexual encounter with his one steady childhood friend, Kevin, but is betrayed when Kevin joins in on a terrible beating with some bullies. In the third act, Chiron is called Black (Trevante Rhodes); he gets a call out of the blue from Kevin. Their extended, nearly real-time conversation, photographed by James Laxton in supple digital imagery, is reason enough to champion director Barry Jenkins’ film. Jenkins leaves us with a plaintive, perfect final shot of a man who has found a measure of peace at last. (R, 1:50)

‘Shut In’

No rating

This achingly inept thriller has Naomi Watts do what she can to sell a preposterous, laughable plot. Playing Mary, a widowed child psychologist, Watts looks fragile and perpetually worried. Her stepson Stephen (Charlie Heaton) is vegetative and paralyzed after a car accident. When one of her patients, a deaf lad (Jacob Tremblay), goes missing and bumps in the night disturb her sleep, Mary wonders: Is there a ghost or is she bonkers? Careening camera angles and squeaky sound effects don’t substitute for actual tension, and high-end cinematography doesn’t replace imagination. (PG-13, 1:31)

‘Trolls’**1/2

Justin Timberlake voices Branch, a misanthropic troll who just doesn’t fit in with his dancing, singing brethren. His foil, Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick), bursts with a weaponized sense of joy, forcing her subjects into an oppressive regime of glittery glee, replete with Top 40 hits. When they team up to save some of their troll friends plucked out of the rave by the evil Bergen Chef (Christine Baranski), they have to meet in the middle. The movie is a blank slate for the filmmakers to go wild, and there’s something about the neon-tinted, sugar-smacked highs of “Trolls” that is bizarrely infectious: When it’s weirder, it’s better. (PG, 1:32)

‘Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween’**1/2

Perry plays three characters in this film, which features ghosts, goblins, demented clowns, zombies and, most frightening of all, teenagers. At times, the acting feels too big and stagy for cinema, as if the actors are trying too hard to capture the energy of a live play on film. Some scenes are too long, and some of the writing feels cheesy. Nonetheless, with “Boo!” you’ll laugh hard. (PG-13, 1:43)

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

‘Girls und Panzer der Film’

11 a.m. Saturday, Ward Stadium and Consolidated Kapolei; 7 p.m. Monday, Ward Stadium and Consolidated Kapolei; 7 p.m. Tuesday, Ward Stadium; $15

Anime film from Japan has high school girls who compete in tank warfare returning to their floating island home, only to face more danger. (Not rated, 1:59)

UH at Fresno State

1:30 p.m. Saturday, Koko Marina, Consolidated Kapolei, Koolau Stadium; $12. College football.

Royal Shakespeare Company: ‘Cymbeline’

7 p.m. Tuesday, Kahala; $20

Shakespeare’s convoluted drama about Cymbeline, a vassal king of England, his stolen sons and his disloyal daughter, who’s trying to produce an heir to his throne. Meanwhile, his queen schemes against him in order to have her own son installed as British king.

ARTHOUSE

DORIS DUKE THEATRE

Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 S. Beretania St. (532-8768, honolulumuseum.org); $10, $8 members

China/Hong Kong/ Taiwan Cinema

Runs through Nov. 29.

>> ‘The Bodyguard’

1 p.m. today

Director Sammo Hung also stars in this film about a retired Central Security Bureau officer who must rely on his skills from the past as Russian gangsters endanger a little girl. In Cantonese, Mandarin and Russian with English subtitles. (2016, China/Hong Kong, 1:39)

>> ‘Ten Years’

4 p.m. Sunday and 1 p.m. Tuesday

Directors share their futuristic dystopian views of Hong Kong in the year 2025 with this group of short films (“Extras,” “Season of the End,” “Dialect,” “Self-immolator” and “Local Egg”), banned in China but a proven box-office hit in Hong Kong. In Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles. (2015, Hong Kong, 1:44)

>> ‘The Monkey King 2’

1 p.m. Thursday

A monk accidentally frees the long-imprisoned Monkey King, who is then tasked to protect the monk as he sets out to collect Buddhist scriptures from India. In Mandarin with English subtitles. (2016, Hong Kong/China, 1:59)

2016 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour

7:30 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday, and 1 p.m. Wednesday

>> ‘Affections’

Comedy about a young woman seeking intimacy in strange places. Written and directed by Bridey Elliott. (0:16)

>> ‘Bacon & God’s Wrath’

A 90-year-old woman reflects on her life experiences as she first tastes bacon. Short Film Jury Award for Nonfiction. (Canada, 0:09)

>> ‘Edmond’

A man contemplates his options and desires. Written and directed by Nina Gantz. Short Film Jury Award for Animation. (U.K., 0:09)

>> ‘Her Friend Adam’

A boyfriend’s jealous tendencies lead to romantic doom. Short Film Special Jury Award for Outstanding Performance. (Canada, 0:17)

>> ‘Jungle’

Two Senegalese vendors make a hard-fought living on the streets of New York. (0:13)

>> ‘The Grandfather Drum’

An elder named Naamowin builds a healing drum in an effort to save his grandson and his people. Written and directed by Michelle Derosier. (Canada, 0:13)

>> ‘The Procedure’

A man is forced to participate in a strange experiment. Written and directed by Calvin Lee Reeder. Short Film Jury Award for U.S. Fiction. (0:04)

>> ‘Thunder Road’

An officer’s eulogy at his beloved mother’s funeral, in one take. Short Film Grand Jury Prize. (0:13)

Family Film Sunday

>> ‘Phantom Boy’

11:10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday, free

Leo is hit with a mysterious illness that allows him to leave his body and explore the city as a phantom. Along with an injured cop he befriends in the hospital, they attempt to capture a gangster who gains control of the city’s power supply. (2015, France/Belgium, 1:24)

MOVIE MUSEUM

3566 Harding Ave. (735-8771); $5, $4 members

‘Advance Patrol’ (‘Tekichu odan sanbyaku-ri’)

2:30, 6 and 7:15 p.m. today

A year into the Russo-Japanese War, the Japanese send six men into enemy territory to gather intel for a final showdown. For ages 12 and older. In Japanese with English subtitles. (1957, Japan, 1:26)

‘Four Days of Snow and Blood’ (‘226’)

4 and 8:45 p.m. today; 1:30, 5 and 8:30 p.m. Monday

In 1936, a radical faction of the Japanese military assassinates Cabinet ministers and petitions the emperor to create a new Japan. For ages 15 and older. In Japanese with English subtitles. (1989, Japan, 1:53)

‘Mr. Church’

3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday

A 10-year-old girl wakes to find a stranger cooking breakfast in the kitchen, who turns out to have been hired by her mother’s deceased lover. She intends to despise him and his food — until she gets a taste of it. With Eddie Murphy and Britt Robertson. Rated PG-13. (2016, 1:44)

‘Finding Dory’

3:30, 5:15, 7 and 8:45 p.m. Sunday

In this sequel to “Finding Nemo,” Dory, the forgetful blue tang, sets out on an adventure to find her parents and is encouraged by her clownfish pal Nemo and his dad, Marlin. With voices by Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy. Rated PG. (2016, 1:37)

‘Innocent Sorcerers’ (‘Niewinni czarodzieje’)

Noon, 3:30 and 7 p.m. Monday

A young sports doctor bored with women is asked by his buddy to lure a girl away from her date. He begrudgingly complies, but once they begin talking the games begin. For ages 12 and older. In Polish with English subtitles. (1960, Poland, 1:27)

‘Latcho Drom’

4:45, 6:45 and 8:45 p.m. Thursday

Documentary explores the life of the Gypsy people, who cherish music and dance but often suffer poverty and persecution. For ages 12 and older. In multiple languages with subtitles. (1993, France, 1:43)

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