comscore Movies: ‘Rogue One,’ ‘La La Land’ ‘Assassin’s Creed’ | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Movies Calendar | TGIF

Movies: ‘Rogue One,’ ‘La La Land’ ‘Assassin’s Creed’

  • 20TH CENTURY FOX

    Michael Fassbender stars in “Assassin’s Creed,” based on a popular video game series.

OPENING FRIDAY

“La La Land”

“Collateral Beauty”

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

OPENING WEDNESDAY

“Assassin’s Creed”

Review unavailable.

Dystopian action movie about a man who discovers he is a descendant of a secret assassins’ society. (PG-13, 1:55)

“Passengers”

Review unavailable.

A spacecraft transporting people to a colony in deep space has a malfunction in its sleep chambers, waking up two passengers 90 years early. (PG-13, 1:56)

“Sing”

Review unavailable.

Animated film about a koala who launches an animals’ singing competition to save a historic theater. Featuring voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth McFarlane, Scarlett Johansson. (PG, 1:50)

NOW PLAYING

“Allied” ***

Loosely based on real events, “Allied” has 1940s spies Max and Marianne (Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, generating heat) first on a mission in Casablanca, then assuming a normal married life in London. When British intelligence informs Max that Marianne is suspected of being a German double agent, he sets out to prove her innocent. (R, 2:04)

“Arrival” ****

Amy Adams portrays linguistics professor Louise Banks, recruited by the military to establish a conversation with aliens who have landed on Earth. She teams with mathematician Ian Donnelly, played by Jeremy Renner. Both are excellent throughout, while addressing topics such as the challenge of communicating with beings whose language is a mystery, and the way international politics can create pressure to cut short scientific problem-solving. (PG-13, 1:56)

“Doctor Strange” ****

Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is the world’s most accomplished and egotistical surgeon when an 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. (PG-13, 2:10)

“The Eagle Huntress” ***

The story of 13-year-old Mongolian girl Aisholpan, who becomes the first girl to join her father’s long line of eagle hunters in a harsh and beautiful landscape, is a thrilling fable of indomitability and father-daughter companionship, crafted to be accessible, with subtitled dialogue supplemented by gently didactic voice-over narration, read by the British actress Daisy Ridley (Rey of “Star Wars”). Aisholpan has the power to inspire girls (and not only girls) everywhere, and Otto Bell’s documentary may turn her into a pop-culture heroine. (G, 1:27) Kahala

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” ***

Protagonist Newt Scamander, as played by Eddie Redmayne, is amiable, sheepish and surprisingly capable — as if he’s trying to channel Harry, Ron and Hermione from the “Harry Potter” series all at the same time. His allies are a trio of adults: comic relief Jacob (Dan Fogler), psychic Queenie (Alison Sudol) and overachieving witch Porpentia (Katherine Waterston). Scamander is sent to wrangle magical beasts, who are being spotted by the paranoid No-Maj crowd (American for “muggle,” or “humans with no special powers”). The plot is convoluted, but the movie feels like cramming for an exam from the coolest textbook, guided by the most engaging professor at the school. (PG-13, 2:13)

“Hacksaw Ridge” ***

Starring Andrew Garfield as real-life soldier Desmond Doss, Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” strikes an unusual balance. It’s a violent film whose hero espouses nonviolence, and a war film that will appeal to a religious audience. 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. (R, 2:18)

“Manchester by the Sea” ****

Dramatist-turned-filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan’s screenplay is character-driven, focusing on people the world normally doesn’t give much scrutiny to. Casey Affleck portrays a gruff Lee, who’s OK eking by on minimum wage as a custodian at a Boston condo complex. A family emergency concerning his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) draws Lee back to his hometown, gradually unearthing a calamity in his own life. Joe’s son Patrick (Lucas Hedges), now a sarcastic high-schooler, is left in uncle Lee’s unwilling care, but Lee can’t stand remaining in Manchester, and Patrick refuses to leave his school, hockey team, rock band and two girlfriends. That strained relationship teaches both of them that amid harrowing disasters, life goes on. (R, 2:17)

“Mifune: The Last Samurai” ***1/2

Legendary Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune is the subject of this thoughtful documentary. Directed by Oscar-winner Steven Okazaki, “Mifune” will enlighten the actor’s numerous fans and serve as an introduction to those unfamiliar with his gifts and his influence, which were huge. Interviews with authorities, including Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, bring Mifune to life. The best stuff comes from Mifune’s Japanese collaborators, like sword-fighting choreographer Kanzo Uni, and Teruyo Nogami, script supervisor for the great director Akira Kurosawa, who directed Mifune in 16 films. (“Mifune” reveals that Kurosawa, who could be a fierce taskmaster, almost never gave Mifune acting instructions.) The two men’s sons, Shiro Mifune and Hisao Kurosawa, also provide vivid memories, and while Mifune was an intensely masculine presence, it is his female co-stars who prove to be the documentary’s secret weapon. (Not rated, 1:20, Kahala 8 theaters)

“Moana” ***

Those fretting over the depiction of Polynesian cultures in “Moana” shouldn’t trouble themselves. The movie itself is not realistic. It’s fantasy, magical, with a cave of magic canoes and an anthropomorphic ocean. Kamehameha Schools student Auli‘i Cravalho does a wonderful job as the voice of Moana, bringing depth and heart to the character. Moana feels the ocean is calling to her, but her father, Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison), forbids her to set sail. Suddenly, her island has no fish, and coconuts become infected with a blight, so Moana jumps on a canoe and sets sail. Her quest includes finding the powerful Maui (Dwayne Johnson), returning a green stone heart to a creation goddess, learning wayfinding and stopping the blight. Maui, meanwhile, needs to get his magic fis**ook back, but what he really wants is for mortals to admire him for his wondrous feats. (PG, 1:53)

“Miss Sloane” ***

Jessica Chastain stars as a ruthlessly competitive and powerful lobbyist, reeling off machine-gun rounds of dialogue as she preaches the gospel of whatever client is paying the bills. Yet she cackles in the face of a high-powered gun rights advocate when he suggests she lead a campaign to bring more women to his side of the gun debate, and moves from her conservative lobbying firm to a liberal boutique agency representing the opposing team. There’s a nagging thought that something more might be motivating her political assault on guns. The debate about gun control is startlingly current, and the film stares directly down the barrel of the controversy as it dissects how politics as usual has slid into a swamp of special interests and bribes. The production values, smooth direction and Chastain’s showstopping performance elevate “Miss Sloane” above typical genre fare. It lands a one-two punch in managing to be both salacious and smart. (R, 2:12)

“Nocturnal Animals” ***

Adapter-director Tom Ford sets up three distinct narratives, interweaving the life of unhappy art dealer Susan (Amy Adams) in the present with grad-school flashbacks depicting her time with a promising, dreamy novelist (Jake Gyllenhaal). Then there’s his new novel, which plays out in “Nocturnal Animals” as a violent, vindictive movie within a movie. Gyllenhaal and Isla Fisher are the city couple, traveling by car with their teenage daughter (Ellie Bamber) one dark West Texas night. They’re terrorized by a group of thugs led by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Rape, murder and retribution all get their due in this nightmare yarn, which has the primary benefit of giving Michael Shannon, in one of his very best performances, the role of a laconic police detective who, as he says, “looks into things around here.” But where is “here,” exactly? Ford’s critique of this world is dicey; as a director, he’s a bit of a hypocrite, damning the tragic glamour even as he’s drooling over it. (R, 1:57)

“Office Christmas Party” **1/2

When it comes to comedy, a filmmaker can do worse than to gather the brightest, funniest stars, situate them in an odd situation — an office Christmas party that doubles as a business transaction — and let ’em rip. That’s what happens in “Office Christmas Party,” the delightfully debauched holiday desecration we need this year. Fabulous weirdos Kate McKinnon and T.J. Miller are in lead roles, supported by some of comedy’s best team players in Vanessa Bayer, Rob Corddry, Randall Park, Sam Richardson and Jillian Bell. Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston reprise their chemistry from the “Horrible Bosses” movies and the inimitable Courtney B. Vance makes a memorable appearance. If anything falters, it’s the plot, which goes deep into a tortured tech story, making a sad comment on our culture. Otherwise, the film delights in a grotesque carnival of the worst behavior, but still has its heart firmly in the right place. (R, 1:45)

“Sword Play”

Not reviewed

Chinese martial arts film about a swordsman who unsuccessfully tries to withdraw from his life of violence. (Not rated, 1:48)

“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. Ends Sunday. (PG, 1:32)

“The Super Parental Guardians”

Not reviewed

Filipino action-comedy about two unlikely parents who embark on an adventure with their new children. (Not rated, 1:54)

“The Unmarried Wife”

Not reviewed

Filipino film follows the story of Anne (Angelica Panganiban), who finds that her husband, Geoff (Dingdong Dantes), cheated and finds solace with Bryan (Paulo Avelino). (Not rated, 2:10)

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

Bolshoi Ballet: “The Nutcracker”

12:55 Sunday, Dole Cannery, $15

Famous Russian ballet troupe performs beloved Christmas ballet. (2:15)

The Metropolitan Opera: “L’Amour de Loin”

6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dole Cannery, $19-$25.

Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho and librettist Amin Maalouf developed this opera about a love-struck knight seeking the object of his desire across the sea. First staged by the Met in 2002. (Not rated, 3:00)

ARTHOUSE

DORIS DUKE THEATRE

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

“The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch”

1 p.m. today and Saturday

Director David Bickerstaff explores the exhibition “Jheronimus Bosch: Visions of Genius” in the Het Noordbrabants Museum in the Netherlands, which brought most of Bosch’s paintings and drawings together for the first time to his hometown and attracted nearly half a million art lovers from all over the world. (2016, U.K./Netherlands, 1:30)

Family Film Sunday: NYICFF Best of the Fest 2

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

Collection of shorts from the New York International Children’s Film Festival. Films include “One Hell of a Plan,” “Minoule,” “By the Name of Boston,” “Two Left Feet,” “My Grandfather Was a Cherry Tree,” “Two Friends,” “The Man, the Boy and the Donkey,” “Air-Mail,” “Changeover,” “Accidents, Blunders, and Calamities,” “Slaves of the Rave,” “Stems” and “Lilou.”

MOVIE MUSEUM

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

“Postman to Heaven”

11:15 a.m. and 3 and 6:45 p.m. today

Outside of the city in a grassy field is a mailbox from which, based on rumor, you can send a letter to heaven. One day a woman sending an angry letter to her dead lover approaches the “postman,” who hires her to help him mend the broken hearts of the senders. For ages 12 and older. In Korean with English subtitles. (2009, South Korea/Japan, 1:47)

“Yoyo”

1:15, 5 and 8:45 p.m. today

A bored millionaire runs off to find the love of his life while joining the circus and utilizing his skills as a magician, mime and clown to create hilarious gags. For all ages. In French with English subtitles. (1965, France, 1:38)

“Bridget Jones’s Baby”

11:30 a.m. and 1:45, 4, 6:15 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday

In this third installment of the “Bridget Jones” saga, Bridget returns as a TV producer who’s getting over her breakup with Mark. After a nightmare evening with cutie Jack and a nostalgic fling with Mark a couple of days later, she learns she’s pregnant, but who’s the father? With Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey and Emma Thompson. Rated R. (2016, Ireland/U.K./France/U.S., 2:03)

“Southside With You”

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

Set in the summer of 1989, an ambitious young lawyer named Michelle is asked by a work associate, Barack, to join him at a community meeting and also suggests grabbing a bite to eat and looking at some artwork. She adamantly tells him “it’s not a date,” and the rest is history. Rated PG-13. (2016, 1:24)

“The Manzanar Fishing Club”

1:30, 4:30, 6 and 9 p.m. Sunday

Cory Shiozaki’s documentary, filled with archival films, photos and interviews, shares the history of the Japanese-American internment in California following the Pearl Harbor attack as told from the perspective of the internees in Manzanar, who asserted their rights through fishing. For all ages. (2012, 1:14)

“Little Men”

11 a.m. and 2:15, 5:30 and 8:45 p.m. Monday

After his grandfather dies, 13-year-old Jake moves from Manhattan and into his grandfather’s old building in Brooklyn, where his parents become landlords to the mother of his new bestie, Tony. When a dispute erupts, it jeopardizes the boys’ friendship. Rated PG. (2016, U.S./Greece, 1:25)

“Little Nothings” (“Riens du tout”)

12:30, 3:45 and 7 p.m. Monday

An ambitious young CEO is tasked with rescuing a Paris department store from bankruptcy. In doing so, the U.S.-educated Lepetit pushes his personnel to apply the mentality of “the customer is always right.” For ages 12 and older. In French with English subtitles. (1992, France, 1:33)

“A Small Southern Enterprise”

11:15 a.m. and 3 and 6:45 p.m. Thursday

After deciding to leave the priesthood, 50-year-old Constantino returns home to break the news to his mother, who already is upset at her scandalous daughter. Mama banishes Constantino to the family’s abandoned lighthouse, and it becomes a refuge for lovable sinners. For ages 15 and older. In Italian with English subtitles. (2013, Italy, 1:43)

“Le Jouet” (“The Toy”)

1:15, 5 and 8:45 p.m. Thursday

Francois is a journalist newly hired by a newspaper owned by wealthy industrialist Pierre. While touring a department store also owned by Pierre, Francois encounters Pierre’s spoiled son, who wants to take the journalist home as his “toy.” For ages 12 and older. In French with English subtitles. (1976, France, 1:30)

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