Film clips / Feb. 2-8

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CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (R)

Set in the Italian summer of 1983, this lushly filmed drama — based on the novel by Andre Aciman and scripted by James Ivory — is about an intelligent, precocious young man named Elio (Timothee Chalamet) living in a splendorous northern Italian villa with his academic parents (Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar), who is drawn intractably to a 25-year-old graduate student named Oliver (Armie Hammer), who has come to stay with them. An aesthetic journey that pays off in a stunning third act when when the endless summer quickens to light speed and is gone in a flash. (Bahr, The Associated Press — 1/29). 2 hours, 12 minutes. TC

DARKEST HOUR (PG-13)


Director Joe Wright's new film deals with Winston Churchill's first weeks as head of the British government in the late spring of 1940 with German forces invading Belgium and France, pushing most of the British army onto a beach in the French coastal town of Dunkirk. A serviceable enough historical drama, "Darkest Hour," like its companion film, "Dunkirk," falls back on an idealized notion of the English character that feels, in present circumstances, less nostalgic than downright reactionary, and as empty as those ubiquitous "Keep Calm and Carry On" internet memes. Rather than invite the audience to think about the difficulties of democratic governance at a time of peril, the filmmakers promote passivity and hero-worship, offering not so much a Great Man Theory as a great man fetish. With Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James. (Scott, New York Times — 12/28). BM / NAM

COCO (PG)

In preparation for the Day of the Dead holiday, a 12-year-old named Miguel (newcomer Anthony Gonzalez), with the heart of a musician born into a family of shoemakers who've banned music for generations, defiantly takes off in pursuit of music, hoping to compete in a neighborhood showcase that would confirm his talents. But his attempts to procure a guitar accidentally lead him across the golden bridge into the realm of the dead where he uncovers a mystery, connects with a quirky guy named Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), and meets generations of relatives he's known only through old photos. Like the multicolored, flying tiger-dragon that swoops through Miguel's adventure into the land of spirits, Disney-Pixar's "Coco" is a thrilling and joyous vision, a celebration of life and the loving tradition of the Day of the Dead. (Cohen, The Associated Press — 11/22). 1 hour, 49 minutes. BM

HOSTILES (R)

Christian Bale leads a formidable ensemble cast as a U.S. Cavalry Officer, Captain Joseph J. Blocker, who is ordered to lead an aging Cheyenne chief, Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi), and his family from a base in New Mexico to their homelands in Montana. Having had encounters with this man before, Blocker has no interest in embarking on this endeavor, convinced that Yellow Hawk could only be a safe and trustworthy companion dead. But this choice isn't up to him and he's going to have to go through with it whether he likes it or not —so they assemble a crew (including Jonathan Majors, Jesse Plemons and Timothee Chalamet) and head off on the trail. An unforgivingly violent and spare revisionist Western set in 1892 that explores the traumas of American westward expansion. Despite its posture of brutal amorality, "Hostiles" has a goodness at the core, of understanding and empathy. (Bahr, The Associated Press — 1/31). 2 hours, 15 minutes. BM / NAM

I, TONYA (R)

An outrageously entertaining reappraisal of the Olympic figure skater who, in 1994, was involved in a scheme to injure her main rival, Nancy Kerrigan. With Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney. (Coyle, The Associated Press — 1/15). 2 hours, 1 minute. BC / TC / TM

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (PG-13)

More than two decades after Robin Williams conquered the pesky board game, "Jumanji" has been resurrected with more and glossier stars, a comedy director and a modern twist. The result is a very sweet, and generally entertaining, body swap lark with some nice messages about being, and believing in, yourself. With Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Nick Jonas, Jack Black, Karen Gillan. (Bahr, The Associated Press — 12/20). 1 hour, 59 minutes. BC / BM / NAM

LADY BIRD (R)

An outspoken teen must navigate a loving but turbulent relationship with her strong-willed mother over the course of an eventful and poignant senior year of high school. With Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf. 1 hour, 34 minutes. BM / TC

MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE (PG-13)


Picking up right where its predecessor lweft off, ":Maze Runner; The Death Cure" finds Thomas leading some escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City. For too long, "The Death Cure" stays in one place; it's best when it's on the move. 2 hours, 22 minutes. (Coyle, The Associated Press — 1/31). BC / BM / NAM

PADDINGTON 2 (PG)

When a thief steals a prized pop-up book in an antique shop — the perfect present for his beloved aunt's 100th birthday — Paddington sets off on a quest to unmask the culprit before Aunt Lucy's big celebration. That rare creation that somehow improves on its already charming predecessor. A cheerful, sweet movie, where there is no problem that a lovingly made marmalade sandwich won't fix. With the voices of Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Sally Hawkins, Imelda Staunton, Hugh Bonneville, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters. (Bahr, The Associated Press — 1/16). 1 hour, 43 minutes. NAM

PHANTOM THREAD (R)

Writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson spins the tale of an obsessive fashion designer — played by the great Daniel Day-Lewis, in what may be his final film performance, who is perhaps the only working actor perfect and exacting enough to play someone so perfect and exacting — and his muse (Vicky Krieps). Giving one of the most beautifully subtle performances of the year, Krieps more than holds her own against Day-Lewis, and in some cases even goes so far as to outshine him — a fitting parallel to her character. Lesley Manville, too, is superb as Cyril — a Mrs. Danvers-type, without the sinister angle. Like all of Anderson's efforts, "Phantom Thread" is beautiful and intriguing, but it's also a film that is not unlike its central character: easy to respect and admire, and nearly impossible to fully love. (Bahr, The Associated Press — 1/22). 2 hours, 10 minutes. BC / IC / TC / TM

THE COMMUTER (PG-13)

A financially strapped ex-cop insurance salesman is drawn into a web of intrigue, terror and duplicity on the train he rides every day to and from work in New York. It's a hostage crisis tick-tock that speeds straight ahead. The stylized, sober genre mechanics are efficient, even if a rush-hour's worth of implausibility eventually wrecks the thrill. With Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson. (Coyle, The Associated Press — 1/15). 1 hour, 45 minutes. NAM

THE FINAL YEAR

An insiders' account of the inner workings President Barack Obama's foreign policy team as they prepare to leave power after eight years. 1 hour, 29 minutes. LC

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (PG)


With ideally cast Hugh Jackman in the leading role, this original musical achieves an aggressively synthetic style through kinetic editing and tidy underdog stories but none of the true joy of pulling a fast one. It's a standard issue holiday biopic, one that tells a story about a populist entertainer hungry for high-brow respect, the joys of show biz and the price of ambition. An amusement park version of P.T. Barnum is fine, as far as that goes, but if you are going to aim for family-friendly fun, you need to get the fun part right. With Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya. (Zinoman, New York Times — 12/21). 1 hour, 45 minutes. BM

THE POST (PG-13)

With help from editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper — The Washington Post — races to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spans three decades and four U.S. presidents. 1 hour, 55 minutes. BC / BM / CT / NAM / TC / TM

THE SHAPE OF WATER (R)


With shades of "Beauty and the Beast," ''The Shape of Water" is about a love between a mute cleaning lady, Eliza (Sally Hawkins), and a merman (Doug Jones) who has been captured from the Amazon and hauled back to 1962 Baltimore by a cattle prod-wielding military man named Stickland (Michael Shannon). At a secret government laboratory where Eliza and her talkative friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer) mop up blood, the amphibious man is studied and tortured but mostly kept chained in a murky pool so he can't be taken by the Russians. A warm, generous spirit of affection and insurrection washes over director Guillermo del Toro's lushly composed, vividly realized Cold War-era fairy tale that submerges you in the realm of the director's Technicolor imagination, only to swell into a watery allegory for today. It is, one suspects, the fairy tale del Toro was born to make. With Richard Jenkins. (Coyle, The Associated Press — 12/27). 2 hours, 3 minutes. BC / BM / TC / TM

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (R).

After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), the town's revered chief of police. 1 hour, 55 minutes. BM / TM

12 STRONG (R)

Stirring and solid, "12 Strong" spotlights a riveting story in our recent history that many Americans might not know about a small U.S. Special Forces unit that, in the days and months following the Sept. 11 attacks, led an offensive against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan largely on horseback. A very solid movie with an engaging story, script and cast led by Chris Hemsworth. (Bahr, The Associated Press — 1/22 ). 2 hours, 10 minutes. BM

WINCHESTER (PG-13)

Helen Mirren stars as firearms heiress Sarah Winchester who, after the sudden death of her family, becomes convinced that she's haunted by the souls of those killed by guns. She then decides to build an enormous mansion that's designed to keep the evil spirits at bay. 1 hour, 39 minutes. BM



Legend

The theaters at which the movies listed in Film Clips are playing are:

BC: Beacon Cinema (57 North St.,Pittsfield)

BM: Berkshire Mall 10 (Route 8, Lanesborough)

CT: Crandell Theatre (48 Main St., Chatham, N.Y.)

IC: Images Cinema (50 Spring St.,Williamstown)

LC: Little Cinema (Berkshire Museum, 39 South St., Pittsfield)

NAM: North Adams Movieplex 8 (80 Main St., North Adams)

TC: Triplex Cinema (70 Railroad St., Great Barrington)

TM: The Moviehouse, 48 Main St., Millerton, N.Y.


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