Film clips / Jan. 1-7


Alvin and the Chipmunks — The Road Chip (PG): The Chipmunks embark on a cross-country adventure in an attempt to break up their music manager's wedding plans. Jason Lee, Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Bella Thorne. BC / BM / NAM / TC

Concussion (PG-13): On the basis of his autopsy of former Pittsburgh Steelers' star and NFL Hall of Famer Mike Webster, a naturalized forensic pathologist from Nigeria discovers a hitherto unknown neurological deterioration similar to Alzheimer's disease and embarks on a mission to raise public awareness about the dangers of football-related head trauma. The film may suffer from an overly simplistic, sometimes sermonizing script that could have used some sharp editing. But it's to be admired for bringing a truly important issue to the screen. With Will Smith. • (Noveck, The Associated Press — Dec.26). 2 hours 3 minutes. BM / NAM

Creed (PG-13): Rocky Balboa agrees to come out of retirement to mentor and train the son of his former arch rival, the late boxing champion Apollo Creed. Starring the fairly irresistible team of Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, this seventh film in the "Rocky" franchise shows it belongs in the ring with its predecessors from the very first moment. With a deftly crafted blend of smarts and corn, it earns our trust; going right to the edge with heartstring-tugging but not going over. (Noveck, The Associated Press — Nov. 28). 2 hours 12 minutes. NAM

Daddy's Home (PG): A kindhearted business executive trying to be the best stepfather to his wife's two daughters unexpectedly finds himself in a steadily escalating competition for their affection when his wife's ex-husband breezes back into town. If you've seen a preview — or even a poster — you know how this goes. With Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini. •(Cohen, The Associated Press — Dec. 29). 1 hour 36 minutes. BM / NAM

Jafar Panahi's Taxi (NR): Over the course of a single day, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi drives around Teheran in a yellow taxi picking up a variety of passengers whom he gets to talk about their views of life in their native country. This is a movie that you will admire both for its courage and creativity. (Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle — Dec. 31) 1 hour 22 minutes. LC

Joy (PG-13): Based on the true story of a woman — creator of Miracle Mop — who overcame generations of obstacles and challenges to become a successful businesswoman and matriarch in her own right. As the title character, Jennifer Lawrence is in every frame of director David O. Russell's new film, shining even among a star-studded cast with a performance that brings continuity to the writer-director's ambitious but flawed story about the dogged persistence of a determined entrepreneur. With Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Isabella Rossellini, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen. (Cohen, The Associated Press — Dec. 26). 2 hours 4 minutes. BC / BM / IC

Point Break (PG-13): In this remake of the 1991 cult hit, a young FBi agent infiltrates a gang of extreme athletes who execute dare-devil thefts of money and jewels which they then give away to the less fortunate. As he becomes more involved, the agent begins to experience the sheer rush of their exploits. Nowhere does director Ericson Core's film approach the action movie chops or psychological smarts of Bigelow's original or, truth be told, benefit from actors displaying the same charms as her stars. It's the globetrotting feats that make the grade with set pieces that feel more like appreciations of extreme sports than action movie sequences. (Rapold, New York Times — Dec. 31). 1 hour 53 minutes. BM / NAM

Sisters (R): Faced with having one weekend to clean out the junk from their old bedroom in the family home when they learn it has been placed on the market, two sisters decide to throw a big bash to recapture the lost youth of their high school days. A brazenly crude farce about female arrested development that doesn't so much seek to rise above its ludicrous absurdity as much as ride it out. It's a bumpy ride. With Tina Fey, Amy Poehler. (Coyle, The Associated Press — Dec. 19). 1 hour 58 minutes. BC / BM / NAM

Star Wars — The Force Awakens (PG-13): The saga reboots with the first in a new sequel trilogy that picks up 30 years after "Return of the Jedi" (1983) leaves off. The big news — spoiler alert! — is that it's good. Despite the prerelease hype, it won't save the world, not even Hollywood, but it seamlessly balances cozy favorites and new kinetic wows along with some of the niceties that went missing as the series grew into a phenomenon, most crucially a scale and a sensibility that is rooted in the human. Director J.J. Abrams may not have the makings of a god or empire builder like George Lucas but he turns out to be what this stagnant franchise needs — a "Star Wars" superfan and pop culture savant. (Dargis, New York Times — Dec. 18). 2 hours 15 minutes. BC / BM/ CT / NAM / TC

The Big Short (R): Seeing what insiders don't about the impending collapse of the global market, four outsiders decide to take a bold risk. An enjoyable, frightful, passionate rant of a movie; a rollicking, outrage-filled odyssey through the financial collapse of 2008. With Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt. 2 hours 10 minutes. BC / TC

The Danish Girl (R): Drama based on the novel by David Ebershoff about Danish portrait artist Einar Wegener who, in the mid-1920s, with the loving support of his wife, undergoes one of the first sex reassignment surgeries. With Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander. TC

The Good Dinosaur (PG): Separated from his parents by a storm that leaves him bruised and battered, a young dinosaur named Arlo teams up with Neanderthal boy named Spot for an epic journey to reunite Arlo with his family. A trippy, tripped up, wayward tale uncertain of its steps. • (Coyle, The Associated Press — Nov. 30). 1 hour 32 minutes. BM / NAM

The Hateful Eight (R): Eight travelers — two bounty hunters, one captured fugitive, a sheriff and four strangers — find themselves trapped by a blizzard at a stagecoach stop at a mountain pass in this new epic from Quentin Tarantino. With Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen. BC / BM / NAM


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

BC: Beacon Cinema (Pittsfield)

BM: Berkshire Mall Cinema 10 (Lanesborough)

CT: Crandell Theatre (Chatham, N.Y.)

IC: Images Cinema (Williamstown)

LC: Little Cinema (Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield)

NAM: North Adams Movieplex 8

TC: Triplex Cinema (Great Barrington)


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