Here's what's playing — JAN. 1-7 — at movie theaters and on virtual cinemas in the Berkshires and environs. Where films have been reviewed, the capsules include the name of film critic and the day the full review was posted on All reviews are by Associated Press critics.


On January 23rd, 2020, China locked down Wuhan, a city of 11 million, to combat the emerging COVID-19 outbreak. Set deep inside the frontlines of the crisis, this documentary tells indelible human stories at the center of this pandemic—from a woman begging in vain to bid a final farewell to her father, a grandpa with dementia searching for his way home, a couple anxious to meet their newborn, to a nurse determined to return personal items to families of the deceased. These raw and intimate stories bear witness to the death and rebirth of a city under a 76-day lockdown, and to the human resilience that persists in times of profound tragedy. 1:33. VC


The audacious murder of the brother of North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jon Un in a crowded Malaysian airport sparked a worldwide media frenzy. At the center of the investigation are two young women who are either cold-blooded killers or unwitting pawns in a political assassination. 1:54. VC


Filmed over the course of four years, award-winning director Phil Grabsky follows leading concert pianist Leif Ove Andsnes as he travels the world playing sell-out concerts with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in an attempt to understand and interpret one of the greatest sets of piano works for piano ever written: Beethoven's five piano concertos. Considered one of the top pianists of the age, Leif Ove Andsnes offers a rare insight into the world of a world-class pianist but, more importantly, against the backdrop of Leif Ove and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra playing these five pieces, the film attempts to peel back the many myths of Beethoven's life to explore how this prodigious talent from Bonn became one of the world's greatest composers by the time he wrote the fifth concerto. 1:32. VC


Exhibition on Screen leads a journey through the life of artist Frida Kahlo, a true icon, discovering her art, and uncovering the truth behind her often turbulent life. Making use of the latest technology to deliver previously unimaginable quality, we take an in-depth look at key works throughout her career. Using letters Kahlo wrote to guide us, this definitive film reveals her deepest emotions and unlocks the secrets and symbolism contained within her art. Exhibition on Screen’s trademark combination of interviews, commentary and a detailed exploration of her art delivers a treasure trove of colour and a feast of vibrancy. This personal and intimate film offers privileged access to her works, and highlights the source of her feverish creativity, her resilience, and her unmatched lust for life, politics, men and women. 1 hour, 30 minutes. IO / VC


Based on James Baldwin's unfinished book, this visual essay explores racism through the stories of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. With Samuel L. Jackson, Joey Starr. 1 hour, 33 minutes. TC


Directed by Jennifer Trainer, a former journalist and one of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art's original builders, and narrated by Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, this documentary tells the story of an unconventional museum, the small town of North Adams it calls home, and the great risk, hope, and power of art to transform a desolate post-industrial city. Today, Mass MoCA is the largest museum for contemporary art in the world — but just three decades ago, its vast brick buildings were the abandoned relics of a shuttered factory. This documentary tells how such a wildly improbable transformation came to be. “Museum Town” also looks at the artistic process itself—not only how museums work but how artists create, tracking celebrated artist Nick Cave as he builds the monumental installation “Until,” a reflection on gun violence, race, and the American Dream. In addition to Nick Cave, the documentary features appearances by artists James Turrell, Laurie Anderson and David Byrne, with original music and soundtrack by John Stirratt of Wilco, featuring songs by Talking Heads, Sharon Jones, Big Thief, Wilco, Moses Sumney among others. 1:16. IO / VC


When Lt. Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and her elite unit are transported through a portal from our world to a new world, they are in for the shock of their lives. In her desperate attempt to get home, the brave lieutenant encounters a mysterious hunter (Tony Jaa), whose unique skills have allowed him to survive in this hostile land. Faced with relentless and terrifying attacks from the monsters, the warriors team up to fight back and find a way home. Based on the global video game series phenomenon Monster Hunter. With T.I., Ron Perlman, Diego Boneta. 1:39. NAM


Secretly filmed in Iran by women and men who risked arrest to make this immersive documentary portrait of the world’s most honored human rights activist and political prisoner, attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, and of Iran’s remarkably resilient women’s rights movement. In the courts and on the streets, Nasrin has long fought for the rights of women, children, religious minorities, journalists and artists, and those facing the death penalty. In the midst of filming, Nasrin was arrested in June 2018 for representing women who were protesting Iran’s mandatory hijab law. She was sentenced to 38 years in prison, plus 148 lashes. Featuring acclaimed filmmaker Jafar Panahi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, and journalist Ann Curry. Narrated by Academy Award-winner Olivia Colman. 1:32. VC


Tom Hanks and “Captain Phillips” director Paul Greengrass team up again, this time they’ve ditched the open water for an ambitious adventure firmly on land, based on the novel by Paulette Jiles. It's a visually stunning film with a soulful message about forgiveness and moving past trauma. Hanks plays Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a gentle 1870 Texan leading a quiet and itinerant life. Kidd is scarred — literally — by the Civil War and has found a life as a newsreader, a man who goes from town to town reading aloud the nation’s headlines to small-town residents or “for anyone with 10 cents and the time to hear it.” He comes across a feral 10-year-old girl who is an orphan twice over — her settler parents are dead and the Native Americans who raised her are also gone. She speaks no English and frightens everyone. The girl (German actress Helena Zengel, who is a marvel) has distant relatives hundreds of miles away and, naturally, it falls on Kidd to be the hero. She needs to be home,” he says. So these two broken souls embark on an epic odyssey — like “The Searchers” mashed with “True Grit” — through hostile terrain and bandits, while he teaches her English along the way, like a cowboy Henry Higgins. In the film’s big weakness, the script tries to suggest that our patient captain is riddled with guilt for what he did as a Confederate soldier, but the Hanks we see is just too pure and noble. Greengrass manages to add tension to virtually every scene, often with just an actor scanning the horizon. Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski frames things like a high-art photographer with careful use of light and dark. Many of the best scenes are silent, enhanced by a wonderfully wistful score by James Newton Howard. 3 stars. (Coyle — 12/24). 1:58. NAM


Three officers are tasked with escorting an illegal immigrant to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, where he will be forced onto a plane and sent back to his homeland. But when they find out the truth they make a difficult choice. With Omar Sy, Virginie Efira, Gregory Gadebois, Payman Maadi. In French (with English subtitles). 1:38. VSR


Informed not by the friendly 1940 Walt Disney retelling, but the original source material, Carlo Collodi’s 1883 novel “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” Italian director Matteo Garrone’s much darker live-action film takes us back to an impoverished Tuscany where Roberto Benigni as Geppetto sculpts a young boy puppet out of an enchanted piece of wood and begs it to come to life. He’s desperate for a son and overcome with joy when he gets what he wished for. But Pinocchio, played by Federico Ielapi, does not emerge grateful: He is restless and naughty, which is partly naivete and partly mischievousness. It’s not too long before his disobedience finds him far away from home in the company of less than savory characters who he is too trusting of. And Pinocchio must embark on a dangerous and epic odyssey to try to find his way back to Geppetto and safety. This Pinocchio is perhaps one of the more realistic depictions of what a wooden puppet that’s come to life might look like. His look is almost identical to Enrico Mazzanti’s original drawings and translated to this live-action film through a combination of computer graphics and makeup from Mark Coulier, the Oscar-winning makeup artist behind “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” It is a remarkable achievement in special effects. The production design is equally noteworthy. The result may not be suitable for all children, but it is a strange, visionary and enchanting old-world fairy tale that any fan of Guillermo del Toro’s films or Wolfgang Petersen’s “The NeverEnding Story” should give a chance. It has the makings of a stealth classic. With Marine Vacth, Gigi Proietti, Massimo Ceccherini, Rocco Papaleo. In English (dubbed). 3 stars. (Bahr — 12/29). 2:05. NAM

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A young woman haunted by a tragedy in her past takes revenge on the predatory men unlucky enough to cross her path. Is it a #MeToo-era revenge thriller? A 21st-century “Fatal Attraction”? A candy-colored feminist polemic, to strains of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears? A black comedy? A comic tragedy? None of the above — and all of the above. Which is to say: a film as bracingly original as this defies labels. Here’s a couple good adjectives, though: Startling — the only way to describe screenwriter Emerald Fennell’s vision and execution in this, her directorial debut. And, sensational — a word that only begins to capture Carey Mulligan’s lead performance. We’ve seen Mulligan command the screen before, and witnessed her consistently fearless stage work. But the tonal balancing act she conquers in this audacious, disconcerting film is something new entirely. One wonders how many actors could even dream of pulling it off. With Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Adam Brody, Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge. 3½ stars. (Noveck — 12/24). 1:53. NAM


An intimate portrait of an unlikely rock star: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With unprecedented access, the filmmakers explore how her early legal battles changed the world for women. 1:39. TC


In the throes of World War II, Captain Maude Garrett (Chloë Grace Moretz) joins the all-male crew of a B-17 bomber with a top-secret package. Caught off guard by the presence of a woman on a military flight, the crew tests Maude’s every move. Just as her quick wit is winning them over, strange happenings and holes in her backstory incite paranoia surrounding her true mission. But this crew has more to fear — lurking in the shadows, something sinister is tearing at the heart of the plane. Trapped between an oncoming air ambush and an evil lurking within, Maude must push beyond her limits to save the hapless crew and protect her mysterious cargo. With Nick Robinson, Beulah Koale. 1:23. IO


In this sequel to 2015’s “Dawn of the Croods,” the prehistoric family the Croods are challenged by a rival family, the Bettermans, who claim to be better and more evolved. These two families do not mesh together particularly well, with one valuing privacy, tidiness and progress and the other being, well, crude. You can already guess the misunderstandings, the hurt feelings and where it all eventually ends up and it’s a journey with a good heart. It might not be as novel as the first but it’s essentially harmless, if a little chaotic, fun for kids and doesn’t need to be anything more than that. With the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Cloris Leachman. 2½ stars. (Coyle — 11/27). 1:35. NAM


The true story of Bert Trautmann (David Kross), a German soldier and prisoner of war who, against a backdrop of British post-war protest and prejudice, secures the position of Goalkeeper at Manchester City, and in doing so becomes a footballing icon. His signing causes outrage to thousands of fans, many of them Jewish. But Bert receives support from an unexpected direction: Rabbi Alexander Altmann, who fled the Nazis. Bert’s love for Margaret (Freya Mavor), an Englishwoman, carries him through and he wins over even his harshest opponents by winning the 1956 FA Cup Final, playing on with a broken neck to secure victory. But fate will soon twist the knife for Bert and Margaret, when their love and loyalty to each other is put to the ultimate test. In English and German with English subtitles. 2:00. TC


An unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis. Grief, long-standing racial tensions and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy. Empowered parents, artists and teachers from around the country come together as freedom fighters. As the National Guard descends on Ferguson with military grade weaponry, these young community members become the torchbearers of a new resistance. 1:43. TC


Wonder Woman comes into conflict with the Soviet Union during the Cold War in the 1980s and finds a formidable foe by the name of the Cheetah. With Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright. 2:31. NAM


With unfettered access to the Zappa family trust and all archival footage for the first time, this documentary explores the private life behind the mammoth musical career that never shied away from the political turbulence of its time. Alex Winter’s assembly features appearances by Frank’s widow Gail Zappa and several of Frank’s musical collaborators including Mike Keneally, Ian Underwood, Steve Vai, Pamela Des Barres, Bunk Gardner, David Harrington, Scott Thunes, Ruth Underwood, Ray White and others. This virtual cinema version includes bonus footage from deep in the Zappa Family vaults, unavailable anywhere else. 2:09. VC


The virtual sites and movie theaters listed in Film Clips are:

NAM: North Adams Movieplex 8 (86 Main St., North Adams)

IO: Images Online (Images Cinema, Williamstown —

TC: Triplex Cinema (Great Barrington —

VC: Virtual Cinema (The Moviehouse, Millerton, N.Y. —

VSR: Virtual Screening Room (Crandell Theatre, Chatham. N.Y. —

Jeffrey Borak can be reached at or 413-496-6212