Film Clips -- Raphael Revisited

The Moviehouse's Virtual Cinema introduces "Raphael Revealed" this week -- a documentary that explores the life and work of the great painter Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, within the framework of a definitive exhibition of his work in Rome, celebrating the 500th anniversary of Raphael's death.

Here's what's playing — Jan. 15-21 — 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 berkshireeagle.com. All reviews are by Associated Press critics.

76 DAYS

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

ACASA, MY HOME

For two decades, the Enache family — nine kids and their parents — lived in a shack in the wilderness of Bucharest Delta: an abandoned water reservoir, one of the biggest urban natural reservations in the world, with lakes and hundreds of species of animals and rare plants. When the authorities decide to claim back this rare urban ecosystem, the Enache family is evicted and told to resettle in the city — a reality they know nothing about. Kids that used to spend their days in nature have to learn about city life, go to school instead of swimming in the lake, and swap their fishing rods for mobile phones. Their identity has been questioned and transformed, along with their sense of freedom and family ties. Director Radu Ciorniciuc’s heartbreaking debut is a thoughtful study of gentrification, seen through the eyes of a family trying to adapt to the new life they never asked for. Is it better to go back to their “paradise lost,” with its life free yet harsh, or to become part of the society that offers comforts but comes with pressures and conflict? Sundance fest's World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography. Romanian with English subtitles. 1:26. VC

BLACK BEAR (R)

The lives and sentiments of three artists (played by Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott, and Sarah Gadon) interlock and are pushed to provocative limits in this drama that rejoices in subverting expectations and exploring the layers of a fragmented world. Writer-director Lawrence Michael Levine lures us into a tense and intrepid tale of gender dynamics and temptation, using the complexity of relationships to detonate the thin line separating art from life. 1:44. IO

I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO (PG-13)

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

MUSEUM TOWN

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. VC

MONSTER HUNTER (PG-13)

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

NASRIN

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

NEWS OF THE WORLD (PG-13)

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 in 1870, a gentle 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

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (R)

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

RAMS

Two estranged brothers must set aside their differences when a rare and lethal illness threatens their respective flocks of sheep in Western Australia. With Michael Caton, Sam Neill, Miranda Richardson. 1:59. VC

RAPHAEL REVEALED

Marking the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death, the greatest exhibition ever held of his works took place in Rome. With over 200 masterpieces, including paintings and drawings – over 100 of which have been brought together for the first time – this documentary celebrates the life and work of Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino. 1:33. VC

RBG (PG)

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

SHADOW IN THE CLOUD (R)

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

SOME KIND OF HEAVEN

Behind the gates of a palm tree-lined fantasyland, four residents of America’s largest retirement community, The Villages, Fla., strive to find solace and meaning. 1:21. IO / VSR

THE CROODS: A NEW AGE (PG)

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 KEEPER (R)

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

THE REASON I JUMP

Based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida, later translated into English by author David Mitchell (“Cloud Atlas”), “The Reason I Jump” is an immersive cinematic exploration of neurodiversity through the experiences of nonspeaking autistic people from around the world. The film blends Higashida's revelatory insights into autism, written when he was just 13, with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people. Moments in the lives of each of the characters are linked by the journey of a young Japanese boy through an epic landscape; narrated passages from Naoki’s writing reflect on what his autism means to him and others, how his perception of the world differs, and why he acts in the way he does: the reason he jumps. The film leads us to Naoki’s core message: not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say. 1:22. IO / VC

WHOSE STREETS?

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, Mo. 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 1984 (PG-13)

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

Jeffrey Borak can be reached at jborak@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6212