Film clips / Feb. 14-20

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1917 (R)

At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (George MacKay in a breakout leading performance) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers — Blake's own brother among them. While its visual language and subjective camera might hold promise for conveying the suffering and sacrifice of World War I to a generation raised on video games and virtual reality, there are moments when "1917" feels as rote as any other exercise in leveling-up. Still, on the whole, "1917" leaves viewers with the indelible and overwhelming impression that war isn't just hell but an unconscionable waste. (Hornaday, The Washington Post — 1/11). 1 hour, 57 minutes. BC / BM / NAM / TC / TM

BAD BOYS FOR LIFE (R)

Along with a newly created elite team AMMO of the Miami police department, old-school cops Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett team up to take down the vicious leader of a Miami drug cartel. The third edition of the "Bad Boys" franchise starts as it must: With a gleaming Porsche swerving at impossible speeds through Miami traffic under the expert control of Will Smith, with Martin Lawrence growing very sick beside him. All is good. We've again got Smith's cocksure Detective Mike Lowrey beside Lawrence's more cautious Marcus Burnett. We're in our '90s comfort zone. So it's so disappointing that "Bad Boys for Life" gets bloated as it tries to get deep. It's oddly flat and unfunny and strays so far from its gritty roots that it might be called "Bad Boys for Life Insurance." (Kennedy, The Associated Press — 1/18). 2 hours, 4 minutes. BM

DOLITTLE (PG)

After losing his wife seven years earlier, the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey, Jr.), famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria's England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company. But when the young queen (Jessie Buckley) falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of "Dolittle" isn't the incoherent story line, the suffocating CGI or the unfunny stable of celebrity-voiced creatures. It's that Downey's personality doesn't come through at all, either a victim of the surrounding mess or a party to it. With Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Buckley, Harry Collett, Rami Malek, Octavia Spencer, Kumail Nanjiani, John Cena, Marion Cotillard, Tom Holland, Selena Gomez, Ralph Fiennes, Emma Thompson. (Coyle, The Associated Press — 1/18). 1 hour, 51 minutes. BC / BM / NAM

DOWNHILL (R)

Barely escaping an avalanche during a family ski vacation in the Alps, a married couple is thrown into disarray as they are forced to reevaluate their lives and how they feel about each other. With Will Ferrell, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Miranda Otto, Kristofer Hivju, Zach Woods. 1 hour, 28 minutes. BM / TC / TM

FANTASY ISLAND (PG-13)

The enigmatic Mr. Roarke, makes the secret dreams of his lucky guests come true at a luxurious but remote tropical resort. But when the fantasies turn into nightmares, the guests have to solve the island's mystery in order to escape with their lives. With Lucy Hale, Michael Pena, Jimmy O. Yang, Michael Rooker, Charlotte McKinney, Parisa Fitz-Henley. 1 hour, 50 minutes. BC / BM

GRETEL & HANSEL (PG-13)

A girl and her younger brother unwittingly stumble upon the house of an evil witch in the dark woods. The Brothers Grimm should really be outraged that their simple story about child abuse, malnutrition, cannibalism and witchcraft has been so twisted. Rob Hayes' script centers on Gretel — hence the title's name swap — and turns her into woke, coming-of-age super-heroine who outsmarts a witch. Why this dusty, nineteenth century ditty needed to be refashioned this way is unclear. It's dreadful. With Sophia Lillis, Alice Krige, Jessica De Gouw. (Kennedy, The Associated Press). 1 hour, 27 minutes. BM

HARLEY QUINN: BIRDS OF PREY (R)

When Gotham's most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley Quinn, Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya's paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down. As portrayed by the effortlessly charismatic Margot Robbie, Harley's always gonna be the most interesting person in the room — or on the screen. Grab your popcorn. With Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Ewan McGregor, Rosie Perez, Ella Jay Basco/ 1 hour, 49 minutes. BC / BM / NAM

JOJO RABBIT (PG-13)

A World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy (Roman Griffin Davis), whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in her attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his naive patriotism. 1 hour, 48 minutes. TM

JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL (PG-13)

Spencer returns to the world of Jumanji, prompting his friends, his grandfather and his grandfather's friend to enter a different and more dangerous version to save him. Whereas the original, "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," gave its high school protagonists simplistic but serviceable story arcs about overcoming teenage insecurity, this follow-up muddles its theme of rekindled friendship. There's fun to be had revisiting the cleverly conceived world of the 2017 "Jungle," in which teenagers found themselves magically transported inside a video game. But even with a new mission, some upgrades and a lot of character swapping, we're still playing the same game over again. With Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Danny DeVito. (Floyd, The Washington Post — 12/17). 2 hours, 3 minutes. BM / NAM

JUST MERCY (PG-13)

Based on factual events, "Just Mercy" is the story of Walter "Johnny D." McMillian, who in 1987 was arrested for a murder he didn't commit, but who was railroaded by a racist and incompetent legal system in Alabama. McMillian's case became famous by way of a "60 Minutes" episode and the memoir of Bryan Stevenson, a brilliant, Harvard-educated attorney who came to his defense and has gone on to become a visionary leader in criminal justice reform. Both on a macro and micro level then, "Just Mercy" might feel like something we've seen before. But in the judicious hands of director and co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton, it feels not new exactly, but fresh and urgent and more timely than ever. With Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson. (Hornaday, The Washington Post — 1/11). 2 hours, 17 minutes. IC

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KNIVES OUT (PG-13)

When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. In the whodunit, too much is usually a good thing. Give us all the movie stars, plot twists and murder weapons you can find. When done well, there is almost nothing better. And in "Knives Out," while it takes a little while to find its stride, the whodunit turns out not only to still have a few moves left but to be downright acrobatic. With Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Ana de Armas, Don Johnson, Katherine Langford, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jaeden Martell. (Coyle, The Associated Press — 11/28). 2 hours, 10 minutes. NAM / TM

ONCE UPON A TIME ... IN HOLLYWOOD (R)

Quentin Tarantino's ninth feature film is a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood. The two lead characters are Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), former star of a western TV series, and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Both are struggling to make it in a Hollywood they don't recognize anymore. But Rick has a very famous next-door neighbor ... Sharon Tate. With Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, Timothy Olyphant, Tim Roth. 2 hours, 39 minutes. NAM

PARASITE (R)

Meet the Park Family: the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. But this new ecosystem is fragile, and soon enough greed and class prejudice threaten to upend the Kims' newfound comfort. With Song Kang-ho, Choi Woo-sik, Chang Hyae-jin, Park So-dam, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-Jeong Jo. 2 hours, 13 minutes. BC / BM / CT / NAM / TC / TM

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (PG)

Sonic tries to navigate the complexities of life on Earth with his newfound best friend — a human named Tom Wachowski. They must soon join forces to prevent the evil Dr. Robotnik from capturing Sonic and using his powers for world domination. With Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Jim Carrey, Tika Sumpter, Lee Majdoub, Frank C. Turner. 1 hour, 40 minutes. BC / BM / NAM / TC

THE WOMAN WHO LOVED GIRAFFES (no rating)

Dr. Anne Innis Dagg re-traces the steps of her groundbreaking 1956 journey to South Africa to study giraffes in the wild. Now, at 85 years old, Anne sees a startling contrast between the world of giraffes she once knew and the one it has become. Weaving through the past and present, her harrowing journey gives us an intimate look into the factors that destroyed her career and the forces that brought her back. With Tatiana Maslany, Victor Garber. 1 hour, 21 minutes. TC

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 (86 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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